Take action - Family reunification

Focus on refugee and immigrant families: action

Take action
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend by emailSend by email

Reuniting families is a key objective of Canada’s immigration program, but too often families are kept apart. Focus on refugee and immigrant families is a one page document highlighting what Canada must do to renew its focus on families on critical issues including:

  • Long delays for refugee family reunification
  • Cutting off and leaving behind family members
  • Creating equal opportunities and fair chances to be reunited with family in Canada
  • Ensuring greater flexibility to prioritize reuniting families in times of urgent need

Share this document when you visit your Member of Parliament and speak with others about the importance of keeping families together.

Nairobi: Long delays - Sign the statement, contact your MP, and raise awareness

Take action
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend by emailSend by email

Join the CCR and other allies in speaking out and raising awareness of the need for fair treatment for refugees in Africa, especially refugees whose applications are processed through the Nairobi visa office.

 

 

As an organization:

  • Sign on and promote this statement on responding to African refugees.

Organizations wishing to sign this statement should send an email to nairobi@ccrweb.ca and are encouraged to follow up by:

If they prefer, organizations can make their own statement on similar lines (and follow up as above).

All organizations are encouraged to do anything else they can to draw broad public attention to the unjust delays at visa offices abroad, particularly Nairobi.

As an individual:

  • Collect signatures for the petition on responding to African refugees. For details about collecting petition signatures, click here.
  • Meet with or write to your Member of Parliament.  Present him or her with your collected petition signatures for tabling in the House of Commons.  Urge him/her to work for fair treatment for African refugees and their families.
  • Invite others in your community to take action.  See a letter written by adoptive parents of Ethiopian twins: http://bit.ly/cIsTru

Resources:

For background information to encourage organizations to sign the statement and to encourage others to take action, see:

AttachmentSize
nairobipetition.pdf12.09 KB

Proposed reduction in age of dependent children

Take action
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend by emailSend by email

The government is proposing to narrow the definition of a dependent child in the immigration regulations in two important ways:

  • The maximum age will be reduced to 18 years (from 21 years)
  • The exception for full-time students will be eliminated

This narrower definition will apply in all cases when a person applies for permanent residence in Canada and wants to include their children:

  • Refugees being resettled from abroad or applying in Canada for permanent residence
  • People sponsored in the Family Class
  • Economic immigrants coming to Canada with their family
  • Live-in Caregivers, people accepted on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, and anyone else applying for permanent residence

If this proposal is accepted, none of these people could bring their children aged 19 or over to Canada. These children would have to qualify as immigrants on their own.

The proposed changes are explained in the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement.

The analysis presented by the government focuses only on economic issues. It does not mention that:

  • Reuniting families is one of the objectives of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
  • Most Canadians consider that 19 or 20 year old unmarried children are still part of the family and need their parents’ support.
  • In many societies it is difficult and even dangerous for single young women to live alone.

Consultation process

The proposed changes are published in the May 18 issue of the Canada Gazette, with a 30 day period for comments.

This means that groups concerned about these proposals will need to give their comments to government by Monday June 17.

Comments should be sent to Caroline Riverin Beaulieu, Assistant Director, Immigration Branch, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 365 Laurier Avenue West, 8th Floor, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1, email: Caroline.RiverinBeaulieu@cic.gc.ca. (You must mention that you are responding to the regulations published in the /Canada Gazette, Part 1, May 18, 2013.) See below for a suggested template.

Even after the end of the formal consultation process, it is useful to make your opinion heard, for example by speaking out in the media or by contracting your Member of Parliament.

You could use or adapt this petition - collect signatures and take them to your MP to show that there is broad opposition to the proposed changes.

Other changes – parents and grandparents

The government is also proposing important changes to the regulations on sponsoring parents and grandparents:

  • The sponsorship period will be increased from 10 years to 20 years.
  • Sponsors will need to have a higher income over a longer period before they can sponsor. 

They are also published in the Canada Gazette, May 18. Comments can be sent by June 17 to Fraser Fowler, Assistant Director, Social Immigration Policy and Programs, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 365 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1, email: Fraser.Fowler@cic.gc.ca. See below for a suggested template.



Note

The government's plan is to bring the proposed changes into effect in January 2014. The changes will not apply to applications already submitted.
 


 

TEMPLATE LETTERS

NB Deadline: Monday June 17

Letter on definition of dependent children

Caroline Riverin Beaulieu
Assistant Director
Immigration Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
365 Laurier Avenue West, 8th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1

email: Caroline.RiverinBeaulieu@cic.gc.ca.

Dear Ms Beaulieu,

I am writing with respect to the proposed changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations regarding the definition of dependent children, published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on 18 May 2013.

[Describe your organization]

[Summarize your organization’s position on the proposed changes.]

[Explain your concerns with the proposed changes. These might include:

Unmarried children aged 19, 20 or 21 years, are usually still part of the family (economically, socially and psychologically) and need their parents’ support.

  • In many societies it is difficult and even dangerous for single young women to live alone.
  • Refugees are forced to flee because of persecution, which often puts their young adult children at risk too. Leaving them behind may put their lives at risk.
  • Refugees often spend years in flight before they reach safety and during this time their children’s lives are disrupted (whether waiting in the home country or also in flight). It would be very difficult for all the family to have to leave the young adult children behind when the parents are finally given a new home in Canada.
  • When refugees flee, older siblings are often forced to play the role of surrogate parents to their younger siblings. Leaving the older siblings behind when the family is finally reunited in Canada would represent yet another brutal separation for a family that has already experienced separation.
  • Live-in caregivers and people accepted on humanitarian grounds must wait years before they can sponsor their children. It is unfair to exclude children who have recently passed the age of 18 simply because of the length of the immigration process.
  • Newcomers can’t settle well when they are worried about close family members left abroad, especially when they are in a refugee-like situation. This limits their economic potential.
  • Parents forced to leave behind young adult children will instead send money abroad to support their children, at an economic loss to Canada.
  • Young adult children who are refugees may be in a refugee camp supported by Canadian humanitarian dollars. It would make better economic sense to bring them to Canada where they can contribute to society.
  • The proposed change undermines one of the objectives of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which is to reunite families.
  • The Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement explains the change by suggesting that we need to select the immigrants that will fare best economically in Canada. However, refugees and family class immigrants are not selected for their economic potential, so this is not an appropriate reason for changing the family definition in these classes.
  • Canadian society is stronger when families are valued and supported.]

[If you can, give some case examples to illustrate your points. Highlight the particular experiences of your organization and the people you serve.]

[Give your organization’s recommendation with respect to the proposed changes to the regulations ie. should they be approved, rejected or modified?]

cc. [Local MPs]

Letter on rules for sponsoring parents and grandparents/h4>

 

Fraser Fowler
Assistant Director
Social Immigration Policy and Programs
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
365 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1

email: Fraser.Fowler@cic.gc.ca.

Dear Mr Fowler,

I am writing with respect to the proposed changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations regarding the sponsorship of parents and grandparents, published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on 18 May 2013.

[Describe your organization]

[Summarize your organization’s position on the proposed changes.]

[Explain your concerns with the proposed changes. These might include:

The proposed change undermines one of the objectives of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which is to reunite families.

  • The increased financial requirements will mean that only the wealthy can sponsor their parents. Family reunification should not be a privilege reserved to the wealthy.
  • The changes will particularly affect racialized communities and women, as they are economically disadvantaged in Canada, and therefore will be less likely to meet the higher income thresholds.
  • The focus on economic contributions ignores the many other contributions newcomers make to our societies.
  • Parents and grandparents often support the members of the family who are earning a salary, for example by providing childcare. They make their families stronger.
  • Immigrants who are contributing to Canada may leave if they can’t bring their parents here.
  • Refugees who arrive in Canada as unaccompanied minors do not have the right to family reunification with their parents and siblings. The proposed changes would greatly delay, and likely prevent, their ever being able to sponsor them once they are adults.
  • Twenty year sponsorships increase the risk of serious hardships for families, in the case of illness or accident. Immigrants are paying the same taxes as Canadians: it is not fair that they shoudl be deprived for decades of the services paid for by those taxes.]

[If you can, give some case examples to illustrate your points. Highlight the particular experiences of your organization and the people you serve.]

[Give your organization’s recommendation with respect to the proposed changes to the regulations ie. should they be approved, rejected or modified?]

 

cc. [Local MPs]

Oppose the proposed “Conditional Permanent Residence” for sponsored spouses

Take action
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend by emailSend by email

 

Proposed “Conditional Permanent Residence” for sponsored spouses

Take action!

  • Meet with your Member of Parliament to express concern over the proposal: take along these background documents (two-page backgrounder, one-page summary) for your MP, and consult our tips for meeting with MPs
  • Make the concerns known in the public and through the media.
  • Meet with your provincial government and encourage them to voice opposition to this proposal to the federal government
  • Write a letter (here is a model letter to use) to the Ministers of CIC and Status of Women, and to your MP
  • Network with other settlement and women's organizations in your province to take on the issue
  • Have your organization sign on to the joint statement opposing the proposal.  Email assist@ccrweb.ca.
  • Create your own statement or press release in opposition to the proposal