By Gerald V. Paul
Some members of the community worry the federal government is trying to use Canada’s refugee resettlement programme for political expediency, instead of helping people in need.
Historically, private sponsors select their own refugees, often based on family times here and shared religions and ethnicities. But they say their decision-making power has been gradually chipped away by the various changes made by the government in the last two years.
According to those seeing this as a challenge, Ottawa began limiting how many applications Canadian sponsors such as church groups and community organizations can submit. The annual cap was 1, 350 in 2012 and 2,000 in 2013.
“We are concerned about the whole change in the direction of the resettlement programmes. Instead of having a global resettlement programme that we have been so proud of, we are moving toward targeting specific populations, putting all the numbers in certain refugee populations,” said Rose Dekker, World Renew’s refugee co-ordinator.
Dekker noted instead of having a global resettlement programme that Canada has been so proud of, “we are moving toward targeting specific populations putting all the numbers in certain refugee populations.”
It was revealed that more decision-making power now lies with the government. All the changes to the resettlement programmes allow the government to exclude those they done want to let into the country.
But immigration officials said capping the number of refugee sponsorship application applications is a must to control the ballooning backlog, which has grown to an estimated 25,000 applications through the years. It’s a matter of maximizing the resources and expediting the processing of cases.