Temporary public policy concerning the resettlement of women in Mexico who are survivors of sexual and gender-based violence


Over the past decade, increasing numbers of refugees have fled countries across the Americas in search of protection from violence, abuse, war, political instability, and other threats to their lives. Having fled their countries, many refugees are unable to find safety in neighboring states, as the reach of perpetrators extends across borders and spans entire regions.

The plight of asylum seeking women in Central America has been well documented by human rights groups as well as country reports by various states and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Women refugees who are en route to Mexico, through Central American countries, and along borders are targeted for kidnapping, murder and sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) by traffickers, cartels and local authorities. Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQI+ identifying women are especially targeted and at heightened risk while travelling to and through Mexico.

With limited access to safe shelter, food and a way to survive, women refugees often suffer violence multiple times on their migration journey. In Mexico and transit countries in the region, incidences of rape and sexual assault are pervasive. According to the UNHCR, women in the North of Central America region (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) are at a higher risk of femicide than in any other region of the world.

The Government of Canada recognizes the need for a regional approach to address forced migration in Latin America and the Caribbean, including increasing protection for vulnerable groups, such as women and girls, in the region by providing them with safe and regular migration pathways.

As part of the Government’s efforts to support migrants in the Americas, this public policy will provide a pathway towards protection and support to refugee SGBV survivors who have fled their country of origin and are currently residing in Mexico.

Public Policy Considerations

The Temporary Public Policy Concerning the Resettlement of Women in Mexico who are Survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence recognizes the vulnerability of refugee women in Mexico who have experienced SGBV and their need for a durable solution in Canada.

This new temporary public policy facilitates the resettlement of up to 100 people who identify as women and who are survivors of SGBV, and who have fled their home country and are currently residing in Mexico, along with their family members, as members of the Convention Refugee Abroad class or the Country of Asylum class.

Reed Smith LLP will be responsible for: identifying the principal applicants and their family members; issuing a referral letter signed by Reed Smith LLP stating that the applicants meet the conditions of the public policy; and ensuring that the principal applicants and their family members have access to counseling and targeted psychosocial support in Canada.

The CCVT, acting as a Sponsorship Agreement Holder, will provide the principal applicants and their eligible family members with care, lodging, settlement assistance and financial support for two years, and either reside or have representatives in the expected community of settlement (i.e., in the community where the principal applicants and their eligible family members will live).

The public policy will be in place for a period of three years, during which time applications will be submitted as per the submission plan set out the in the Memorandum of Understanding with Reed Smith LLP and CCVT, which will include the number of applications that may be submitted per year.

I hereby establish that there are sufficient public policy considerations to justify granting the exemptions, pursuant to section 25.2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the Act), from the requirements of the Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the Regulations) listed below when foreign nationals meet the conditions (eligibility requirements) described below.

Conditions (eligibility requirements) applicable to the principal applicant:

Based on public policy considerations, delegated officers may grant an exemption from the requirements of the Act and Regulations identified further below to a foreign national (principal applicant) who meets the following conditions:


a Memorandum of Understanding between Reed Smith LLP, CCVT and the Department of IRCC must be in force.

Provisions of the Regulations for which exemptions will be granted:

Other eligibility and admissibility criteria

Foreign nationals eligible under this public policy and all family members included in the application for protection are subject to all other applicable regulatory and legislative eligibility and admissibility requirements not otherwise exempted by this temporary public policy.

Coming into effect and expiration

This temporary public policy takes effect when the Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and Reed Smith LLP and CCVT has been signed.

This temporary public policy ends three years after the public policy has been signed, or when applications for 100 principal applicants have been received in accordance with the annual submission plan contained in the Memorandum of Understanding; whichever occurs first.

Applications received prior to, or on, this date will be processed under this temporary public policy. However, if the Memorandum of Understanding is terminated, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will stop processing pending applications and return them to the sponsor.

The Honourable Marc Miller, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Dated at Ottawa, this 26 day of February, 2024

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