OTTAWA – The Harper Conservatives are systematically turning their backs on new Canadians by cutting back family reunification visas and preventing families from reuniting in Canada, Liberals charged today.
“The government has not been up front with new Canadians,” said Liberal Immigration Critic Justin Trudeau. “They enticed skilled workers to come to Canada with a promise their parents and grandparents will soon be able to follow. They’ve cut funding for the settlement services that provide supports, and now they’re cutting the family support system along with it.”
According to news reports, new figures indicate the government will issue about 11,000 family reunification visas for parents and grandparents overseas, down from more than 15,000 last year. This comes after the Harper government slashed overall settlement and integration funding across Canada by almost 10%.
“Family reunification is an essential part of attracting the best and brightest from around the globe and to building the kind of Canada we want,” said Liberal Multiculturalism Critic Rob Oliphant. “Families are waiting longer than ever to be reunited and these cuts will seriously impact an immigrant family’s ability to succeed in the workplace.”
There are already 140,000 applicants in the queue and, with the slashed rate, a parent could wait up to 13 years to be reunited with their families.
In 2005, former Citizenship and Immigration Minister Joe Volpe announced the Liberal government would be tripling the number of parent and grandparent visas to 18,000, and invested tens of millions of dollars to speed up the processing of these applications.
“The Conservatives campaigned on family values, but once again, they are breaking another promise to Canadians,” said Mr. Volpe.
“The Conservatives tell families to be responsible for their own child care when parents go to work, but the fact is new Canadians entering the workforce often rely on parents and grandparents for child care and help around the home. They are taking away a necessary support system.”
Office of Justin Trudeau, MP, 613-995-8872
Office of Rob Oliphant, MP, 613-992-2855
Office of the Hon. Joe Volpe, MP, 613-992-6361