On average, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), it takes about eight months to process an application to sponsor a spouse or a partner.
But the time taken to process a spousal application differs from country to country. Interestingly, according to official data provided by the CIC, time taken to process an application is longer in western Europe than in Asia. In general, the time is spread between four months in Beijing, China, to 18 months in Accra, Ghana.
Here are the official processing times for the various regions.
Africa & the Middle East 10 months
Asia/Pacific 7 months
Europe 9 months
The Americas 11 months
One of the factors that can cause delay in the completion of a sponsorship process is the time taken to secure the security clearance. This is particularly true if the applicant is a citizen of a country in a civil-war situation. Canada is keen to ensure those who might fall under its law governing crimes against humanity and/or acts of terrorism do not enter the country.
Another reason for a delay might be when the applicant is considered off-shore. For example, if the spouse is a citizen of India but currently resides in the United States, it is the US consulate that would deal with the application but this is considered off-shore and there could be delays.