The Liberal Party has promised to make family reunification easier for new immigrants by doubling the number of parents and grandparents of immigrants admitted under the Canadian parents and grandparents program (PGP) that are granted permanent residency each year to 10,000.
Current rules restrict the number of immigrant parents and grandparents allowed into Canada under the PGP program to 5,000 per year. The Harper government imposed low quotas claiming that older immigrants place a burden on Canada’s health-care system. In May 2013, then citizenship and immigration minister Jason Kenney said older immigrants were becoming increasingly dependent on welfare, and called it “an abuse of Canada’s generosity.”
But Liberal leader Justin Trudeau says that reuniting families was in Canada’s best interests, with older relatives often assisting young parents by helping out with tasks such as child care, allowing them to go to work and save money on child day care costs. He believes that family reunification is an important help and an important driver for middle class working families.
If elected, the Liberals have also promised to double the budget for processing applications under the parents and grandparents (PGP) program, which will significantly reduce the multi-year wait times that most immigration applicants are currently incurring.
The Liberals also promise to grant the spouses of immigrant’s permanent resident status as soon as they arrive in Canada. Currently, spouses receive conditional visas and must wait two years before qualifying for Canadian permanent residence.
The Liberals pledge to raise the maximum age for dependents of immigrants from 19 to 22, reverting back to the previous criteria, making it easier for the older children of immigrants to enter into Canada as accompanying dependants.
Trudeau also said he would repeal some aspects of the highly controversial Bill C-24, known as the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act which critics assert creates a two-tiered citizenship system and violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These claims are currently being challenged in Federal Court.