Task Force on Family Reunification

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Resolution number: 
13
November 1995
Whereas: 
  1. Resolution 15 of May 1992 established a task force to inquire into problems being experienced by refugees with respect to family reunification;
  2. The Task Force on Family Reunification's report was released in August 1995;
  3. The CCR remains deeply concerned over the barriers to speedy family reunification for refugees;
Therefore be it resolved: 

that the CCR:

  1. Endorse the report in principle;
  2. Call on the government to respond immediately to the concerns raised in the report;
  3. In particular endorse and call for swift action on the following recommendations:

R1.Spouses and dependent children of refugees in Canada should be granted a “derivative status” immediately upon positive determination of the refugee claim, on the basis of which they could proceed to Canada.  All processing of their permanent residence applications, including medical examinations, would be conducted in Canada, in parallel with the refugee's application.

R6.As a matter of principle, the benefit of the doubt with respect to family relationship should be given to refugees applying to sponsor their families.  Visa officers should be encouraged to use flexibility in assessing evidence of relationships and should take into account the delays and costs involved in requesting further proofs.

R14.Where spouse and children of a refugee claimant in Canada are themselves clearly in need of protection, they should not have to wait until the refugee claim is determined and the applications for permanent residence can be processed.  In such cases, visa officers should be directed to issue visas allowing the family to travel to Canada on an urgent basis.

R15.Where children of a refugee or refugee claimant in Canada are without adult care-giver, visa officers should be directed to take a proactive approach to ensure that the children have proper adult protection.  Where such protection is not available, arrangements should be made for them to join the parent in Canada without delay.

R16.Where women in need of protection in third countries have a clear connection to Canada and are likely to benefit by being united with real or de facto family members in Canada, they should be granted asylum in Canada.

R18.Additional visa post resources should be devoted to Africa.  This should be done by reallocating existing resources from regions with relatively light workloads.

R19.Serious consideration should be given to sending “flying teams” of visa officers on a temporary basis to areas where there is a need for additional resources.

R20.For refugees, eligibility of a child for landing based on the 19 year age limit should be determined as of the date of filing of the refugee claim by the parent in Canada, where the child is identified in the parent claimant's PIF.

R23.The present 19 year age limit for dependent children should be treated as a rebuttable presumption rather than an absolute limit.  Where it can be demonstrated that an unmarried child over the age of 19 is dependent on a Convention refugee in Canada, such child should be eligible to be included on the refugee's landing application.

R27.Children who are de facto members of a family unit that is applying for landing in Canada should be included in the family unit notwithstanding that such child may not have been legally adopted by the family.  A de facto adopted child should not be permitted subsequently to sponsor his or her natural parents for landing as members of the family class  (except where the natural parents who have been presumed dead are subsequently located and wish to be reunited with their child.)

R29.The special programs should be revived and updated to allow refugees in Canada to sponsor members of their extended family who find themselves in desperate situations.

R31.The government should take measures to ensure that family reunification for refugees is not obstructed or delayed by the existence of the various fees for landing.

R32.The government should give priority to finding some resolution for the thousands of refugees unable to be landed for lack of satisfactory identity documents.

  1.  Urge its members to study and endorse the report and raise its recommendations in correspondence with the government.
Working Group: 
Inland Protection