Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits
Response to parliamentary committees
Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) – 23rd Report – New Tools for the 21st Century – The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact for Refugees: An Interim Report
The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) initiated a study on migration challenges and opportunities for Canada in the 21st century with part of the study specifically focused on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (the Global Compact on Migration [GCM] and the Global Compact on Refugees [GCR]). From November 6 to 29, 2018, the Committee heard witness testimonies on Canada’s involvement in developing the GCM and GCR as international instruments and the impacts of its adoption on Canada’s sovereignty and immigration, among other considerations.
The Committee tabled an interim report on December 6, 2018 in the House of Commons. The report contained two recommendations.
The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship tabled the Government Response to the report in the House of Commons on April 5, 2019.
1 - Vote in favour of the Global Compacts
That the Government of Canada vote in favour of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) confirmed that this recommendation was implemented.
Global Compact for Migration: Canada joined consensus at the Intergovernmental Conference on the Adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in Marrakech on December 10, 2018.Canada voted to adopt the GCM at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on December 19, 2018.
Global Compact on Refugees: Canada, voted to adopt the GCR as part of the annual United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Omnibus Resolution at UNGA on December 17, 2018.
2 - Leveraging the fora provided by the Compacts
That the Government of Canada leverage the fora provided by the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees to participate in shaping the future global best practices to address migration by:
a) sharing Canada's best practices and participating in the development of responses to the challenges facing internally displaced persons (IDPs), including victims of genocide like the Yazidi and other victims of Daesh.
IRCC, as part of the Government of Canada, supports this recommendation.
The primary responsibility to provide protection and assistance to populations displaced within their territories lies with their respective States. This obligation is embedded in international human rights and humanitarian law. There are existing tools to address the protection and solutions needs of IDPs in certain rare and extraordinary circumstances. Under Section 25.2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship can, and has extended protection to particularly vulnerable groups or individuals via a public policy. For example, in response to a unanimous motion in the House of Commons on October 25, 2016 to provide assistance to Yazidi women and girls escaping genocide, the Government of Canada made a commitment to resettle approximately 1,200 survivors of Daesh (located inside and outside of Iraq), including Yazidi women and girls, by the end of 2017. As of November 2018, Canada had welcomed more than 1,400 survivors of Daesh, including vulnerable Yazidi women and children.
Canada demonstrates support for IDP assistance by providing institutional support to UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). These international organizations help coordinate responses to internal displacement, advocate for durable solutions, and assist with relocation, return, resettlement and integration of those who have been forcibly displaced. Canada will continue to engage with the UN Agencies working most closely on IDP policy (UNHCR, IOM, and the OCHA) to bring more attention to this issue.
b) sharing Canada's best practices and participating in the development of programs to support migrating women and girls globally.
IRCC, as part of the Government of Canada, supports this recommendation.
The Migration Compact includes a principle that aims to mainstream a gender perspective. Canada advocated for an increased recognition of the gendered dimensions of international migration and mobility and ensured that the Compact contained measures to protect the specific human rights of migrant women and girls.
The Global Compact on Refugees includes specific measures to advance gender equality and address the particular needs and risks faced by refugee women and girls. Canada welcomes these explicit provisions and will work to ensure that they shape comprehensive refugee responses.
c) offering to host future international conferences in support of the objectives of the Compacts.
IRCC, as part of the Government of Canada supports this recommendation.
Canada hosted the 10th Lima Group Ministerial Meeting in Ottawa on February 4, 2019. The Lima Group consists of over a dozen countries from Latin America and the Caribbean, and promotes regional response mechanisms to address the current political, economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.
In June 2019, Canada hosted the International Metropolis Conference in Ottawa-Gatineau. The Conference is the largest annual international gathering of world experts from academia, governments and civil society in the fields of migration, integration and diversity. All 8 themes of the Conference align with both Global Compacts, including a focus on IDPs and coordinated actions to implement the Global Compacts.
Canada chaired the Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees (IGC) in December 2019. The IGC includes the participation of 17 States and is primarily focused on exchanging best practices, policy and data on issues related to the global governance of migration.
In support of the objectives of the Migration Compact, Canada also hosted an IOM-led international conference in 2019–20 on the international regulation of labour recruiters to identify regulatory gaps and exchange information.
Canada also hosted the June 2019 Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver, which examined issues affecting the health of women and girls, including situations of forced displacement. Canada will continue to engage in other forums that support the wider objectives of the Compact.
d) dedicating resources to combat myths and misinformation on the Compacts and migration, generally, to reassure Canadians that the Compacts do not threaten Canada's sovereignty and that safe, orderly and regular migration is important to our future prosperity.
IRCC, as part of the Government of Canada, supports this recommendation.
One of Canada’s key objectives for the Migration Compact was to support progressive responses to migration and mobility and contribute to a more constructive narrative on migration. This includes highlighting facts about the Compacts to actively counter anti-immigration rhetoric and address myths that are not rooted in reality. For example, concerns have been expressed about the Compacts threatening the independence of individual States. Yet the fact remains that State sovereignty is explicitly expressed as a guiding principle in the Compacts, which reaffirms the sovereign right of States to determine their own migration policies.
IRCC, as part of the Government of Canada, will continue to work diligently to ensure Canadians are presented with facts and provided a balanced view of migration and will continue to dedicate resources to ensure Canadians understand the benefits of regular migration and international collaboration on this issue.
Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA) – 17th Report: Labour Shortages and Solutions in the GTHA Construction Industry
Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA) agreed to undertake a study on labour shortages in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) construction industry in response to a request from Private Members’ Motion 190 (M-190) sponsored by Peter Fonseca (Member of Parliament for Mississauga East – Cooksville).
In addition to studying labour shortages in the GTHA, the Committee also looked at overall labour shortages in the construction industry, including shortages of skilled workers; the challenges associated with the lack of labour for the construction industry, and associated industries, and their impact on Canadians; how to manage labour shortages using models and initiatives like the Atlantic Immigration Pilot; and how government programs, including funding for training and skilled labour, and retraining for other employees, can support current and future employees, as well as their industries.
The Committee tabled its report on May 17, 2019 in the House of Commons. The report contained 8 recommendations, one of which relates to immigration programs:
- That Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada examine ways to better respond to the labour market needs of the construction industry, including:
- working with the Government of Ontario, along with construction industry and labour stakeholders, to review existing economic immigration programs and make any necessary reforms to ensure the needs of the sector are met;
- working with relevant partners and stakeholders to examine challenges, opportunities and potential solutions with regard to the segment of the construction industry workforce that has precarious or no immigration status; and
- working with Employment and Social Development Canada to review the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and make any necessary reforms, with the goal of better responding to the labour market needs of the construction industry, while ensuring that Canadians and permanent residents get the first opportunity to fill labour shortages and while protecting the health and safety of all workers in Canada.
The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour and the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship co-signed the Government Response to the report that was tabled in the House of Commons on Wednesday July 17, 2019.
The Government Response was organized into three themes:
- Better understanding and promotion of the skilled trades
- Improving access to the skilled trades for all Canadians
- Meeting the needs of the construction industry through immigration
In the third theme, IRCC highlighted the pathways available to skilled workers in the construction industry to become permanent residents. They included the Canadian Experience Class, and Federal Skilled Trades Program under Express Entry, and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Provinces and territories can use the PNP when experiencing persistent labour challenges in the construction industry. The PNP allows provinces and territories to nominate individuals who wish to immigrate to Canada and who are interested in settling in a particular province. While provinces and territories are responsible for proposing any changes to the PNP stream, the Government of Canada is committed to working with them to adapt their program needs.
With respect to solutions for the segment of the construction industry workforce that has precarious or no immigration status, IRCC announced on June 4, 2019 that foreign nationals working in Canada on employer-specific work permits who find themselves in an abusive situation in the context of their employment in Canada may apply for an open work permit. IRCC had also announced that it would move forward with a Temporary Public Policy for Out of Status Construction Workers in the Greater Toronto Area. The public policy is a small, one-time initiative that will allow a limited number of long-time workers and their immediate family members to regularize their status and legally enter the workforce.
Lastly, IRCC is committed to working with various sectors by engaging with industry groups, employers, organized labour, provincial governments and other stakeholders to:
- Better understand sector-specific recruitment challenges (e.g., specialized skills, remote locations)
- Document existing labour market development strategies undertaken by the sector and opportunities to further improve efforts to attract Canadian workers; and
- Inform these stakeholders of any future decision with respect to the cap on the proportion of low-wage positions that business can offer to TFWP at a given time.
Response to audits conducted by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada (including audits conducted by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)
Office of the Auditor General (OAG) 2019 Spring Report: Report 1 – Call Centres
The audit focused on whether Employment and Social Development Canada, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, and Veterans Affairs Canada provided clients with accessible and timely call centre services. This audit did not examine the funding of call centres or whether call centre agents or the automated self-service systems gave callers accurate information. The audit report contains two recommendations for improvement directed toward IRCC. The department agreed with the OAG’s recommendations. One of two recommendations has been fully implemented by reviewing and updating the service standards to ensure that they are meaningful to clients and achievable by IRCC. Actions to address the remaining recommendation are on target to be completed by March 31, 2021.
OAG 2019 Spring Report: Report 2 – Processing of Asylum Claims
The audit focused on whether the Canada Border Services Agency, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada consistently processed asylum claims in an efficient and timely manner. The audit did not examine asylum claims made before December 2012, as well as the quality of decisions made by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. The audit report contains two recommendations for improvement directed toward IRCC. The department agreed with the OAG’s recommendations. Actions to address the recommendations are on target to be completed by September 30, 2021.
Response to audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
There were no audits during 2019–20 requiring a response.
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