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Results: 1 - 13 of 13
View Han Dong Profile
Lib. (ON)
That's very good to know. I encourage you to consult with as many professionals in various communities as possible, because I'm sure the message you will be hearing will be very different now, considering COVID is affecting our economy and a demand for labour in various fields.
I want to move to people who apply for citizenship and haven't been able to become a Canadian citizen due to the cancellation of their citizenship ceremony.
Is IRCC considering any alternative ways to help them complete the final steps to becoming a Canadian citizen?
Catrina Tapley
View Catrina Tapley Profile
Catrina Tapley
2020-05-08 12:57
Yes, as the minister indicated, we now have done one ceremony virtually, and we are looking at making sure we have plans in place to be able to proceed with more of those ceremonies.
View Scott Duvall Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thanks, Mr. Arora.
I need to ask this question. Just hypothetically, we're going to get a census here. I'm going to every fourth person and ask, “Are you a Canadian? Were you born in Canada?” That will be the question. Are you telling me that I'm going to get great, quality data just by asking three out of these 12 people?
Anil Arora
View Anil Arora Profile
Anil Arora
2020-03-12 17:09
If you go to 3.7 million households in Canada and ask them that question, and you have the statistical rigour and the expertise to be able to weight that up to a population and to benchmark it to the fact that we've asked that question for the last so many censuses, yes, you will get a very good answer, one that you can repeat over and over again with a different sample. We can actually tell you the difference in the variability between one sample and the next. That's what we do all the time.
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you to all of the members of this committee for allowing me my first opportunity to come and address you.
I would like to begin by acknowledging that we gather today on the traditional territory of the Algonquin nation.
I'm pleased to make my first appearance before this committee as the Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
As a result of Canada's history of immigration, today more than one in five Canadians were born outside of Canada. This is a strength for our country and a source of great pride. Canada's commitment to diversity and inclusion is essential to making our nation and this world a better place.
That is why the Government of Canada is focused on building an inclusive society with a sense of belonging, trust, and shared values throughout our country.
We know that immigrants make important contributions to Canada, both economically and through cultural diversity. Our government will continue to defend immigration in this country. Our aim is to further improve Canada's immigration system for the benefit of all Canadians and newcomers. This is no small task.
The Prime Minister has given me a very important mandate, one that is vital to our future economic prosperity and one that is absolutely essential to who we are. I have already begun this work in earnest.
As you know, in recent years our government has moved to a multi-year levels plan. This approach allows us to work more effectively with our partners all across the country as we make responsible increases to immigration. My department will soon table its annual report to Parliament on immigration, which will include Canada's multi-year levels plan for the years 2020 to 2022.
Immigration builds vibrant and dynamic communities. It gives Canadian businesses the skills they need to thrive in global markets and to create good-paying middle-class jobs. Our government is working with our counterparts to ensure that these benefits are distributed right across the country, particularly in this period where several regions have been affected by labour shortages.
We live in an increasingly competitive world and we must seize the opportunity to work together to ensure that Canada remains a world leader.
I've travelled to Geneva and to Germany where Canada has been recognized as a world leader and a shining example for the rest of the world on immigration. In fact, recently Germany invited us to share the lessons we have learned together over many years. These lessons have strengthened our system, which has been hailed by the OECD as the “benchmark for other countries” when it comes to integration.
To seize the opportunity and to stay in that position as a world leader, we are working on various initiatives to enhance economic immigration everywhere in Canada. Let's take the Atlantic immigration pilot for example, which has been a tremendous success. We are building on it to attract even more skilled immigrants to live and work in Atlantic Canada and we are taking the next steps to making this pilot a permanent part of our framework.
In addition, our rural and northern immigration pilot is rolling out in partnership with 11 communities from northern Ontario to British Columbia.
We're also looking at developing a new municipal nominee program to allow local communities, chambers of commerce and labour councils the opportunity to directly sponsor the workers they need.
Similarly, the express entry program is the fast lane for immigrants who have the skills and experience to hit the ground running. It's getting results. Under this stream, 95% of the participants have a job, with 83% of them in their main occupation, and 20% earn more than the principal applicants who are coming in under streams other than the express entry.
We're also maintaining our commitment to family reunification. We will continue to play a leadership role in refugee resettlement by introducing a dedicated refugee stream for journalists and humanitarian workers at risk, with a target of helping to resettle as many as 250 people per year.
To help all newcomers and their families integrate, our government will continue to deliver innovative settlement programming and to further invest in research, support and employment projects for visible minority newcomer women. Newcomers, whether refugees or from family reunification, give back to their host country by participating in the economic development of their communities. I know you will be as familiar with their successes as I am.
Supporting positive outcomes—not only for the newcomers who come to Canada, but for our communities across the country—is critical, and my cabinet colleagues and I are working diligently with partners and stakeholders across the country to achieve this.
A timely and efficient immigration system is of critical importance in attracting the world's most talented individuals. Canadians continue to view immigration as key to filling labour gaps and as a tool for addressing the challenges of an aging working population. But, while Canadians continue to express strong support for immigration, we cannot be complacent. We know that Canadians' continued support for immigration goes hand in hand with our ability to manage the system in an orderly and principled way and one that is beneficial to our country.
While Canada is open and generous towards the world's most vulnerable, we must also remain vigilant in the enforcement of our borders, while ensuring our asylum system remains open for those who truly need it.
To that end, I am working with my colleague, the Minister of Public Safety, and I will continue to advance reforms and investments in the capacity of the asylum system to ensure it is efficient, while meeting Canada's international legal obligations.
We're also improving our immigration system for all of our clients. This means we must also endeavour to protect them from fraud and from falling prey to immigration and citizenship consultants who are unscrupulous and take advantage of vulnerable people. To that end, my department will implement the new professional governance regime for immigration and citizenship consultants under the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Act, which will bring strengthened government oversight and a new and stronger compliance and enforcement regime.
The protection of our official languages is very important and that is why we want to put in place measures to strengthen the capacity of francophone communities across the country.
We want to increase francophone immigration between now and 2023 and support the integration and retention of French-speaking newcomers outside Quebec.
Canadian citizenship is the hallmark of a newcomer's full integration into Canada. I have attended a few citizenship ceremonies since I took office and I can tell you, there is no greater pride than the pride that can be seen on the faces of newcomers on this significant day.
There is nothing like seeing a smile on the face of somebody who has just been welcomed to the family of Canadians.
Becoming a citizen is a key of an immigrant's journey, and 86% of newcomers go on to become Canadians. This is one of the highest naturalization rates in the world and something we should celebrate. In fact, more than 200,000 took the oath of citizenship and became citizens in 2018-19.
Through our shared citizenship, we are building a stronger Canada and promoting equality and diversity. To encourage even more newcomers to take the full path to citizenship, our government will bring forward a plan to eliminate fees for citizenship for those who have fulfilled the requirements to obtain it, and I look forward to advancing that work.
I will also say that I'm pleased to have recently tabled Bill C-6, which will amend the oath of citizenship to reflect reconciliation and to reflect our essential relationship with indigenous peoples in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call to action.
Madam Chair, in conclusion I believe that Canadians should have the utmost respect for the people who want to rebuild their lives in Canada and make contributions to our country. I know that everyone around this table shares the same goals of seeing how we can depend and rely on immigration not only to improve our country, but to make the world a better place.
For example, I want to commend this committee's study of labour shortages. I look forward to collaborating with you on that important work. Together, I know that we can generate and shape the ideas that will drive Canada's long-term prosperity, and I look forward to that work with you as well.
Thank you very much.
View Kyle Seeback Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay.
Minister, you proceeded with recommendation 94 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was to add words to the oath of citizenship. It took you five years to come up with 17 words.
Recommendation 93 is a more significant recommendation. It requires changes to the actual citizenship course.
Can we anticipate that if you make 34 word changes in that, it will take 10 years?
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
No, I don't think that is a fair way to put the question. Given the urgency and the tone with which it was put to me, I would certainly hope that you will encourage your colleagues to support Bill C-6, because it is a call to action and it represents a significant step forward in reconciliation.
I would just say that the process of coming up with that amendment required consultation with—
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
Just to complete the answer, it required consultation with national indigenous leaders right across the country, and we did that. We arrived at a good proposal, and I look forward to studying the bill here, in conjunction with this committee.
Harpreet Kochhar
View Harpreet Kochhar Profile
Harpreet Kochhar
2020-02-27 9:10
I'll pick up where Fraser left off.
Once again, we are here with you to give you an overview of the programs, but also of service delivery.
My job as an ADM of operations is to oversee many operational components, so I'll go a little bit deep into the operational realities of the department.
I'll start with the fact that as immigration happens, we want to protect and safeguard the health, safety and security of Canadians; that is of utmost importance to us. Immigration screening is thus a critical tool used to manage the entry to Canada.
Screening happens to ensure that the travellers are genuine, to protect the health, safety and security of Canadians as the immigrants enter, as well as to maintain public confidence among Canadians in immigration. That's of prime importance for both temporary and permanent residents.
They undergo a different kind of screening when they come to Canada. It depends upon the level of screening required or the level of risk posed by a visitor, which is currently also determined by their nationality. Also, screening for security, criminality and crimes against humanity is performed, in partnership with Canada Border Services Agency. We'll talk about that a little later.
On this slide we describe some very important things. For example, we describe who we're talking about and what we're talking about, which is temporary residents, the temporary resident visa and the electronic travel authorization. Then we describe the places we're talking about: overseas, at the border, and in Canada.
Most of what is happening is aimed at providing or getting from the clients information that is important for us to screen; for example, biographic information—fingerprints, facial recognition and that kind of stuff, information that is held by trusted partners such as the RCMP, M5 partners and so on. There is also information already existing in our system—for example, if somebody has applied earlier. There are also certain additional screening aspects that are needed.
Next is an important piece, in that very few are aware that we are in the business of screening and monitoring the health of immigrants in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The immigration medical exam applies to all foreign nationals who plan to be in Canada for more than six months. If you're coming here for more than six months, the immigration medical exam will be done, or if you're coming here permanently, an immigration medical exam will be needed from you. This exam screens for any danger to public health, such as active tuberculosis and other diseases, and danger to public safety; for example, severe mental health issues and excessive demand....
This health screening helps us to protect Canada against the arrival of infectious diseases. Also, the department itself is very much involved in another program that is an off-shoot of the migration health program, which is the interim federal health program. The interim federal health program provides temporary funding or health care coverage to those in need—refugees, asylum seekers and other vulnerable populations—until they become further eligible for provincial or territorial health coverage. That is an important part in which the department plays a big role.
In terms of Canadians, what my colleague Marian referred to is that when we bring in permanent residents, the ultimate impact is that they are going to become citizens at one point and then holders of a Canadian passport.
Citizenship is an important aspect. IRCC is not simply about bringing people from abroad; it is also to help them attain Canadian citizenship as well as Canadian values. Citizenship is granted to those who are born in Canada, those whose parents were born here, or those naturalized, which is the group I described. There is a process in which we go through different stages: residency requirements, a language test, another test of citizenship values, and that's when we get to the citizenship point.
We're proud that Canada is a country in which, according to the 2016 Census 86% of eligible adult permanent residents have transferred their status to citizenship. This is among the highest naturalization rates of all countries.
Canadian citizenship means a lot to new Canadians. If you have ever been to a citizenship ceremony, you will have seen a range of emotions when new immigrants become Canadians.
There is also another aspect where eligibility is concerned that the IRCC is responsible for. Canadian citizens in some circumstances may lose or renounce their citizenship. That part is also something that rests with the IRCC. Citizenship may be revoked from naturalized Canadians if obtained as a result of fraud or misrepresentation and in some other circumstances. That's a part that also rests with the IRCC.
Our next slide is on passports. The next natural step from citizenship is getting a passport. A passport, actually, is a foundational identity document. This document is required for Canadians to travel internationally. Again we are proud that 66% of Canadians at this time hold a valid passport. This means almost 24 million passports in circulation.
The IRCC is responsible for granting different types of passports or travel documents to Canadians. One thing that is very much in our purview is that passport service delivery is done in collaboration with two other partners. One is ESDC or Service Canada, which does the domestic delivery. Global Affairs does it in terms of our services abroad through the consular services.
The IRCC itself also handles special passports—for example, diplomatic passports, travel documents for non-Canadians, and so on. That itself is very much a security matter that maintains Canadian passport security and integrity. The value of the Canadian passport is that it allows unrestricted entry to the more than 120 countries who respect it.
Among our key partners I mentioned a few earlier—the RCMP, GAC, and ESDC. We do a lot of our work in partnership. We're dependent on our partners. That is our biggest friend and biggest value, too.
The Canada Border Services Agency is the main co-delivery partner for IRPA, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which manages the flow of travel of Canadians at the port of entry. We are not at the port of entry; the CBSA is. They provide intelligence on security matters and also manage irregular migration at borders.
Similarly, as I mentioned, ESDC, which provides services through Service Canada for passports, is also responsible for the labour market impact assessment, which is necessary for temporary foreign workers.
As for Global Affairs, as I mentioned earlier we have our missions abroad, from which we operate as well as deliver passports.
I also mentioned the Public Health Agency of Canada, which is responsible for giving us direction for medical screening.
I would be remiss if I did not mention, on slide 18, the key partners, which are the provinces and territories, who play a very important part. The FPT landscape in immigration has been very solid. Every year there is a set-up for the way we can have a shared federal, provincial and territorial playing field in immigration.
Provinces and territories leverage immigration to meet their economic needs and provide social services to newcomers in their jurisdictions. The only exception, which we mention on the slide, is Quebec. Quebec and Canada have a distinct relationship: they have the Canada–Quebec Accord, which allows Quebec to publish its own immigration level annually and decide how the selection of immigrants will happen.
I will move on to slide 19 on international relationships. Again, our international relationships are very important to our success. The U.S., Mexico and M5 are the partners with whom we've worked very closely.
The two partners that we have listed here under “international organizations”—the IOM, the International Organization for Migration, and UNHCR—operate in the field of refugee claims determination. Without their collaboration, we would be unable to provide the services we do in partnership with them. It's a very valued partnership between us and UNHCR and IOM.
The next area is the delivery of our services. One thing I want to put some focus on is that the department, as structurally described here, also has the portfolio organization of the Immigration and Refugee Board. That is, as you know, an independent administrative tribunal that is accountable to Parliament and reports to the IRCC minister as a separate entity. I also want to draw your attention to the college of immigration and citizenship consultants, created just to provide oversight. The college doesn't actually exist, per se, but implementation is anticipated later on in this year. This is just to make sure you see the whole landscape under the IRCC minister.
I might be a little repetitive on the delivery of our services, but I want to give you an idea of the reach of IRCC. Our domestic and settlement offices handle complex decision-making as well as routine citizenship, humanitarian and compassionate cases. There are around 23 client-facing offices across all provinces. There are case processing centres in Sydney, Ottawa, Mississauga and Edmonton for specifically centralized intakes of applications and processing. For example, in Mississauga it's for parents and grandparents, spouses and partners. Similarly, the central intake office in Sydney is for federal skilled workers.
We do have a call centre—as we call it, our “client support centre”—in Montreal. It provides client-centric services. Our operations support centre is another place where we provide a 24-7 service on biometrics and resettlement operations that help us with assessing the resettlement situations. On passports, again, I won't put more emphasis than I already have. Passports are delivered through our partner Service Canada, and that's all over Canada.
On page 22 you will see a pictorial diagram. The black circles represent where IRCC domestic and settlement offices are. The green circles show the number of passport service locations. They show you how wide the network is. In terms of the delivery of our services through the operational network abroad, an important part of our intake abroad is done through the 161 visa application centres, commonly referred to as “VACs”, in 108 countries. They are our way to intake all the applications. These visa application centres are where temporary resident applications and student and work permits are received. We process them, whether they are done in Canada or abroad. We have a footprint, although in fewer places—60 places—but almost 212 missions abroad provide services in terms of passports.
The last slide gives you an idea of our international footprint. There is a lot of work done, and our reach is beyond Canada. We cover almost all the area globally.
Thank you, Madam Chair, for your time.
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
For people applying for citizenship, the cost of the application is generally not an issue for economic immigrants. However, for immigrants who are refugees, for example, the cost of obtaining citizenship can increase from $100 to $630 for two adults.
Have you considered offering alternatives to low-income people seeking citizenship, such as a refundable tax credit or lower costs?
Marian Campbell Jarvis
View Marian Campbell Jarvis Profile
Marian Campbell Jarvis
2020-02-27 10:10
Thank you for the question.
Currently, the frameworks and structures for these fees are already in place, but this may be a question to ask the minister in the future.
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
I'm continuing on the issue of obtaining citizenship. We note that illiterate mother-tongue francophones, for example, have difficulty obtaining citizenship, particularly since there are new language proficiency requirements that require proof of knowledge of French. This may be a diploma or proof of passing a test.
We find that illiterate people often don't have a diploma. As far as tests are concerned, several problems arise since part of the tests are often written or, again, French tests are prepared in France. The scenarios do not correspond at all to the reality in Quebec or to the reality of Canadian francophones outside Quebec.
Are you aware of this situation? If so, are there any measures to correct these problems?
Marian Campbell Jarvis
View Marian Campbell Jarvis Profile
Marian Campbell Jarvis
2020-02-27 10:12
Briefly, I would like to bring to your attention Bill C-6, where we have added requirements to lower the age requirement for this undertaking.
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