2. Assisted relatives

Nov 2004
  1. The presence of family members is a strong indicator for successful settlement, and assists in small centre retention;
  2. The cancellation of the Assisted Relative category has greatly increased the pressure on the Private Sponsorship program.
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR write to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the Ministre des Relations avec les citoyens et de l’Immigration requesting that the Assisted Relative class be reinstated.

2. Leaving newborn children in camps

May 2004
  1. Communities are seeing many incidents where sponsored refugees are leaving newborn children behind.
  2. Some children are dying as a result of these decisions.
  3. These decisions are being made based on information circulating in-country that reporting these newborns will result in their travel arrangements being cancelled.
  4. Information on how to report and procedures for reporting do not always reflect the context of refugee applicants regarding access.
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR urge CIC to:

  1. Develop a policy which clearly states that reporting newborn children will not jeopardize a family’s passage to Canada.
  2. Communicate this policy to all embassies and UNHCR requiring that this policy be broadcast throughout the refugee population.
  3. Distribute this policy to refugee support systems in Canada for dissemination in ethnocultural communities.
  4. Facilitate a variety of avenues in which to report newborn children and ensure that applicants receive such information.

28. Family reunification for children with protected person status

Nov 2003
  1. The reunification of families continues to be a serious problem for refugees in Canada;
  2. No financial support requirement need be satisfied in the resettlement of protected persons;
  3. Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, children who are granted "protected person" status in Canada are not permitted to include their parents and siblings, either abroad or in Canada, in their applications to be landed as "protected persons";
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR call upon the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to amend the Regulations [R. 1(3)] so that "family member" of a "protected person" includes the parent and siblings of a "protected person" who is a minor.

Working Group:

26. DNA and evidence of parent-child relationship

Nov 2003

The definition of "dependent child" in IRPA, restricting "dependent child" to "biological" or "adopted child" may result in greater recourse to DNA testing, which is intrusive and possibly harmful to the best interest of children;

Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR call upon the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to develop guidelines for immigration and visa officers to accept uncontradicted affidavit evidence by parents and third parties as evidence of relationship in the absence of birth certificates, before requesting DNA testing.

Working Group:

3. Right to establish relationships

May 2003
  1. Permanent residents, protected persons and citizens have the right to establish a longstanding relationship by co-habiting with or marrying a partner of their choice and have children, regardless of status;
  2. Families are a key foundation of civil society and every effort should be taken to ensure that partners and their offspring are not separated;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR advocate to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to amend the regulations in order to create a class through which permanent residents, protected persons and citizens have the right to sponsor their partner and children in Canada, regardless of their status.

3. Delays

May 2001

delays cause anxiety and instability for refugees and their families;

Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR contact the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and urge that CIC be resourced to supply sufficient support staff to provide for expeditious processing of family reunification, private sponsorships and other matters that require avoidance of delays and backlogs which cause pain and anxiety to refugees.


17. Family reunification

Nov 1997
  1. There is an interdepartmental committee of CIC considering new measures to speed up family reunification for refugees;
  2. The CCR supports a policy which would allow the dependants of refugees who are overseas to come into Canada and be processed within for landing;
  3. The CCR has recommended measures promoting speedy family reunification in Res. 13, November 1995;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR write to CIC in support of measures allowing dependants abroad to be processed in Canada and requesting that CCR be consulted and allowed to make representations on such changes.

Working Group:

10. IRB guidelines on unaccompanied minors

Nov 1997
  1. The IRB Chairperson has issued guidelines on unaccompanied minors;
  2. There is nothing in the guidelines to encourage expedited hearings, nor avoiding full hearings, nor on recognizing the principle of family reunification;
  3. There are often compelling reasons to expedite unaccompanied minors and very little difference between their claims and the claims of their parents, siblings or relatives whose claims have already been adjudicated positively;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR write to the IRB Chairperson to recommend that:

  1. Expedited hearings be generously used for such children;
  2. The IRB develop substantive guidelines for children which will include family reunification as one of its principles.
Working Group:

5. Best interests

Jun 1997
  1. Presently no guidelines exist at the IRB with respect to making children's best interests a primary consideration in appropriate cases before it;
  2. The need to assign primary consideration to the best interests of children is required by international legal instruments to which Canada is a party;
  3. The Federal Court of Canada has failed to give effect to the best interests of children representing more than a consideration in immigration matters affecting children's interests;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR:

  1. Encourage the IRB to develop guidelines for the Immigration Appeal Division and the Convention Refugee Determination Division appertaining to the best interests of children in light of the principle of family reunification and Canada's international legal obligations, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Hague Convention on adoptions;
  2. Urge the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to adopt and implement the guidelines so developed for both inland and visa office cases.

1. Family reunification

Jun 1997
  1. The Canadian Immigration Act and the Québec immigration law state that family reunification is a central objective of the Canadian and Québec immigration programs;
  2. Canada has signed and ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man, all of which affirm the principle of family unity and that the family is entitled to protection by society and the state;
  3. The CCR has published an extensive report on family reunification and has passed various resolutions calling for the elimination of barriers to family reunification;
  4. The federal government continues to make changes in the Family Class regulations which serve to create further delays and barriers to reunification (i.e.. recent changes announced on March 18, 1997) and the Québec government has tightened the financial requirements for sponsors and has recently implemented a repayment program for defaulting sponsors without regard to their present financial situation;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR call on the Government of Canada to:

  1. Repeal the amendments of March 18, 1997 to the Family Sponsorship regulations;
  2. Initiate a process of consultative meetings with the CCR and concerned communities to revise the Family Sponsorship Regulations in a manner consistent with Canada's international human rights obligations;
  3. Recognize both in legislation and in policy implementation that family unity is the cornerstone of healthy and effective settlement for refugees and immigrants;
  4. Ensure that legislation, policy and regulations consider the importance of family unity on the successful settlement and long-term contribution of vulnerable groups such as survivors of torture and trauma, women at risk, and others who come to Canada under humanitarian programs;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the CCR call on the Government of Québec to review, in collaboration with the settlement agencies, its policy on defaulting sponsors to ensure that standards of fairness and equity are maintained in all situations.

14. Family sponsorship

Nov 1996
  1. Some refugees selected overseas are resettled in Canada without their immediate families (usually because they are in another country).
  2. Some refugees granted status by the IRB are advised not to include immediate family members on their permanent residence application, in the interests of speedier processing.
  3. Both of these groups of people may face financial barriers when they subsequently attempt to be reunited with their family, because they are no longer classified as refugees.
  4. There is inconsistency across Canada in the application of financial requirements for the sponsorship of spouses and dependent children.
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR urge CIC to:

  1. Process the immediate family of refugees selected overseas simultaneously, even when they are in a different country.
  2. Stop advising refugees granted status by the IRB not to include their immediate family on their permanent residence application.
  3. Ensure that no financial requirements are demanded of refugees who have become permanent residents or Canadian citizens and who are seeking to sponsor their immediate family.

13. Task Force on Family Reunification

Nov 1995
  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:

16. DNA testing

May 1995
  1. Citizenship and Immigration Canada through its foreign missions, is requesting a large number of families to submit to DNA testing as proof of relationships prior to approval for sponsorship;
  2. The DNA tests are being requested mainly for families from Third World countries;
  3. The DNA tests are very expensive, costing over $1200 for a family of two and more for large families, thus adding a further unbearable financial and emotional burden to families already struggling to raise money to pay processing fees, the Head Tax and transportation costs, and causing unacceptable delays in family re-unification;
  4. Current statistics show that over 90% of tests done to date have proved the families' relationships;
  5. The small number of negative test results cannot justify the financial burden imposed on others by widespread testing;
  6. Too much power is being wielded by the Canadian visa posts abroad in frequently requesting these tests when no reasonable grounds for doing so have been clearly established;
Therefore be it resolved:

that the CCR:

  1. Call on CIC to stop the present discriminatory practice of requesting DNA testing from people from mainly Third World countries.
  2. Strongly urge the Minister to establish and publish clear guidelines as to what constitutes reasonable grounds of doubt which would justify a request for DNA testing.
Working Group: