Call for Express Entry Family Reunification

Canadian Council for Refugees
Media Release

For immediate release
9 December 2014

Call for Express Entry Family Reunification

The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) called today for an Express Entry program for family reunification to ensure that children are reunited with their parents in six months or less.

Currently, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) processing times are 17 months for dependent children overseas (Family Class) and 34 months for family members of refugees.

The CCR’s proposed Express Entry family reunification program is modeled on the Express Entry economic program that CIC is launching in January 2015. Under that program immigrants with a valid job offer will have their applications processed by CIC in 6 months or less.

“We believe that children should be reunited with their parents at least as quickly as immigrants are brought to Canada to fill a job,” said Loly Rico, CCR President. “It is completely unacceptable that families are routinely separated for two years or more, due to excruciatingly slow immigration processing. It does not need to be this way: it’s a question of priorities.”

2014 is the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, according to which Canada must deal with family reunification applications “in a positive, humane and expeditious manner” (article 10). Canada is clearly in violation of this obligation.

A father who has been waiting nearly two years for reunification with his wife and young son said, “I believe the purpose of reviewing the file is to establish the relationship and do background checks. But does it really take years to do the background check and establish the relationship?”

Processing times have been getting longer and are particularly long in Africa.

Refugee dependants overseas, months to process
  2010 2011 2012 2013 July 2013-Jun. 2014
All visa offices 29 26 29 32 34
Nairobi 46 37 41 42 32
Cairo 25 46 30 n/a 48
Colombo 50 35 31 38 43


For more information:


Note:  Citizenship and Immigration Canada expresses processing times in terms of 80% of cases being finalized within the 12 month period. The period is July 2013-June 2014 (the most recent period available). Source:

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Colleen French, Communication Coordinator, Canadian Council for Refugees, 514-277-7223, ext. 1, (514) 602-2098 (cell),