Sponsorship Undertaking Default

Overview

Hardship assistance is provided to meet essential need of applicants who meet all eligibility criteria except they are awaiting verification of default of a Sponsorship Undertaking.  This category of hardship assistance is called Sponsorship Undertaking Default.

Hardship assistance is provided on a temporary basis, for only one month.  Eligibility for hardship must be re-established each month.

If the sponsor cannot be contacted because there are health and safety concerns that prevent contact with the sponsor, then the applicant may be eligible for income assistance or disability assistance if all eligibility criteria are met. 

Sponsorship Undertaking Default is available to applicants under the Employment and Assistance Regulation and Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Regulation.

Policy

Effective: December 2, 2019

Hardship assistance is provided on a temporary basis, for only one month at a time.  If further hardship assistance is required, eligibility must be re-established each month. 

Hardship assistance may be issued under Sponsorship Undertaking Default to an applicant who meets all other eligibility criteria, but ministry staff  have been unable to contact the sponsor to verify that the sponsor is unable or unwilling to support the applicant. Hardship assistance may also be issued to an applicant while they are awaiting confirmation or verification of the sponsorship undertaking period. As long as all other eligibility criteria are met, the applicant continues to be eligible for hardship assistance under this category until the sponsor has been contacted.

Hardship assistance under this category is not repayable, except by the sponsor in cases where there is a debt due to default of a Sponsorship Undertaking. 

Once the hardship reason no longer exists, cases must be reassessed to determine if the family unit meets the eligibility criteria for income assistance or disability assistance.

Note: In these cases, debt collection will occur despite the fact that a repayment agreement was not taken, because the debt rests with the sponsor, not the client.  Debt collection will occur regardless of whether the debt relates to income assistance, disability assistance, or hardship assistance.

Effective: December 2, 2019

Where the sponsor confirms that he or she is unable or unwilling to provide for the essential needs (including food, lodging, and clothing) of the sponsored family members listed in the Sponsorship Undertaking, the family unit may be eligible for income assistance or disability assistance if all other eligibility requirements are met. 

Where an applicant resides with the sponsor, the shelter allowance must not be issued, unless the sponsor is also receiving assistance.

When a sponsor becomes a recipient of assistance and is residing with the sponsored person, the usual practice for shared shelter costs will be followed.

For more information see Related Links – Pursuing Income – Procedures – Sponsorship Undertaking Default.

Effective: December 2, 2019

Where there are possibly any health and/or safety concerns, no contact is to be made with the sponsor, including by letter, unless the sponsored relative wants the ministry to contact the sponsor. 

In cases where the sponsored relative indicates a health and/or safety concern exists due to abuse or other concerns, the sponsor is not a resource.  The sponsor should not be contacted until it has been determined that the health and/or safety concern no longer remains. If the health and/or safety concern remains but the sponsored relative indicates they want the ministry to contact the sponsor, the sponsor may be contacted to notify them of the debt. In these instances, the sponsor should still be considered unable or unwilling to pay for the sponsored individual’s basic needs.

Once a claim of a health and/or safety concern has been made and the sponsorship undertaking period has been confirmed, the case may be assessed to determine eligibility for income assistance or disability assistance. Documentation of the health and/or safety concern may be requested by Financial and Administrative Services Branch (FASB) staff after one year and on an annual basis following thereafter.

[For policy and procedure on health and/or safety concerns and contacting the sponsor, see Related Links – Pursuing Income – Sponsorship Undertaking Default, Policy and Procedure.]

Procedures

Effective: December 1, 2003

For information on how to determine hardship assistance rates, see Related Links – Eligibility for Hardship Assistance – Policy – Amount of Hardship Assistance.

Effective: December 2, 2019

When a sponsored person (or any member in the family unit) in a Sponsorship Undertaking that is still in effect, applies for assistance, follow these steps before issuing hardship assistance:

EAW:

1.

Explain to the applicant the following:
 

  1. for the period of the Sponsorship Undertaking, the sponsor is obligated to provide essential financial support (including food, lodging and clothing) to the sponsored family member as an alternative to relying upon assistance
  2. once any assistance is paid, the ministry will advise Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) of sponsorship breakdown
  3. any assistance issued will be a debt that the sponsor (and not the sponsored relative) will have to the government 
  4. that the sponsor will incur a debt and will not be able to sponsor anyone else until the debt is repaid
  5. by assignment of the Undertaking, the provincial government, may seek recovery of the debt
  6. unless there is a health and/or safety concern (see step 5), the sponsor will be contacted to confirm whether or not they can provide financial support.  If the sponsor is willing to provide financial support, remind the client to report all money received and provide copies of receipts on the Monthly Report (HR0081) Form
  7. unless there is a health and/or safety concern (see step 5), the sponsor will be notified if the sponsored relative receives assistance and will be advised of the debt amount each month
  8. unless there is a health and/or safety concern (see step 5), every reasonable effort will be made to contact and notify the sponsor of the debt.  In cases where the whereabouts of the sponsor are unknown by the family member, Financial Administrative Services Branch (FASB) will conduct a search to attempt to locate and notify the sponsor of their obligation and debt 
  9. once the notification of debt and collections has begun, the ministry cannot suspend or cease further communications and/or collections even if there is a health and/or safety concern.
  10. the applicant's personal information is not shared with the sponsor.

2.

Obtain documents and information relevant to the Sponsorship Undertaking (e.g., Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM5292) or Record of Landing). 

3.

If verification of sponsorship undertaking period is still required, contact FASB.

4.

Obtain sponsor contact information.

5.

Review Health and/or Safety:

a) Explain to the applicant that the ministry will attempt to contact the sponsor to verify their inability or unwillingness to provide for their basic needs.

b) Ask the applicant if there is a health and/or safety concern and, if yes, confirm if they do not want the ministry to contact the sponsor for that reason.

c) If the applicant states that there is a health and safety concern and does not want the ministry to contact the sponsor, then follow steps for health and/or safety concerns [see Related Links - Pursuing Income – Procedures – Sponsorship Undertaking Default]. Do not continue with these steps.

d) If there is no health and/or safety concern or there is a health and/or safety concern, but the applicant does want the ministry to contact the sponsor, continue to the next steps.

6.

Contact the sponsor by telephone to confirm whether they are a resource or not, and ensure the sponsor understands that:
 

  1. for the period of the Sponsorship Undertaking, the sponsor is obligated (as per their agreement with the federal government) to provide essential support (including food, lodging, and clothing) to the sponsored family member
  2. once any assistance is paid, the ministry will advise IRCC of sponsorship breakdown
  3. any assistance issued will be a debt that the sponsor will have to the government 
  4. the sponsor will incur a debt and will not be able to sponsor anyone else until the debt is repaid.
  5. by assignment of the undertaking, the provincial government will seek recovery of the debt.

7.

If the sponsor confirms that they are not a resource and the sponsorship undertaking period is confirmed, the case can be assessed for eligibility for income assistance or disability assistance [see Related Links - Pursuing Income – Procedures – Sponsorship Undertaking Default].

8.

If the sponsor cannot be contacted, make applicable case notes and forward to FASB.

9.

Send the Sponsorship Obligations – Applicant (HR2771) letter