As Canada’s Conservative Party gets set to begin its mandate to govern, practitioners are hopeful that the new Minister of Citizenship and Immigration will act swiftly to implement an important policy initiative that has yet to be implemented from the former government.
Last April 2005, the newly appointed Minister of Citizenship and Immigration at that time, announced that the Department would allocate increased resources to accelerate pending Family Class sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents coming to Canada as family class immigrants at Canada’s missions abroad.
Many of these applications had been languishing at visa offices for several years causing hardship on the families involved. The plan was that CIC would temporarily add duty officers and support staff at overseas missions with the goal that the numbers of such applicants admitted to Canada each year would triple to 18,000 for the previous 6000 per year.
Practitioners viewed this announcement with trepedation and even synicism. Many of us opined that these announcements were most likely designed to camaflauge the damage unearthed by testimonial evidence at the Gomery Commission looking into the Liberal Government’s scandulous sponsorship scandal and as well, to bring a bold sense of renewed hope for the Ministry of Citizenship. This department itself had been tainted by scandal only months prior when the previous Minister of Citizenship and Immigration was forced to resign in the face of allegations of imropriety. Those allegations have since been proven false.
But as we approach the one year anniversary mark since these bold initiatives were announced, practitioners have not yet observed any significant move by the department to process the growing backlog of Family Class applications involving parents and grandparents of Canadian sponsors. No secondment of visa officers abroad. No increased expenditures. No fulfillment of promises. Despite the previous government’s promises, thousands of pending Family Class cases some dating back to 2001 / 2002 continue to languish with no meaningful movement and no hope that love ones will soon be reunited in Canada.
How could a Ministerial announcement take so long to become effective, unless of course it was never intended to have any substance? Perhaps one of the first items for the the new Minister of Citizenship and Immigration in this government is to re-introduce serious discussion and give effect to this previous initiative. Canadian sponsors deserve nothing less.