We live in an interconnected world, and events transpiring worldwide ultimately affects Canadians, whether we are speaking about economic trade, global prices of goods and commodities, knowledge and skills exchange, effects of climate change, disease transmission and control, natural disaster management, and others. Fulfilling our international obligations protects and serves the interests of Canadians. 

People fleeing war, persecution or natural disasters face tremendous barriers to obtaining necessary travel documents. For this reason, I have been advocating for visa-free travel for urgent, life-and-death situations such as the war in Ukraine. I have also been advocating for the government to rescind the safe third country agreement because often, refugees cannot get to safety without first going to a third country. It is paramount that Canada has an adequately resourced immigration system that can act with flexibility and expediency in times of crisis without compromising national security standards.

As your Member of Parliament, I will fight to ensure Canada fulfills its humanitarian and environmental obligations as a member of the international community.

Open Letter: Gaza Family Reunification Measures

Open Letter: Gaza Family Reunification Measures

Over the past two months, I have become aware of more than two-hundred Palestinian Canadians with either citizenship or permanent resident status across the country that have applied to sponsor their family members in Gaza to come to Canada through the family reunification program. These families have begun the application process to bring nearly 2,500 loved ones from Gaza in total. Of these family members stuck in Gaza, 78 per cent are still waiting to receive the code from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that is required to proceed to the next phase and complete their application.

Your department has stated that 986 people have received a code and used it to submit a temporary resident visa (TRV) application which has been accepted into processing. It is apparent that the code issuing system works in lockstep with the 1,000-person cap to severely restrict the inflow of applications. It should be abundantly clear that you must lift the cap.

It has been almost seventy days since the program opened for applications on January 9. These families are desperate to know when, or if, loved ones will be allowed to come to Canada. For many, the news is consuming their life as they anxiously await to hear from IRCC officials regarding their application. Yet they are met with radio silence from IRCC. The process is frankly excruciating to for family members. The federal NDP caucus has already condemned this non-communicative approach, called on you to lift the arbitrary cap, and change the discriminatory lens through which this policy approaches Palestinians.



CIMM#91: Government's Response to the Final Report of the Special Committee on Afghanistan and Committee Business

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I thank the committee members for supporting the last motion.

I have another motion that I'd like to move at this point. Notice has been given for it. It reads as follows:

That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee invite the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities and relevant officials together for two hours, or invite the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship with relevant officials for two hours, and the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities to appear separately with relevant officials for one hour to update the committee on:

(a) the work of the task force addressing the exploitation scheme targeting international students as many students are still reporting that they are in limbo and have not heard back from officials about their status;

(b) the measures taken by IRCC and institutions to help prevent and protect international students from fraud schemes;

(c) the justification to increase the financial requirements for international students by more than 100% to $20,635;

(d) the justification for putting a cap on international study permits; and

(e) the plans to address the housing crisis for international students and efforts made to collaborate with provinces, territories and post-secondary institutions.

I think the motion is self-explanatory on all elements, and I think we would benefit from having the two ministers appear before our committee. We've also deliberated this issue at length at another meeting, so in the interest of time, I won't revisit all of those points.

I hope committee members will support this motion.


OPEN LETTER: Concerns with the Application Process for the Special Immigration Measure for Gaza

OPEN LETTER: Concerns with the Application Process for the Special Immigration Measure for Gaza

The special immigration measure that our caucus called for on December 4, 2023, opened on January 9. It is riddled with problems. At the outset, nobody knew when the online portal would open. The arbitrary quota for applications only heightened anxiety as people felt that they had to compete with others for limited spots.

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has not been proactive or clear in communicating with applicants and has been largely incapable of answering any questions about their files. Many people who completed the first stage of the application are still waiting to receive a code that will allow them to proceed and IRCC cannot explain why some people who applied on January 9 received a code quickly and others still have not. Others have been rejected without any explanation from IRCC or for reasons that were later contradicted. People have been rejected and then subsequently approved with the exact same application.

To highlight the absurdity of the situation, one family was told only two weeks after their application was rejected that the reason was due to a missing ‘notary seal or stamp’ even though no stamp is required by law in British Columbia. Notwithstanding, the application was in fact stamped. The applicant did resubmit with the stamp on a gold seal so that it’s more visible to the scan, but IRCC then approved the original application anyway.


 OPEN LETTER: Calling for Change in Policy Directive of 1000 Application Cap to the Special Family Reunification Program for Gaza

OPEN LETTER: Calling for Change in Policy Directive of 1000 Application Cap to the Special Family Reunification Program for Gaza

Many civil society groups and stakeholders have been vocal in their condemnation of an arbitrary application cap for over a week. Many feel the cap was unfair and discriminatory when they look to other temporary special immigration measures, such as the CUAET measure for Ukraine, that have not arbitrarily limited applications.

The confusion caused by the public policy and the unfortunate delay in clarification created tense conditions for the Palestinian-Canadian community. To many families, these applications mean the difference between the life and death. Not knowing when the online portal would open but understanding that spots are limited caused many people to stay awake through the night, continually refreshing the application portal to not miss the chance for a spot. I know you agree that Palestinian- Canadians have endured enough and do not need their anxieties needlessly exacerbated.


Hill Times: Palestinian Canadians race against time and each other as Gazan visa cap threatens hopes of family reunification

Hill Times: Palestinian Canadians race against time and each other as Gazan visa cap threatens hopes of family reunification

NDP MP Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East, B.C.), her party’s immigration critic, and MP Matthew Green (Hamilton Centre, Ont.) also wrote a letter to Miller, calling the imposed cap “shocking” and “indefensible.”

“In this catastrophic environment, families in Canada with loved ones trapped in Gaza should not be pitted against each other out of fear that their application will not be considered when the arbitrary 1,000 applications quota is filled,” reads the Jan. 5 letter calling on the government to immediately retract the cap on applications. 
In a Jan. 8 interview with The Hill Times, Kwan said she was initially relieved to hear the announcement of the program, rewatching Miller’s press conference twice and signing up for the briefing the next day in order to provide as much accurate information as she could during a Zoom meeting later that evening with Palestinian Canadians across Canada who had hoped to access the program. Kwan said that when she joined the call, she was met with more than 1,000 participants, each with family members of their own in Gaza who they hope to bring to Canada.
“It was such an important announcement that gave people hope that they could bring their loved ones to safety,” Kwan said. “When [Miller] announced the cap, disappointment doesn’t even begin to describe it … they gave them hope, and now they’re going to shut the door quickly and say ‘good luck to the rest of you.’”

Kwan said she has no doubt that the cap would severely limit the number of people who would have otherwise accessed the program, noting that even without the cap, there were already significant hurdles to getting people to safety outside Gaza.

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