All In-Canada Processing FAQ

1. What is the CPO-W?

‘CPO-W’ stands for ‘Centralized Processing Office in Winnipeg’. All Private Refugee Sponsorship applications must be submitted by mail to this CIC office.

2. What does the CPO-W do?

The CPO-W reviews all submitted PSR applications for completeness and group eligibility requirements. They inform the sponsoring group of receipt of the application and communicate with the group any decision about the application. For sponsor-referred cases, CPO-W sends the complete application package overseas to the responsible visa office. Undertakings for cases that were referred by the visa office (VORs) are assessed and processed by the CPO-W. The CPO-W also responds to status update requests and provides processing updates where applicable.

3. How long does the processing of a refugee sponsorship application take?

There are 2 parts to the processing of the application: one takes place in Canada when you submit the complete package to the Centralized Processing Office in Winnipeg, and the other part continues when the CPO-W sends the package on to the Canadian Visa Office abroad. In-Canada processing time can vary according to number of applications received by CPO-W, the type of sponsoring group and whether the refugee applicant belongs to a priority resettlement population. Average processing times for PSR processing at overseas Visa Offices can be found here:

4. The refugee applicant has not yet received a CIC acknowledgement letter or B/G Number. What should we do?

It depends on how much time has lapsed since you submitted the application package in Canada. Generally, once your application has been received by the Centralized Processing Office in Winnipeg (CPO-W), it will be screened to ensure it has been submitted in full and that it has been completed correctly. At this point you may not receive any communication from the CPO-W about your application. If the application package is complete and entered into the electronic data system, you will be receiving an automated acknowledgement of receipt per email. If the application has been approved you will then receive an approval/confirmation letter containing a CIC file number.

5. What is a “Y” number?

The ‘Y’ number is a number issued by CPO-W where distribution options 1 or 2 were selected. Given the absence of IMM0008 forms, CPO-W did not have the consent of the refugee applicant to share the G or B number with the sponsors (see Part D of Schedule 2), and therefore could not notify sponsors. According to CPO-W, the refugee applicant would have received their G or B numbers, but sponsors in Canada would have received the Y number. With the recent changes in application submission options, Y number will no longer be issued. Where option 3 was used, consent was on file and G or B numbers (which are considered overseas file numbers) would have been issued by the CPO-W and communicated in correspondence with the sponsors.

6. Do all sponsors have their own CPO-W #? Is the CPO-W number different than the CIC number?

The CPO-W number is the same as the former CIC number which was issued when in-land processing was done at local CIC offices. CPO-W issues this number to the files they have received and will mention it in the correspondence with sponsors.

7. What numbers can we expect to receive from CPO-W?

A CPO-W number and B or G numbers if consent has been provided (see a.)). A ‘Y’ number if the application was submitted prior to October 19th using option 1 or 2.

8. Will we receive the B/G number from the visa office once they receive the file from CPO-W? Or, should we receive the B/G number from CPO-W?

B/G numbers are issued by CPO-W for the files that are being sent to the responsible visa office overseas.

9. There has been a change in the refugee family – how do we inform the CPO-W?

When there has been a change in the refugee applicant’s family composition, such as a baby is born or the refugee applicant has married, after the refugee sponsorship application has been submitted it is very important that the Centralized Processing Office in Winnipeg and the Canadian visa office are informed. Contact the RSTP to obtain a Status Update Request form to do so.

10. The Status Update Request Form requires one to have a G/B number to update mailing information. Where a case has already been assigned a CIC file number but not the latter two- will CPO-W still process the update request?

CPO-W’s response is that, if you do not have a G or B number, provide as much information as possible on the Update Form. The “Y” number alone will not suffice as their system cannot be easily searched by using the Y number only. Provide as much as possible: CPO-W (or, if submitted earlier, the CIC file #) file number Name of refugee applicant Date of birth of applicant Group name Name of Group Representative (contact person; esp. for G5s) And any other numbers issued – i.e.: the Y number

11. What is the Status Update Request processing time?

The processing of Status Update Requests also depends on the overseas Visa Posts and therefore the time it may take is not in full control of the CPO-W. Ensure that your request meets the eligibility criteria. You may also want to first check the status of the file using the online tool (