Excluded Family Members

"Mariam was separated from us for three years and now, ten years later, I know that she still does not fully see or trust me as a mother. The government is punishing children who did not do anything wrong." Nadia, mother of an excluded family member

Section 117(9)(d) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations imposes a lifetime bar on sponsorship of a family member, if the family member was not examined by an immigration officer when the sponsor immigrated to Canada.

Since this regulation came into effect in 2002, there have been numerous instances of family members including young children being left out of the initial application for permanent residence and then permanently excluded from the Family Class, and thus kept separated from their family members in Canada.

Although R. 117 (9)(d) affects all categories of immigrants, it has a disproportionately negative effect on refugees and vulnerable migrants who fail to disclose a family member. Their reasons for doing so include fear of endangering the family member, gender-based oppression, lack of information, and unexpected life events. The regime set out in R.117 (9)(d) is overbroad, excessive, and inflicts devastating harm on vulnerable people, especially children.

Some families are eventually able to reunite through humanitarian and compassionate consideration, but it is a long, difficult and uncertain process.

According to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, "making an application for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds is not an effective remedy for dealing with these cases, in light of the costs involved and low approval rate."  Report, Family Reunification, March 2017

The CCR believes R.117(9)(d) violates Canada's international human rights commitments and recommends its elimination as a simple and effective way to address the problems it has created.

Join the CCR in calling on the government to repeal the excluded family member rule (Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations 117(9)(d)).

CCR Resources on Excluded Family Members

Excluded family members: practical guide

Infographic on Excluded Family members Mar 2016

Excluded Family Members: Brief on R. 117(9)(d) May 2016

Webinar on Excluded family members: understanding the problem, finding solutions 16 Feb 2017

Webinar on Practical issues in family reunification 9 March 2017 

Family reunification submission November 2016 (page 2) Nov 2016

Equally Human, Equally Entitled To Rights (page 10-11) Jan 2016

Strategies for intervening in family reunification cases: Practical guide (page 4-6) Sep 2015

Families Never to be United: Excluded Family Members (R. 117(9)(d)) Apr 2008

Other Resources on Excluded Family Members

Troubling Trends in Canada's Immigration System via the Excluded Family Member Regulation: A Survey of Jurisprudence and Lawyers September 2016 | Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper

The Ultrahazardous Activity of Excluding Family Members in Canada's Immigration System March 2016 | Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper

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