Tue | Feb 20, 2018

I want to save my grandson

Published:Tuesday | March 1, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Dear Ms Powell,

I have a daughter in Jamaica who is a drug addict. She has a son with no father to help out. I am tired of sending her money, and all she does is use it to buy drugs. I have tried to speak to her yet she can't seem to break the habit. My concern is for my grandson. I don't want him to go down the same path. How can I get my grandson to Canada? It should be a simple process since my daughter is a drug addict, who cant' properly care for him on her own.

Can I apply for custody of our grandson and sponsor him to come here? I am a citizen, own my own home and I am financially stable. I am worried for his safety. I want to save him since I can't save my daughter from herself. What can I do?

- JH

Dear JH,

I am sorry to hear you have not been able to help your daughter with her drug addiction. I share your concern for both your daughter and grandson. Drug addiction can be a complex disease that often takes more than encouragement and self-will to overcome.

Many times, persistent use of drugs leaves the user powerless to help themselves and those dependent on them.

If your daughter is diagnosed as an addict, you should view her condition as any other disease that needs to be treated. There are many addiction-support personnel and centres in Jamaica such as the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA). Have you tried seeking their assistance? If you haven't, you should check its website, www.ncda.org.jm, and call or visit to schedule an appointment to explore options to save both your daughter and grandson.

You can also call or visit an addiction centre in Canada that can give you guidance on how best to deal with this situation, as a concerned parent. You can find support at a medical centre near you or locate one via www.canadiandrugrehabcentres.com.

There are a number of ways a Canadian citizen or permanent resident can sponsor a family member to Canada, provided the sponsor and persons being sponsored are able to satisfy Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that they qualify under one of many programmes.

I do not have the details of your case. However, I will outline the main options available based on the information submitted. First, you may sponsor a child and the child's dependent, if they are both under the age of 19.

Secondly, you may sponsor a child and the child's dependent child, if your child is 19 years and older, provided your child is unable to be financially self-sufficient and has been that way before reaching the age of 19 years, due to physical and mental condition. Thirdly, you may sponsor a child and dependent if you do not have any other close relative (excluding cousins) living with in Canada.

The application process.

The application is a two-step process. As a sponsor you will first be assessed to see if you qualify to sponsor a relative. You will need to demonstrate that you are able to provide for your own basic needs and those of your family members. You will need to demonstrate that you can adequately provide for their basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter and ensure that your family members will not ask for financial support from the government.

You will be assessed based on the low-income cut-off table found on the government's website. You will also need to satisfy other criteria such as proving that you have not been convicted of a criminal offence and not received a record suspension or pardon, not declared bankruptcy and not received government assistance, among other things.

Your daughter and grandson will also be scrutinised. When you say there is "no father to help out" your grandson, what do you mean? Is he deceased, a drug addict or unknown? The challenge in your case is that you daughter will need to have full custody of her child or get the consent of your grandson's father in dealing with this issue.

Even if he is a delinquent you can't simply ignore him. Another significant challenge is that your daughter needs to pass the medical and criminal checks before she can qualify to come to Canada. Therefore, you will need her to be sober and drug free in order to pass the medical test. Hence, the reason I first directed you to seek drug-addiction advice.

You sound as if you have given up on your daughter and want to proceed with sponsoring your grandson directly. The only way you could do that is if you have been granted full legal custody of your grandson from the court in Jamaica or have adopted him.

This is not a simple process based on the information you have presented. I suggest you consult with an immigration and family lawyer directly. You should also bear in mind the psychological that leaving your daughter behind could have on your grandson in years to come.

There is also the option of applying for study permit for your grandson, to come to Canada, depending on his age. Your first step in this process would be to get an acceptance letter from a school, then submit an application.

Do you have other family members in Jamaica who can assist your daughter and grandson? Are you able to visit, take her to a treatment centre and find local support? It is imperative that you seek support. Whatever option you choose, you will need the loving support of family members and professionals.

n Deidre S. Powell, is a lawyer mediator and notary public. Send your questions and comments to info@deidrepowell.com. Please put in the subject line: Immigration. You may also send a fax to 613.695.8778.