Liberals need to fix family reunification immediately


January 13, 2016 


VANCOUVER – The Liberal government needs to act swiftly to fix the broken family reunification plan, the NDP said today after it was revealed that this year’s parent and grandparent quotas were exceeded in three days. In the past three years, the extremely low quota for applications have resulted in families being forced to buy their way into the program with expensive fees for couriers willing to camp out in line. 

“Under previous Liberal and Conservative governments, the promise of family reunification has become a bait-and-switch, with huge backlogs and wait times of up to ten years – if they can get an application in at all,” said Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East), NDP critic for Immigration. “This is not right and it’s not how things should work in Canada.” 

Applications, which are capped at 5000, are considered on a first-come, first-served basis, prompting couriers to charge excessive fees in exchange for the promise of a spot at the front of the line. During the campaign, the Liberals promised to double the cap immediately but that's something they have yet to implement. 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada began to accept applications on January 4, 2016. Four days later, they had already received 14,000 applications. There is no question that there is overwhelming demand for the reunification of parents and grandparents. 

"Parents and grandparents are the cornerstone of our families. They are a key part of our support network, community and economy. An arbitrary cap does not help solve the problem,” added Kwan. “The Liberals need to provide a solution to address this and to ensure all families are reunited in a fair and timely fashion – not just those who can afford to pay expensive fees.” 

The NDP is calling on the government to review family reunification program and to engage in meaningful consultations with Canadians on how to reform the immigration system to better recognize the value that parents and grandparents bring to families and to our country. 

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