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  • Writer's pictureImmergity Immigration

What is LICO?

LICO - Low Income Cutoff in Ontario.

The low-income cut-off (LICO) table depicts the poverty line in Canada's urban areas with 500,000 or more inhabitants. In other words, if your income is below the LICO threshold, you are considered poor. LICO fluctuates annually due to inflation.

What is the meaning of "Minimum Necessary Income Level"?

Some family sponsorship programs require sponsors to have a minimum level of income sufficient to support themselves, members of their family, and those they wish to sponsor. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada uses "Minimum Necessary Income" thresholds to determine a sponsor's ability to support their family financially. Applicants for family sponsorship will only be considered eligible to sponsor their family members if they meet the LICO requirements depending on the size of their family.

The MNI is updated annually and applies to all applicable sponsorship programmes for Canadian sponsors residing outside of Quebec. Sponsors must submit a Notice of Assessment from the Canada Revenue Agency to demonstrate they meet the minimum income requirements.

So who is considered family for immigration purposes?

A family includes:

  1. You (yourself)

  2. Your spouse or partner

  3. Your dependent children

  4. Your spouse’s or partner’s dependent children

  5. Any other person you previously sponsored in the past and for whom you’re still financially responsible

  6. Parents and grandparents you want to sponsor

  7. Your parents and grandparents' spouse, partner and dependent children

You must also include dependent children, spouse, partner and separated spouses who will not be coming to Canada with your parents or grandparents.

What are the Federal Minimum Necessary Income for Sponsorship?

Sponsors living anywhere in Canada except the province of Quebec must meet or exceed the minimum income requirements depending on the size of their family.

​Size of Family Unit

​Minimum Income 2020

​Minimum Income 2019

​Minimum Income 2018

2 persons




3 persons




4 persons




​5 persons




​6 persons




​7 persons




If more than 7 persons, for each additional person, add




Note: To prove they meet the MNI requirement, potential sponsors must provide their Notice of Assessment from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for the last 3 taxation years before applying (2020, 2019 and 2018).

IRCC announced that for the 2020 and 2021 application intake sponsor revenues will be assessed for the 2020, 2019 and 2018 fiscal years and that the income requirement for the 2020 tax year will be lowered since many sponsors have been financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who is exempt from the minimum necessary income requirement?

The sponsor's spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner who has a dependent child (or children) but that child has no dependent children; or. a dependent child of the sponsor, but that child has no dependent children.

Which of these types of sponsorship is exempt from meeting the MNI criteria?

A sponsor does not have to meet MNI if they are sponsoring their spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, dependent child or a person under the age of 18 whom the sponsor intends to adopt in Canada [R133(4)].

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