Manifesto on Family Reunification

We recognize

...that all refugees and immigrants contribute to society and that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society, which governments have an obligation to protect, under international human rights law.

We affirm as central

...the need to respect the integrity of the family unit and ensure that families are not separated for any longer than is absolutely necessary. We further recognize that the notion of ‘family’ has different meanings in different cultural contexts, and encourage a definition of ‘family’ that is as broad and as inclusive as possible in order to fully respect the reality of many family clusters.

We have particular concerns

...for children separated from their parents and affirm that speedy family reunification should be of the highest priority for any society that cares for the best interests of the child.

We deplore

...any immigration or refugee system that is indifferent to the hardships caused by separation of families, and we call for the removal of any and all barriers to family reunification.  We underline the costs of family separation, most importantly for those kept separate, but also for society at large which is also the loser when families are kept apart by the immigration system.

We particularly grieve

...the ongoing stress and anxiety that is imposed on refugee families separated by persecution and violence, and we make a renewed call for these families to be reunited as quickly as possible. We denounce any government that acts in our name to arbitrarily and cruelly turn a blind eye to the risks to which these families are unnecessarily exposed once a family member has been accepted for protection in Canada.

We therefore call

...on our government to promote an immigration and refugee system that respects basic rights by favouring the speedy reunification of families in the interests of the healthy, humane, respectful and productive integration of newcomers. We also call for the processing of family members of refugees, especially separated children, to be done in Canada.


Manifesto endorsed by:

  • Access Alliance Community Health Centre
  • Accueil – Parrainage Outaouais
  • Action Réfugiés Montréal
  • Amnesty International Canada - English-speaking section
  • Amnistie internationale - section canadienne francophone
  • Angelico Arts Programme for Refugees and Friends
  • Anglican Diocese of Saskatoon Outreach Network
  • Anglican United Refugee Alliance
  • Archdiocese of Winnipeg
  • Association des aides familiales du Québec
  • Assyrian Welfare Committee
  • Atlantic Refugee and Immigrant Services Society
  • Becoming Neighbours Joint Apostolic Ministry
  • Canadian Arab Federation            
  • Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture (CCVT)
  • Carrefour d'immigration rurale Inc.              
  • Catholic Immigration Centre
  • Centre de femmes d'ici et d'ailleurs
  • Centre Justice et Foi - Section Vivre Ensemble
  • Centre Scalabrini pour réfugiés et immigrants
  • Christian Reformed World Relief Committee
  • Comité d'aide aux réfugiés 
  • Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO)
  • Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, Canadian Province
  • Coopérative de solidarité du dépanneur Sylvestre
  • COSTI Immigrant Services
  • Dépanneur Sylvestre (DEP)     
  • Diocese of London Office for Refugees
  • Diocese of Saint John
  • DOORS To New Life Refugee Centre
  • CRÉDIL – Comité regional d’education pour le développement international de Lanaudière
  • Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers
  • FCJ Refugee Centre
  • Global Friendship Immigration Centre
  • Halifax Refugee Clinic
  • Halton Community Legal Services
  • Immigrant and Refugee Support Centre
  • Immigrant Workers Centre - Centre des travailleurs et travailleuses immigrants
  • Inland Refugee Society
  • Inter-Church Refugee Project
  • Jesuit Refugee and Migrant Service
  • La Maisonnée
  • La pastorale sociale du diocèse de Gatineau
  • L'Association des aides familiales du Québec
  • L'Office de la Pastorale sociale du Diocèse de Montréal
  • Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council, INC. (MIIC)    
  • Matthew House - Toronto
  • Mennonite Coalition For Refugee Support
  • Mennonite New Life Centre of Toronto
  • Montreal City Mission – Mission communautaire de Montréal
  • MOSAIC Legal Advocacy Program
  • Mouvement Ontarien des femmes immigrantes francophones (MOFIF)
  • Multicultural Association of Fredericton
  • Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI)
  • Parkdale Community Legal Services (PCLS)
  • Presbyterian World Service & Development
  • Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF)
  • Promotion intégration société nouvelle (P.R.O.M.I.S.)
  • Quinte United Immigrant Services
  • Refuge Juan Moreno
  • Research Resource Division for Refugees (RRDR)
  • RIVO - Réseau d'intervention auprès des personnes ayant subi la violence organisée
  • Romero House
  • Salsbury Community Society
  • Salvation Army Immigrant & Refugee Services
  • Service d'aide aux Néo-Canadiens
  • Social Justice Committee of Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Parish
  • South Ottawa Community Legal Services
  • St. Joseph's Women's Health Centre
  • Synod Council of the Anglican Diocese of Niagara
  • Table de concertation au service des personnes réfugiées et immigrantes
  • United Church of Canada
  • Welland Heritage Council and Multicultural Centre
  • Windsor Refugee Office
  • YMCA du Grand Montréal
  • Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition

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PDF version of Manifesto for printing