Reuniting with a loved one in Canada
By Maria Montemayor
Posted on November 15, 2021
For newcomers, reuniting with family members can be a long awaited and happy occasion. Many newcomers come to Canada on their own, and face challenges adjusting, before they are able to sponsor their family members. Being away from loved ones can be especially difficult during times of hardship, like the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, where there are many uncertainties and changes in government mandates.
Melton Vaz’s story
Melton Vaz came to Canada from India in 2018, by himself. His life consisted of going to work, coming back home, cooking food, and keeping busy.
In 2019, he was able to sponsor his father, Michael Vaz, through a super visa. When pandemic restrictions hit in March 2020, he didn’t know if his mother, Wilma Vaz, would be able to join them in September 2020, as planned.
“The government made a really good decision that [allowed] parents to travel to Canada as a family reunion.They [wouldn’t] be exempt from travelling. I was so relieved. It’s mom, you know. I was very, very excited to see her. The travelling and all, […] it was stressful because of COVID. [She] had to do testing before travelling, testing after travelling, and quarantine,” says Vaz.
It was Vaz’s mother’s first time travelling, and the flight to Canada was long. Still, she did not feel completely at peace until Vaz’s sister, Melita Vaz, joined them in January 2021 on a student visa. Once Vaz’s sister arrived in Canada, the entire family was reunited.
Home cooked food at last
One of the things Vaz missed about his mother was her home cooked food.
“I was craving [my mother’s cooking] for two years. Since she came, I have not stepped into the kitchen. It was my kitchen before. Since she came, it’s [become] her kitchen,” says Vaz.
With his entire family in Canada, Vaz finds that he has more time to relax, go out with his friends, and study.
“I have support, I know that I am not alone so I am really grateful for that,” he says.
Advice for fellow newcomers
Vaz has met newcomers who struggle with loneliness in Canada. For those newcomers who are still waiting to be reunited with their loved ones in Canada, he has some advice.
“Don’t lose hope. There are times when you feel lonely, especially during winter; winter is challenging. It’s depressing. Keep faith, pray for good things to happen, just don’t lose hope. Try to socialize. Try to hang out with your friends. I would go to church and socialize with [people there] to take my mind off that loneliness. Canada is your new home,” said Vaz.
“Just work hard for [your] goal. There are many newcomer programs to get a job and free agencies that will [help you] process the [sponsorship] visas.”
Jennifer Salboro’s story
Jennifer Salboro came to Canada as a live-in caregiver in 2016. She had a long-term boyfriend, Louie Christian Ruelos, who she met while in the Philippines. They maintained a long-distance relationship.
“We were in a long-distance relationship which was kind of challenging because of the difference [in] time zones. We made sure that we communicated each day and we had the same understanding that we [would] keep our relationship no matter what. Along the way, we shared the same dreams. I always told him my plans and he was on my side; we were on the same page,” says Salboro.
After Salboro got permanent residency in 2018, she went back to the Philippines to get married. She and Ruelos had a civil marriage in 2019, and started the process for Ruelos to move to Canada.
“It was so challenging completing the forms for spousal sponsorship. You have to really prove to immigration that the relationship [is] authentic. You have to send them the timeline of your love story and all your conversations,” says Salboro.
Salboro submitted the forms for spousal sponsorship in February 14, 2019 and Ruelos was granted a visa in May 2019. They had a church wedding in December 2019.
The best birthday gift
Salboro and Ruelos were reunited in Canada on January 4, 2020, which also happened to be Salboro’s birthday.
“It was the happiest birthday ever, when he arrived here. It was the best gift also. I was the happiest because we waited for this for a long time—to be with each other and build a life here. It was like a shared dream for both of us to be together and build our family here in Canada,” says Salboro.
Advice for fellow newcomers
Salboro has seen relationships and families fall apart due to unrealistic expectations about life in Canada. She believes that newcomers should manage their expectations before coming to Canada and exercise patience throughout that time period.
Salboro said, “For the waiting time, be patient with your love and care, and share [your] dreams together. Everything is possible, just work hand-in-hand [to] being committed to each other regardless of the time difference or the distance.”