This article was originally published on January 28.

Many Canadians are completely outraged today after applications to a government program sponsoring immigrant family members into the country closed only 11 minutes after it was opened. The government opened applications to the 2019 Parent and Grandparent Program today at 12 PM Eastern time on January 28. Many Canadians are now heartbroken that they could not apply in time to sponsor their family members because the applications closed minutes after opening. 

READ ALSO: Canada Accepted The Highest Amount Of Refugees In The World In 2018 According To New Data

The government announced only minutes after applications were opened on Twitter that they had already reached the limit for the 2019 year, meaning people could no longer apply for the sponsorship program this year. It was closed so quickly that people were still in the process of filling out the application before they realized the application window was already closed. Their announcement on Twitter was at 12:11 PM Eastern time, 11 minutes after the application was opened at 12 PM Eastern time. 

READ ALSO: Canadian Businessman Found Guilty Of Exploiting Filipino Workers Hoping For A Better Life In Canada

This means that Canadians that were hoping to submit their applications for the 2019 Parent and Grandparent Program have to wait at least another year before they can apply for sponsorship for their family members. 

This program is for "Canadian citizens [or] permanent residents living in Canada who want to sponsor [parents or grandparents] living abroad", says the government website, according to MTLBlog

Canadians are now completely furious over the system, and many are calling it "ridiculous" and "unfair". Many report that they have been routinely applying to sponsor family members for years and once again, they were unable to submit an application.

Canadian residents have taken their concerns to social media, calling out the government on their Twitter page. The Twitter announcement from the Canadian government about applications closing received over 1,600 comments, many of them from furious Canadians. 

Many people were unable to apply, and several couldn't even open the application form. 

People are saying the system is unfair, with some likening this stressful experience to trying to buy concert tickets. 

Some people have been waiting for years to apply, and once again were unable to in 2019. Some residents complained that they weren't even able to load the page to fill out the application, while others weren't even able to submit their application before time ran out.

Paola Escobar told MTLBlog that this marks her fourth year trying to sponsor her parents and grandmother. 

"Just until last year it was a raffle but this year was just a scam I was in front of the computer 15 min before 12 until 12:09 refreshing the page and nothing happened, no forms nothing, and 12:10 pm there was an announcement that they reached the number of applications. I couldn't do anything but cry of anger."

She's not the only one who has undergone an emotional and difficult experience in applying for the sponsorship program – check out what other Canadians have been waiting years had to say below. 

It's only been hours since the application form was closed, and a petition has already been created on Change.org that calls for the CIC to outright cancel this round of applications and instead reopen the application program later this year. So far, it has over 1,700 signatures.

Mathieu Genest, press secretary for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, has tried to defend the sponsorship process. He told MTLBlog, "the Department did extensive testing to ensure systems were able to handle the volume. In addition, IRCC also implemented anti-bot features in order to ensure that submissions received were legitimate". 

The press secretary also said that there were not any known technical issues related to the application. As an alternative, he encourages applicants' parents and grandparents "to apply for a super visa to stay in Canada for up to 2 years at a time". 

There is still no explanation as to why many applicants stated they couldn't even see the application form on the CIC website. MTLBlog has reached out to the CIC for more information, so stay tuned. 

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