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Results: 1 - 15 of 38
View Paulina Ayala Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you for being with us today, minister.
Our colleague just asked you a lot of questions about visas. We see in the budget that the proposed changes generally focus on security. I would like to know how the confidentiality of the information that Canada receives from all these people filing visa applications from various countries will be protected and guaranteed in view of the fact that, in the present circumstances, Canada visa application centres, private organizations, are the first to gather the information. This is not currently Immigration Canada's responsibility.
I am going to tell you what troubles me. Canada currently entrusts information centres with very important information from citizens around the world. When those people apply for visas, they trust that Canada will keep their personal information confidential. For a visa application, you have to provide your bank account number, credit card number and family history.
Since private companies control this, what does the government think it will do to prevent potential abuses, particularly thefts of information?
View Paulina Ayala Profile
NDP (QC)
The departmental officials who appeared on Tuesday told us that the expression of interest and the visa application first went through the Canada visa application centres, which are private organizations that work in each country together with the Government of Canada. The Department of Immigration takes over the files once those organizations have verified that the information contained in the documents is truthful.
So this means that the information is forwarded first to private organizations in every country, not here in Canada. When I was in Venezuela last year, the ambassador confirmed that his applications did not in fact go through his institution first, but rather through a private organization. That is a problem.
Abuses have already occurred in England, where the same system is in use. So this is troubling. We are investing in security, but we could be exposed in the long run to civil lawsuits from other countries for failing to protect their personal information. This troubles me.
View Paulina Ayala Profile
NDP (QC)
Yes, but we are talking about a private sector that is not Canadian. These are people from elsewhere. That is what is troubling. There have already been abuses in other countries.
View Paulina Ayala Profile
NDP (QC)
Yes, but a disgruntled worker who has just been dismissed may steal information. There is a danger in that respect.
View Paulina Ayala Profile
NDP (QC)
I know this helps cut costs, but there is a danger in that respect. However, I would like to move on to another question.
There is a $3-million vote in the supplementary estimates.
View Paulina Ayala Profile
NDP (QC)
I would like to talk about refugees.
We have tightened up the criteria so that access to the country is reserved for real refugees, but does that not increase the number of illegals? Furthermore, now we are required to invest more in border control. Illegals who are in danger put their lives at risk in order to enter Canada simply to protect themselves.
Is there not a connection between those phenomena?
View Paulina Ayala Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I have questions about two topics that I care enormously about: refugees and workers selected to immigrate to Canada.
With respect to refugees, I just want to give Syrians as an example. The government reported that Canada was going to host 1,300 Syrian refugees, but that Ottawa would only commit to taking care of 200 of them. The others would have to be taken care of by a group of individuals or corporations that would be responsible for their integration. Those sponsors are from the private sector. But it doesn't say how long those sponsors have to meet the refugees' needs. It seems to me that it used to be for two years.
Now, on page 5 of the document, the paragraph titled “Resettlement from Outside Canada” indicates that “Private sponsors are groups or corporations that have signed an agreement with Canada's Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. In this agreement, they promise…” and so on. But how long are they committed? There's no answer; it isn't clear.
The second part of my question has to do with integrating and hosting immigrants. When people apply on their own, it's because they are already independent. However, people who come to Canada as refugees have experienced fairly violent situations in their country of origin. So they are in a state of shock and everything that entails.
Budget 2013 cuts funding to community agencies that host refugees. Hosting these refugees involves the government, the province, but there are the community agencies as well. Has the department provided anything in the budget to help these agencies that host immigrants? Often these agencies are the ones that go and find French or English courses for newcomers and help them find a school for their children. They also seek psychological help for those who need it.
The problem is that these organizations are no longer receiving assistance. What measures is the Department of Citizenship and Immigration going to take in that respect? Then I'll come back to my question about workers.
View Paulina Ayala Profile
NDP (QC)
Okay, but what proportion of that money is for community agencies, which are the first ones to host these refugees? If these amounts end up in large institutions and…
View Paulina Ayala Profile
NDP (QC)
That isn't what we're seeing in our ridings. These agencies are scraping by and have no money. Their budgets were cut, and they don't even have enough money to pay their employees the minimum wage of $10 an hour. I would like some more information about that.
How long do private sector businesses acting as sponsors have to commit to refugees? There is a category of private sponsors for hosting refugees. It isn't specified in the document.
Madam Chair, how much time do I have left?
View Paulina Ayala Profile
NDP (QC)
Fine.
I'm wondering about the new category of workers who are immigrating to Canada. In the Australian model, the employer sponsors these newcomers and the employees. Does Canada also have this kind of employer sponsorship? How long are newcomers required to work for employers who selected them?
View Paulina Ayala Profile
NDP (QC)
The bill indicates that the minister may communicate personal information, that he may give direction, that he may rescind them, and so on. In this bill, changes are made in the process and regulations through departmental directions. Personally, I find that very concerning because we are giving someone else the power that we have, as legislators, to make legislation. We are in the process here of legislating from regulations, and that's a concern. Do you have anything to say about that?
View Paulina Ayala Profile
NDP (QC)
I would like to thank the witnesses for being here with us today.
We are talking here about a more responsive and efficient system that truly meets the economic needs of the country. Employers will be able to indicate which candidates will best meet their needs.
At what point do you feel you should be included in the system? You will make an expression of interest, but will you play a role in the selection of the best immigrants? In other words, will you have an influence on whether or not immigrants are accepted as permanent residents? Is my question clear?
View Paulina Ayala Profile
NDP (QC)
Yes, but how will the employers and their future employees get in touch with one another? Will this only be done through paper documents, or will you interview these people? This could be done using Skype, which is a different way of proceeding.
View Paulina Ayala Profile
NDP (QC)
I am concerned about something. In Australia, there appears to be a kind of sponsorship happening. As soon as an employer offers a job, they also take responsibility for the new employee. I don't know how things will unfold here in Canada. You said that someone may be recruited to work in the Far North. However, if they have children, there is no school for them there. Who will meet the needs of that individual so that their settlement goes smoothly? The arrangement should not only be advantageous for the employer. The newcomers have to be able to settle with their families and adapt to their new situation.
My other concern is about working conditions. Everyone is familiar with working conditions in Canada. It's a public matter. However, do the working conditions suffer when the relationship is between the employer and an individual who is elsewhere? What happens if the individual gets here and realizes that their colleagues are earning more than they are? What happens? I am also concerned about that.
I worry that people will be hired at a lower salary because they are coming from outside the country. But once they get here, they may realize that others have better working conditions. Can you assure us that those individuals will have the same working conditions as individuals from here, in Canada?
View Paulina Ayala Profile
NDP (QC)
My question is to you both. Have you undertaken any evaluation of the economic improvements that this new system will provide? In other words, will this new system improve the economy? Have you undertaken any forecasts?
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