CIMM - Opening Remarks for the Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P. Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) – June 2, 2021

Supplementary Estimates A

June 2, 2021

659 words (5 minutes)

Thank you, Madame Chair and members of the Committee for this opportunity to meet with you today.

I’d like to acknowledge that I’m joining you from the traditional unceded territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit and the Haudenosaunee (TORONTO)/Algonquin Nation (OTTAWA).

Accompanying me today are:

We are pleased to discuss IRCC’s Supplementary Estimates (A).

Madame Chair, IRCC’s Supplementary Estimates A include only a re-profiled amount of $24.5M for interim lodging services.

This amount lapsed last fiscal year and is being accessed through these Supplementary Estimates to secure funding in case of an increase in asylum seekers arriving via land when the borders re-open.

To reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, IRCC has secured hotel rooms in various cities to temporarily house asymptomatic asylum claimants entering Canada who do not have a suitable quarantine plan and do not have the means to isolate.

We also provide transportation and other support services for these individuals.

These actions ensure that asylum claimants are able to adhere to public health measures, including the mandatory requirement that all travelers isolate for 14 days upon their arrival to Canada.

Madame Chair, from the earliest days of COVID-19, refugee claimants have been among those contributing to Canada’s health care response.

Last summer, I announced that Canada would offer some asylum seekers and their immediate families a pathway to apply for permanent residency, if these claimants had been working in direct health care during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

These “guardian angels,” as we called them, had been putting themselves at risk to help others in their community, and it was an honor to recognize their contributions and invite those eligible to become part of the Canadian family.

As of May 1, over 3,800 applications had been received, and we are working to implement this measure.

You are also likely aware that, on May 6, we launched a one-time pathway to Permanent Residence for over 90 thousand temporary residents in Canada.

This initiative focuses on 3 particular groups, including health care and some other essential workers, who have been on the front line of the pandemic, as well as international graduates, who possess the human capital factors that consistently contribute to long-term success in the labour market.

We also created 3 additional streams with no intake caps, specifically for French-speaking and bilingual individuals.

Some of those who could benefit from this initiative have made critical contributions during the pandemic, and are helping our short-term recovery and our long-term future.

And it is worth noting that, more broadly, we've just passed the 100,000 admissions milestone, which speaks to our immigration system’s commitment during the pandemic and its ability to pivot our operations to serve applicants.

Finally, Madame Chair, along with the pandemic, the world continues to face another crisis, one which has resulted in some 80 million migrants on the move around the world.

Despite COVID, Canada has continued to resettle the world’s most urgent cases.

And throughout the past year, settlement providers have demonstrated resilience and ingenuity, working with the Department and retooling their operations to support those who need help resettling.

Indeed, Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, has called Canada, “a bright light in a horrible year for refugee resettlement”.

Madame Chair, we hope the most challenging days of the pandemic are behind us.

I am proud of how quickly we adapted our processes over this past year, and I am excited for what lies ahead.

This is just a small, but important, aspect of the work happening across many business lines at IRCC. Work which provides a safe, responsible and compassionate immigration system that continues to serve this country and the global community.

Thank you Madame Chair. We would now be happy to answer your questions.

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