The Canadian Government's "Notice of Intent" in the Canada Gazette on March 26, 2011 proposes that sponsored spouses, common-law and conjugal partners who have been in a relationship with their sponsor for less than two years at time of sponsorship be subject to a period of conditional permanent residence for two years or more (not yet decided) after landing as a permanent resident.
Previously, the sponsored party received unconditional landed immigrant status upon landing. Recent case/public opinion/changing sentiment at Citizenship and Immigration Canada has caused this proposed policy change.
This means couples who were not in a relationship for at least two years (government using two years as an indication of a genuine relationship) before the foreigner is sponsored must prove they have lived together for a defined period after landing (two years has been proposed) before the applicant (immigrant) becomes a permanent resident. The Notice of Intent may be found at: http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2011/2011-03-26/html/notice-avis-eng.html#d114
If you or your client may be affected by this change, or if you have any questions about this or any other aspects of immigration law, please don't hesitate to contact me.