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WES Weekly Roundup June 5, 2024

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World Education Services (WES) is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to helping international students, immigrants, and refugees achieve their educational and career goals in the United States and Canada. The weekly roundup includes research, stories, and events of interest to the Canadian immigration and settlement community. This content has been created by WES and is reproduced here with their permission, in partnership.

Let’s Clean Up Our Act: A Report on Legislative Reform of The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (CILA)

Since its proclamation in 2001, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) has not been ‘comprehensively reviewed’ and requires reforms to reflect the social and economic priorities currently at play, according to the Canadian Immigration Lawyers Association (CILA). The product of over a year of extensive review, the CILA report seeks to provide recommendations to a) repeal, b) amend, and c) add to the Act; resolving common challenges and inconsistencies and filling potential gaps. The Act is being assessed in line with Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada’s legislative values for equity, financial growth, family support, compassion, flexibility, due process and fairness. To ensure an IRPA that is more responsive to Canada’s unique landscape and needs of immigrants, CILA is proposing that policy makers consider the following elements:

  • Establish an Immigrant Bill of Rights and Ombudsperson for IRCC and the Canada Border Services Agency;
  • Introduce the right to legal counsel;
  • Revise definitions to family, prioritizing reunification;
  • Update rules regarding medical inadmissibility, maintained status, and restored status

Locked out by Canada’s family reunification program: These immigrants can’t even get into the queue to sponsor parents and grandparents (Toronto Star)

Canada’s family reunification program has left many immigrants frustrated as it remains closed to new candidates, continuing to draw from a pool of applicants who expressed interest back in 2020. Despite promises to reopen the program, IRCC has not accepted new applications for four years, creating significant challenges for individuals like Ayon De and Harpreet Singh, who have been unable to sponsor their parents due to stringent eligibility requirements and timing issues. De’s father passed away while waiting for sponsorship, and Singh missed the opportunity to apply because he did not meet the income threshold when he first arrived in Canada. The situation has led to a backlog and mounting anxiety among potential sponsors, exacerbated by the addition of 1.3 million new permanent residents over the last three years. The program’s lottery system and the requirement for private health insurance under the super visa add further complications. This prolonged closure highlights the urgent need for a fair and transparent process, as many families face prolonged separation and uncertainty about their future in Canada.

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Immigration protesters require medical care as dry hunger strike continues in Charlottetown (CBC)

As of May 29, 2024, foreign workers in Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) are on the sixth day of a hunger strike, having stopped drinking liquids for the past two days, protesting recent changes to the provincial immigration policy. These changes significantly reduce the number of hospitality workers eligible for permanent residency, dropping from over 800 nominations last year to just 200 this year. Protesters, who have set up an encampment outside the Coles Building in Charlottetown, argue that they were not given adequate notice to prepare for the new policy. Some participants, like Jaspreet Singh Sivia, have experienced severe health issues requiring medical attention, yet they continue to protest, emphasizing the critical nature of their cause. Charlottetown MP Sean Casey has expressed support for the protesters, criticizing the government’s lack of adequate notice as "manifestly unfair and callous." The demonstrators demand that the province exclude current workers on the Island from the policy changes and vow to continue their strike until their voices are heard.

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