I think you may file non-resident tax return… but i am not sure…
definitely you cannot file resident tax return and showing 0 income… because if you file as resident then you need to show global income of that year and take tax credits…
Note: In most cases, there is no low-income-cut-off (LICO) for spouse, partner or dependent child sponsorships.
However, if either a spouse or partner you’re sponsoring has as dependent child who has dependent children of their own,
or a dependent child you are sponsoring has a dependent child of their own,
you must meet a minimum LICO score, which is determined by the Canadian government each year.
I did sponsor my child without having ever filed taxes in Canada. I think I might have attached an employment letter stating that I was employed and what my salary was. I can’t say for sure if the same applies for a spousal sponsorship too because I’ve not done this personally.
Thanks @srhere and @panditji - I found out I can call IRCC and they’ll tell me. (Now need a Canadian number to call from as apparently the helpline only works for those numbers! Well, one thing at a time…)
@panditji you are probably right but the document checklist does ask explicitly for proof of income.
This ss is from IMM5533e: