Author: Al Parsai, LL.M, RCIC-IRB
Last Updated On: March 22, 2022

Minimum Income Spousal Sponsorship Canada

Thousands of Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada sponsor their spouses to Canada. The sponsorship application allows spouses or common-law partners to reunite. However, do you need to show a minimum income for spousal sponsorship in Canada? If you are not familiar with this immigration option, consider reading one of the following articles first. Otherwise, please continue reading the current article.

Table of contents

What does the minimum necessary income mean?

When you are sponsoring your family members in Canada, you usually need to show income (practitioners see R133(1)(j)). However, you may not refer to any source other than your CRA Notice of Assessment. For example, if you were sponsoring your family members in 2021, you must look at your 2020 Notice of Assessment (NOA). Thus, open your NOA and look at line 15000 (or 150).

Whatever you see on that line represents your income. For a regular sponsorship application, the figure on line 15000 of your NOA must be higher than LICO for that year. Of course, the exact LICO amount depends on the number of people in your household and the number of people you are sponsoring. Read the following article to familiarize yourself with the concept of LICO:

If you are sponsoring your parents or grandparents, the situation is different. You must consider your income in the past three consecutive years. Of course, the following article offers more information on this subject:


Exemption for spouses or common-law partners

If you are sponsoring your spouse or common-law partner, you are exempt from the minimum income under the following circumstances (practitioners see R133(4)):

  • Your common-law partner or spouse has no children; or
  • The common-law partner or spouse has dependent children, but those children do not have any children of their own.

Being exempt from minimum income is a relief. However, you are not exempt if your spouse or common-law partner has dependent grandchildren accompanying them to Canada. Consequently, you need to show a 12-month LICO or more as your income. Here are some examples:

I am sponsoring my common-law partner, who has no children.

You are exempt from the minimum necessary income for sponsoring your common-law partner.

I am sponsoring my spouse, who has two children under 22 years old and single.

You are exempt from the minimum necessary income for sponsoring your spouse and children.

I have no children, but I am sponsoring my spouse, who has a child. Her child is a 20-year-old single mom who has a one-year-old child. Both of them will accompany my spouse to Canada.

You are not exempt from the minimum necessary income for sponsoring your spouse and family. Since you are sponsoring three people, the total number of your family becomes four people. Consequently, line 15000 of your NOA for last year must be equal to or more than a 12-month LICO for a family of four.

Shall I ignore showing income if I am exempt from the minimum income?

Although you could be exempt from minimum income for spousal sponsorship, you still need to prevent financial inadmissibility. Let’s take a look at section 39 of IRPA:

A foreign national is inadmissible for financial reasons if they are or will be unable or unwilling to support themself or any other person who is dependent on them, and have not satisfied an officer that adequate arrangements for care and support, other than those that involve social assistance, have been made.

What does this mean? You and your spouse or common-law need to show when they immigrate to Canada, they can settle without receiving the government’s help. Some documents that could defeat section 39 include the following:

  • The sponsor’s NOA
  • The applicant or the sponsor’s work history
  • The sponsor’s or the applicant’s earning statements.
  • Your education or other documents that show employability

Of course, this list is neither inclusive nor exclusive.

Let us help!

If you intend to sponsor a loved one to Canada, fill out the following form. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session with me.

    What is your status in Canada


    Do you live inside or outside Canada?

    Have you paid taxes in Canada for the last 5 years (NOA required)

    What kind of sponsorship are you interested in

    Is the sponsor eligible to sponsor a family member to Canada?

    How many family members does the sponsor have including the sponsored persons?

    What is your annual income rate?

    Additional information (optional but helpful)

    Please share more information to help us better assess you:

    Are you currently inside Canada?

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    Al Parsai, LLM, MA, DTM, RCIC
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Adjunct Professor – Queen’s University – Faculty of Law
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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    Al Parsai, LL.M, RCIC-IRB

    Al Parsai is a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University (Osgood Hall Law School). A respected member of CICC, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.