New plan to reunite families

By Gerald V. Paul

By cutting immigration backlogs and wait times, the Government is bringing families together more quickly, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander claimed recently.
“Our government understands the importance of spending time with family and loved ones. Our government is making improvements to the immigration system so that families can be reunited more quickly. Because of our changes, Canada is back on track to welcome more than 50,000 parents and grandparents in 2012-2013, the highest number in nearly a decade,” Alexander said.
Over the first six months of 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) admitted 45,000 permanent residents to Canada in the Family Class (FC). This represents an increase of 40 percent over the first six months of 2012. This increase can be attributed almost entirely to a doubling of admissions in the Parent and Grandparent (PGP) category over that time period.
Alexander said Canada has one of the most generous family reunification programmes in the world, but growing backlogs in the PGP programme meant families could expect to wait eight years or more to bring their loved ones from overseas. A pause on new applications, combined with high admission levels, has help reduced the backlog.
The PGP programme re-opened with tighter admission criteria and cap on applications on January 2, 2014, which will continue to reduce the backlog and improve the wait times for families (see Immigration Matters, Page 7).
In 2011, under Phase 1 of the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification, the government cut backlogs and wait times for sponsored parents and grandparents. Had no action being taken, Alexander said, it was predicted that the backlog could increase to 250,000 persons with wait times of 15 years by 2015.
The parent and Grandparent Super Visa remains a fast and convenient option for parents and grandparents who want to spent longer periods of time with their families in Canada.
However, critics claim the Federal government re-started the programme due to pressure from voters.