June 27, 2013
For Immediate Release
COMMUNITY GROUPS LAUNCH CAMPAIGN TO RESTORE FAMILY VALUES TO CANADA'S IMMIGRATION POLICY
On July 1, 2013, a coalition of community based organizations as well as immigrant and refugee rights advocates will launch a campaign to restore family values to Canada's immigration policy, in response to the changes recently proposed by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to keep families apart by further restricting family class sponsorship.
The campaign, “My Canada Includes All Families” seeks to halt the passing of new immigration regulations that will limit the sponsorship of dependent children to those under the age of 19, increase the income requirement of sponsorship to 30% above the Low Income Cut Off (LICO), and double the sponsorship period to 20 years. The Government will also impose a cap of 5,000 parent and grandparent sponsorship applications to be processed in 2014.
The net result of all of these changes is family separation, which is no different than the historical Chinese and Head Tax and Exclusion Act for which Prime Minister Harper has apologized and has promised to never repeat again.
“We are launching this campaign on Canada Day, because we believe Canadians recognize the importance of families for the well being of every individual and every community in Canada,” said Debbie Douglas, Executive Director of OCASI - Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants. “These proposed amendments are both unnecessary and inconsistent with one of the core principles of Canada's immigration policy, namely, the reunification of families in Canada,” said Douglas.
“By justifying these changes on the basis of economic necessity, our Government is mischaracterizing family class immigrants as a drain on our economy while ignoring the invaluable contributions made by these immigrants to this country.”, added Harald Bauder, Academic Director, Ryerson Centre for Immigration & Settlement.
“If passed, the amendments will have a disproportionate and discriminatory impact on racialized communities as they are more likely to be affected by the changes due to socio-economic disadvantage and their extended family structure,” said Avvy Go, Clinic Director, Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic (MTCSALC).
“These changes will be particularly detrimental to refugees, since many of them flee their home country while their older siblings stay behind to play the role of surrogate parents to their younger siblings. Leaving the older siblings behind when the family is finally reunited in Canada would represent yet another brutal separation for a family that has already been kept apart for many years,” said Shalini Konanur, Executive Director of the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO).
As the new regulations are scheduled to take effect in January, 2014, coalition members will start mobilizing communities in order to initiate a national dialogue among Canadians as to who we are as a nation, and where we stand on family values, instead of letting our Government decide for us who should or should not be part of our families.
The coalition will be urging all fair-minded Canadians who support family reunification to participate in the consultation by Citizenship and Immigration Canada for the 2014 immigration levels and mix: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/consultations/index.asp
In addition, over the next several months, coalition members will be:
· Collecting stories of Canadians who have come to Canada as immigrants and refugees to talk about the importance of families in their lives in Canada;
· Conducting research on the contributions of parents, grandparents and other extended family members as well as the impact of the proposed changes on Canadian society; and
· Lobbying local MPs
For more information about the campaign, please contact:
Shalini Konanur, SALCO at (416) 487-6371, ext 40 or firstname.lastname@example.org