Submitting the application: the online portal

As of January 2024, you have to submit your application through an online portal. Each of the sponsors has to create a profile on that portal, and the 'main sponsor' (you choose who that is) has to log in and start the application, and then invite the other sponsors to the file. Once they receive the invitation, they have to create their own profiles, though with lesser access to the entire application and to the other sponsors' accounts.

Here's an explanation on how the new online portal works: 

Step 1: The primary sponsor logs in

One member of the group of 5 has to be the 'primary sponsor' on the portal. This should be someone with good attention to detail and who can use computers, since there's a LOT of information and files to go into the portal. Once you've chosen that person, they should log in here and create a profile:

They will ask for an email address and password. Definitely save this somewhere, so you can access the application now and in the future.

The first thing you'll see is this screen. DANGER DANGER - if you make a mistake here, you can never correct it. 

So make sure you're typing in the PRIMARY SPONSOR'S name, and not the refugee's name. And make sure you get the family name and given name in the right order. And your names should be the same as on your PR card or passport, or whatever ID you're using in the application. The screen looks like this:

Step 2: Fill out the rest of the application

Next you'll find the application in the following stages:

1. Principal Applicant Profile

Fill Online (PS)

2. Group Members Tab

Invite Principal Applicant to fill forms below via email (PS)

Add additional sponsors using full name + email (PS). The sponsors will then get an email telling them they are part of the application, but they don't actually have to do anything. The principal sponsor can do it all for them, assuming all the necessary documents are ready and available.

These sponsor documents include:

As an extra:

What's a representative? This person can view the application, once invited, and later on, make enquiries with immigration if needed.  The other advantage of assigning a representative is it means the refugee doesn't need to go onto the portal, which might be a technical challenge. 

Once invited to be representative on the online portal, this person can see and update any part of the application - except the sponsor docs, which can only be seen by the sponsors themselves and by the primary sponsor.

3. Application

Files to type directly into the portal for the refugee: 

Files to upload for the refugee

Another thing to remember: the ID files (passport, national ID) should be flat, clear scans, in colour, cropped to edge. You can check this Google doc for more information on the formatting of these files or just open the checklist below.

Online G5 Refugee Application - Steps-Rebecca Lippiatt.pdf

Step 3: Review and submit

Once you've completed all the steps, and the system tells you they are complete, go over the entire application one more time. You may find you messed something up.

Really done? Take a deep breath and hit "submit". 

After this, your fellow sponsors should receive an automatic response indicating that your file has been received.

Step 4: What's next?

If you made a mistake or want to correct a form, there's an immigration website where you can do that. The website also lets you check the status of a file. There's also a phone number where you can make enquiries: 613-321-4243. But try not to abuse it with questions you can find through an online search.

As for the next steps in the process, that is fodder for another post. Let's just say this much now:

G number - these take anywhere from a day to a year to arrive. They're a tracking number that allows you to check the progress of your application.

Bonus tip: Remember to select 'Application number/case number' in the dropdown menu, and have the applicants' date and country of birth handy as well.

You can overuse this website - some people drive themselves crazy by checking their online status daily. No need! All the important updates will be sent by Immigration via email - both to the refugee and their sponsors.

Milestones you can expect to find in this tracking website:

Check here for more details on typical timelines

For now, let's just take a break, and appreciate all the hard work we've done this far.

We've come a long way!