The Act organized immigration according to annual plans stipulating numbers and distributed among three categories: independent, family class (sponsored/assisted) and humanitarian (refugees).
Permitted the executive branch to determine, through regulatory means, members of the family class who could be sponsored by a permanent resident or a Canadian citizen. Section 4 limited the members of this class to spouses, fiancées, unmarried children under the age of 21, parents and grandparents 60 years or older or under the age of 60 if these persons and their spouses were incapable of gainful employment or if widowed, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, unmarried orphaned grandchildren under 18 years of age, and children under the age of 13 whom the sponsor intended to adopt.
The Act established two classes of refugees, one corresponding to the definition set out in the United Nations Convention, and an expanded class that included individuals who did not fulfill the UN criteria but were experiencing the same level of danger as UN refugees.
Implemented the Fiancée visas