CIMM - Parliamentary Context - Mar 8, 2021


On February 16, 2021, the 2020–2021 Supplementary Estimates (C) were tabled electronically in the House of Commons, and the 2021–2022 Main Estimates were tabled on February 25, 2021. Funding included in these Estimates are mainly comprised of the following items for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC):

Environmental Analysis

With the impact of the pandemic trending in Parliament across all parties, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) applies this lens to their questioning. Recent parliamentary interventions and media attention has largely been focused on the following:

  • Downstream impacts of travel and border restrictions on immigration and asylum
  • Status of operations and closures, processing times, ability to achieve immigration levels
  • Economic recovery, immigration and pilots, including pathways to permanent residency
  • Family reunification, parent and grandparents lottery system, spousal sponsorship
  • Health, safety and human rights for temporary foreign workers
  • Measures for Hong Kongers fleeing political persecution and safety of Canadians abroad

Throughout the year, the impact of the pandemic on immigration has trended in Parliament across all parties, with a recent focus on the downstream impacts of travel restrictions, border closures and quarantine requirements on immigration programs. Recent discussions have zeroed in on the role of immigration in Canada’s economic recovery, including the ability to achieve levels both through streamlining of processes and of digitization/modernization efforts. The Bloc Québécois (BQ) has been vocal about exempting those with Confirmation of Permanent Residence from travel restrictions, stating the inhumane situation of inviting immigrants to come to Canada but not allowing them to land. Recent media attention has questioned the capacity of the government to keep up with applications volumes, given various closures and high processing times.

Another topic of discussion has been temporary foreign workers. The recent focus in the media has been the burden of pre-arrival testing and quarantine requirements and the difficulty of landing workers to help labour needs in various sectors and regions. Negative conditions faced by workers, notably in the agricultural sector, and the need to better protect worker rights has gained a lot of traction in the past year, with top cases such as the death of Syrian front-line worker Yasin Dabbe. Opposition parties have stressed the importance of providing pathways to permanent residence for all skill levels and for workers in the front lines and there have also been talks of vaccine roll-out to workers.

All opposition parties are concerned with family reunification, with notable criticisms on processing times, the lottery system for Parents and Grandparents and spousal sponsorship. Opposition members are frequently interested in admissions data and processing times and the New Democratic Party (NDP) has called on the Minister to broaden the current narrow definition of family. The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) has been a strong advocate for reuniting families separated by the Canada-US border and of improving the spousal sponsorship program.

With the current active situation in Hong Kong, the primary concern has been the safety of Canadians abroad, especially in light of non-recognition of dual citizenship. CPC and BQ have been vocal about the need for Canada to stand up to international ‘bullies’ and all opposition has called for the cancellation of the VFS Global contract due to security concerns. The government’s current Hong Kong measures have been called as restrictive, namely leaving out pro-democracy activists. Opposition has equally voiced inadmissibility concerns on the basis of the National Security Law or similar protesting charges.

Recent Developments

Parliamentary Business


Temporary Foreign Workers

Family Reunification

Hong Kong

Other Immigration

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