January 11, 2017
The Honourable Ahmed Hussen
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
House of Commons
Dear Minister Hussen,
On behalf of the Board of Directors of OCASI - Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, it is our pleasure to congratulate you on your appointment as Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
OCASI is the umbrella organization for immigrant and refugee-serving agencies in Ontario. We are a registered charity founded in 1978, and now have 220 member agencies across the province. OCASI member agencies provide settlement and other services for immigrants and refugees.
We offer our assistance as civil society partners in implementing the priorities identified by your government with respect to immigrants and refugees as you begin to implement your vision in this new role. We have worked closely with Prime Minister Trudeau’s administration since November 2015 on the key priority of refugee resettlement, and are encouraged by the implementation of some of the other key commitments, such as ending conditional permanent residency for sponsored spouses, and the four-year limit for Temporary Foreign Workers.
- We look to your leadership on addressing other urgent priorities recognized by your government, including the following:
- Addressing the challenges in the full implementation of Interim Federal Health for refugees;
- Continued support for increasing the private sponsorship of refugees from other regions, particularly Africa, a region that is significantly under-represented in refugee selection numbers despite the tremendous need;
- Implementing the changes promised through Bill C-6, once it is enacted.
- Reducing the wait times for family sponsorship in all categories.
We look forward to engaging with you on other urgent priorities such as providing pathways to permanent residency as a way of addressing the deepening vulnerability of migrant workers in the many low-skilled streams, and finding ways and opportunities to regularize those without immigration status.
We also look forward to engaging with you on long-term priorities for immigrant and refugee settlement and integration and building future sector stability through sustained and stable investment. We respectfully request an opportunity to meet with you to offer the Council’s expertise and experience in helping to meet your stated commitments, and to share some of the main priorities for Ontario’s immigrant and refugee-serving sector.
We welcome your leadership on this portfolio and wish you all success as you embark in your new role.
Debbie Douglas Ibrahim Absiye
Executive Director President