- Canada celebrates 40 years of the refugee sponsorship program
- Interim Pathway for Caregivers in Canada now open
- Canada strengthens regulation of immigration and citizenship consultants
- Speaking notes for Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship: An Update on the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program
- Speaking notes for Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship: An announcement on two new caregiver immigration pilot programs
More than 327,000 refugees have found safe haven in Canada
April 9, 2019 – Ottawa, ON – As Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program marks 40 years, Canadians are being celebrated for their immense contributions and dedication to provide a safe haven for vulnerable refugees around the world.
Canada has also become a model for other countries across the globe. The success of the program is a direct result of the extraordinary partnerships and cooperation among Canadian organizations, businesses, governments, communities and individuals.
Private sponsors have welcomed more than 327,000 refugees since the start of the program in the late 1970s and it is one of the oldest and best known resettlement programs in the world.
Up until 2016, Canada was the only country in the entire world with such a program. Through the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative, sponsorship programs have grown significantly with Argentina, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Spain and Germany now developing or operating new community sponsorship programs for refugees.
“Thank you to all Canadians for opening both their hearts and homes to welcome more than 327,000 refugees over the last four decades from coast to coast to coast. We can all take pride in the example Canadians set for the world. It is truly emblematic of the character of Canadians and the fabric of our great country”.
– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
- The Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program officially began in 1978 and marked the first time Canadians were able to get involved in the resettlement of vulnerable refugees.
- Between 1979 and 1980, more than 60,000 people found refuge in Canada after the Vietnam War. Of those, over half were supported by private sponsorship groups.
- Since 1980, more than 160 communities have welcomed privately sponsored refugees from more than 175 countries.
- Since 2015, more than half of the 62,000 Syrian refugees who have been resettled to Canada were privately sponsored.
- Launched in 2016, the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative - a partnership between Canada, the United Nations Refugee Agency, the Open Society Foundations, the Giustra Foundation and the University of Ottawa - aims to increase global refugee resettlement spaces, strengthen host communities, and improve the narrative about refugees by engaging governments and private citizens in refugee sponsorship.
Applicants encouraged to meet the June 4 deadline
March 15, 2019—Ottawa, ON – Caregivers who came to Canada to provide care to Canadian families, in the hope of eventually transitioning to becoming a permanent residents should apply to the Interim Pathway for Caregivers (IPC).
Caregivers who have been working in Canada temporarily but who have not qualified for any other current caregiver program are encouraged to review the criteria and begin working on their applications so that they don’t miss the June 4 deadline.
Criteria of the IPC include:
- a valid work permit
- 1 year of work experience as a home childcare provider or home support worker, or a combination of experience in both occupations
- a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark 5 level in reading, writing, listening and speaking in English or French
- a foreign equivalent or Canadian high school diploma
- If you can’t get your Educational Credential Assessment before the deadline, you must provide proof that you’ve applied to get one
- If you can't get your language test results in time before the deadline, you must show proof of an appointment to take the test along with the date
Applications for permanent residence through the IPC will be processed in 12 months and there is no cap on the number of caregivers, with their spouses/common-law partners and dependent children, who will be accepted.
“Caregivers came to Canada to provide care to families that need it, and it’s time for Canada to care for them in return. To demonstrate our commitment, we are finally providing them and their family members the opportunity to apply to become permanent residents.”
– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
- In October 2017, there was a backlog of about 9,000 cases, representing 24,000 caregivers and their family members, in the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP). We have reduced that backlog to only 495 cases, representing 2,655 people left to be processed, a reduction of close to 95 percent.
- The processing time for new applications from those who were grandfathered into the LCP is 12 months instead of the peak of 60 months previously. Applications under the Caring for Children and Caring for People with High Medical Needs pilots continue to be processed in 6 months or less.
- In June 2019, the Home Child Care Provider Pilot and the Home Support Worker Pilot will launch, replacing the Caring for Children and Caring for People with High Medical Needs pilots. The new pilots will each have a maximum of 2,750 principal applicants, for a combined total of 5,500 principal applicants per year. Spouses/common-law partners and dependent children will not count against the limit.
- Under the new pilots, in-home caregivers will get occupation-specific work permits, which will provide greater flexibility in changing jobs when necessary. Caregivers will also have more opportunity to bring their family with them to Canada, as their spouses/common-law partners will be eligible for an open work permit and their dependent children will be eligible for a study permit.
Ottawa, April 10, 2019 — The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, issued the following statement:
"Our government is taking decisive action to hold immigration and citizenship consultants to a much higher standard as we do with other professions, such as lawyers and doctors. By introducing new legislation, we are going to protect Canadians, prospective newcomers and good-standing immigration and citizenship consultants against the fraudulent consultants who are preying on the most vulnerable.
The new legislation would make the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants the official watchdog of consultants across the country and give them both the powers and tools they need for vigorous oversight, enforcement, investigations and punishment to root out fraudulent immigration and citizenship consultants and hold them accountable for their actions.
In addition, we will work with the College to: implement a mandatory and robust course for those wishing to obtain an immigration and citizenship consulting license; introduce transparency on fees; and provide a better system for people to make formal complaints against a consultant.
These changes will protect both Canadians and prospective newcomers as well as the many good-standing consultants that are providing immigration and citizenship services ethically and professionally.
While practicing law, I have seen the devastating effect that fraud has had on people and I am committed to holding immigration and citizenship consultants to the highest standard.”
Halifax, Nova Scotia
March 1, 2019
Thank you for inviting me. It’s a pleasure to be here.
It's really great to be here at Pier 21, a place that is a great symbol of the story of Canada intermingling with the story of immigration. I also want to thank my Parliamentary Secretary, Matt DeCourcey, the Member of Parliament from Fredericton, who has always helped me to advance the Atlantic Immigration Program in Atlantic Canada and to bring an Atlantic perspective to our work.
Immigration is vital to sustain the workforce and to support health care, public pensions, and the culture of this region.
In 2017, the Government of Canada came together with the Atlantic provinces to launch the Atlantic Immigration Pilot program, an employer-driven program that really emphasized not just the attraction of skilled workers to Atlantic Canada, but the retention of those skilled workers and their families, as a way to fuel economic growth and address labour market and skills shortages. In year three of the pilot, which is where we are now, I'm happy to tell you that we are on the right track. More than 1,800 Atlantic employers now participate in the pilot program.
We've made, under the program, 3,700 job offers to skilled workers and international graduates right here in Atlantic Canada and we've approved applications for more than 2,500 permanent residents and their family members destined for the Atlantic region. Roughly 60 percent of them have already landed in communities right across this part of Canada.
Two examples of our success: Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video gaming publishers, came to Halifax in 2015. They now have used the Atlantic Immigration Pilot program to employ four people. HGS Canada has hired 15 workers through this program. One of them is Tanya Mukhaji from India who arrived in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, with a settlement plan in place, ready to integrate into this society and hit the ground running. More Atlantic region employers are looking to immigration as one of the ways to fill their labour market challenges and also to attract the skills that they need to grow and create more jobs for Canadians.
At our last AGS meeting, and in response to the clear growing demand and use of the program, the Government of Canada announced an increase in the spaces – a 500 increase in the number of spaces in the Atlantic Immigration Pilot program. And I'm happy to report that, in 2018, all the 2,500 spaces were used. This is in addition to the allocations given to Atlantic Canada under the Provincial Nominee Program, and the highly-skilled immigrants who come through the Express Entry system who land in Canada.
So while the program continues to gain momentum and growth, the Government of Canada and the Atlantic provinces have together agreed to make some targeted adjustments to the program, based on the early lessons that we've learned but also some feedback that we got from the employers. We've seen numerous examples of how this program is helping employers. As I've said, it's helped businesses to prosper, it's helped to create real good quality middle class jobs for Canadians and, of course, it's helped Atlantic Canada to grow.
That is why I'm really pleased to join you here today to announce that the Atlantic Immigration Pilot program, which was initially meant to run till December 2019, will now be extended by an additional two years to December 31, 2021. This will give the Government of Canada and Atlantic provinces more time to experiment with different approaches and to assess the program's medium and long-term impacts in this region of Canada.
I'm also pleased to announce today that we will extend, after listening to the provinces, we will extend the timeframe available to international graduates from universities and colleges in Atlantic Canada. We will extend, from the current 12 months to 24 months, the time that they have to apply to become permanent residents. This should increase the number of international graduates applying for full-time permanent jobs in Atlantic Canada, and then in the next step, applying to become permanent residents. So the 24 months will give them more time to do that, to find those jobs and then to apply for permanent residency under the Atlantic Immigration Program.
And given the region's aging population and high health care needs, we will also now allow, for the first time, health care employers more staffing flexibility to hire internationally-trained nurses to come to Atlantic Canada and work as continuing care or home care support workers. That flexibility did not exist in the past, but as of tomorrow, it does. And as well, the provinces will now have more flexibility to prioritize which jobs they wish to fill through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot program, to allow them to have the flexibility to better allocate their pilot spaces to in-demand labour market needs. So provinces will also be able to de-designate employers who are not complying with the Immigration Pilot program's requirements.
Finally, to help foreign nationals to transition from temporary work permits to permanent residence as quickly as possible, IRCC will assess their language, education and work experience before issuing a work permit to them.
This will help to ensure that these candidates who are being given the work permits possess the necessary language and job skills that they need in order to successfully integrate into Atlantic Canada society and become permanent residents very quickly.
I'm really convinced, as I look at the program's progress up to date, that the Atlantic Immigration Program will continue to help immigration fuel the economic development of Atlantic Canada. And I see that this is an example of the great collaboration between the Government of Canada and the Atlantic Region.
February 23, 2019
Thank you so much, Rob. And thank you to The Neighbourhood Organization for having us here today for this really important announcement.
I want to begin by acknowledging the presence with me here and to really appreciate my colleagues. First, thank you very much Rob Oliphant, the Member of Parliament for Don Valley West, for hosting us today. Rob Oliphant is also the Chair of the Citizenship and Immigration Committee in the House of Commons, and that Committee has a lot of hard work to produce studies and reports that have informed the policy-making process within IRCC.
Next to him is Michael Levitt, Member of Parliament for York Centre, my colleague in Parliament and also the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, again a really important Committee, determining Canada's policies with respect to foreign affairs and our place in the world.
And next to me, to my right, is Salma Zahid, a Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre, my colleague who also sits on the Citizenship and Immigration Committee, and who cares deeply about this particular issue of caregivers.
And, of course, I was really happy to meet all the officials and the organisers of this event from The Neighbourhood Organization, to see the work that they do and to see first-hand the students in the class who are at a very high level of English, and taking the time to learn more, so that they can integrate faster into the workplace.
I'd like to begin by acknowledging that we're gathered today on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of New Credit.
It’s a pleasure to be here with all of you.
Caregivers have cared for our elderly, for our children, and for many Canadians who need assistance. They help raise our children while their parents go to work or study, and they make their own contributions in many different ways to our community and our economy. Some people would be solely responsible for the care of their loved ones without caregivers. They help families with this care, so that they can themselves also go to work or study outside the home.
And I can tell you we are all standing here in front of you today because we believe that it is finally time that Canada take care of them, the caregivers, in return for their care and contributions that they've made to Canada.
Caregivers coming to this country have faced many challenges and barriers; challenges that we have heard from you time and again. And I have seen and heard these challenges first-hand, not just in Toronto, but all across the country.
I'll give you an example, the story of Jocelyne, who was separated from her family, a caregiver right here in Canada, who was separated from her family for 13 years – that's far too long. That's hardship that she and her family had to endure. She was finally reunited with her family, but only in 2017. I met her and her family and I thanked Jocelyne for all the contributions that she made to our country.
Unfortunately, the experience of Jocelyne is far too common in the caregiver community. In 2014 there was a backlog of 62,000 caregivers in the Live-in Caregiver Program. In 2017, we reduced that backlog to approximately 24,000 and I made the commitment that the government would eliminate this backlog by 80% by the end of 2018. I'm here to report to you that not only did we do it, we went further – we reduced that backlog by 94%.
Another statistic is that caregiver families were kept apart for between five to seven years, waiting to reunite with their loved ones. The government has reduced this wait time to sponsor your loved ones to 12 months.
And today I'm pleased to say that this is the new standard. Every time a caregiver sponsors their family members and their loved ones to Canada, it will only take 12 months or less.
We have also maintained a six-month wait time for applications to the Caring for Children and Caring for People with High Medical Needs Pilot Programs. Over the years, tens of thousands of caregivers have gained permanent residency through the Live-in Caregiver Program after working for families in Canada for at least two years or more.
In 2014, that program was closed and many caregivers continued to arrive in Canada, and they believed wrongly that they would continue to qualify for permanent residency after they acquired the necessary work experience. They were not told that the program ended. Many did not realize that they were not part of Live-in Caregiver Program. Others found out that was the case after they already started working in Canada. The result is that many caregivers have been working quietly in Canada, but have been left unable to qualify for permanent residency under the existing system.
Well, I can tell you, not just me but our colleagues Michael, Rob, Salma, and many others, that we heard you loud and clear across the country, and we heard you when you said that this situation had to change. So today we're taking action to help those people, as well who are caught in the limbo of the non-existing Live-In Caregiver Program.
As you know, the Caring for Children and Caring for People with High Medical Needs pilots will expire later this year. So last year, I rose in the House of Commons to reaffirm the government's clear commitment to caregivers, that we will always maintain a pathway for permanent residency for caregivers.
When these pilots expire, we will launch two new five-year programs for caregivers: one dedicated to home childcare providers and another to home support workers. These new programs will assess whether a caregiver meets permanent residency requirements before they get to work in Canada.
What does this mean? It means that the only criteria that an in-home caregiver will have left to meet when they get to Canada, is that they have a two-year work experience requirement. These pilots will also provide caregivers with the flexibility to change employers when they need to do that. No longer will a caregiver be tied to one employer. If a caregiver is working for a particular employer and they feel abused or exploited, they can choose to go to another employer.
We are also removing some of the barriers that have prevented caregivers from bringing their families with them to Canada when they accept a job in Canada. How will we do this? We will provide open work permits for caregivers' spouses and common-law partners, number one.
Number two – we will also provide study permits for their children when they come with them.
And number three – this means that caregivers will no longer have to make the difficult choice of either accepting a job in Canada or leaving their family members back home. They will be able to come with their family members – their children and their spouses, and be able to start a new life in Canada.
In addition to that – remember those who are left in limbo because of the 2014 end of the Live-in Caregiver Program – we will soon launch an entering pathway for those caregivers, so that they can also access permanent residency. This will open on March 4th until June 4th. This program will offer many caregivers in this very vulnerable situation an immediate pathway to permanent residency.
And I want to take this opportunity to thank all the caregivers, not only the ones here today, but all the caregivers in Canada who are watching, because they help take care of our loved ones. You have given so much to Canada and we want to thank you.
Caregivers deserve our gratitude, they deserve our hard work; they deserve our care in return for everything that they do for Canada, each and every single day. For caregivers such as Jocelyne and caregivers coming to Canada in the future, this will be a promise. They’ll have a better life bringing their families to Canada and their children with them. And they will always have a new path to becoming a permanent resident in Canada, the best country in the world.