ARCHIVED – Roundtable Meetings with Stakeholders
Overview and Participants
In March and April, 2012, CIC launched national consultations on the redesign of Canada’s parent and grandparent immigration program.
Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney hosted roundtable meetings with stakeholders. The meetings were held on:
- March 24, 2012 (Surrey, British Columbia); and
- April 18, 2012 (Toronto, Ontario).
The meetings were attended by a total of 23 stakeholders representing a variety of perspectives, including those of settlement provider organizations, ethnocultural organizations and economists.
Prior to the discussion, participants were provided with a background document that outlined the PGP immigration program and policy options being explored through the consultations.
Summary of Discussion
The following are key highlights of the discussions from the roundtable meetings.
Parent and Grandparent Super Visa
- Stakeholders made numerous comments related to the introduction of the PGP Super Visa. This measure received widespread support; many spoke positively of the shorter wait times, noting that the Super Visa allows parents and grandparents flexibility to visit and addresses a real need.
- In terms of health insurance, some felt it was appropriate, others commented that the costs can be prohibitive. Improvements suggested include building considerations into the existing health care system and partnering with the private-sector to establish a private health care provider.
- Respondents discussed whether applications should be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis with applications being returned to sponsors once the limit has been reached, or whether an approach (such as a lottery) should be employed once enough applications have been collected for a year, giving all applicants an equal chance of being chosen but only processing those selected while returning those not selected. Both the lottery and first-come first-served models received positive comments.
- Those in support of a first-come first-served model felt it would offer a greater level of fairness and transparency.
- Support for a lottery model was expressed by some participants, who suggested that this model would provide clarity, or could potentially be more equitable. A lottery system with some consideration for exceptional circumstances was proposed by some stakeholders; however, it was unclear how such a system would be managed fairly.
Modernization of the parent and grandparent immigration program
- Stakeholders expressed a range of support for modernization and selection criteria proposals.
- Some participants expressed concern about raising the minimum income threshold for sponsors. However, participants generally agreed with the need for sponsors to demonstrate income stability.
- There was general agreement with the proposal to ensure the sponsor’s commitment to Canada by limiting sponsorship of parents and grandparents to those who have obtained Canadian citizenship.
- Generally, mixed views were expressed on the “balance-of-family” test. Some stakeholders supported this proposal, which would impose a requirement on parents and grandparents to have at least half, or the majority, of their children living permanently in Canada before they could be sponsored. Others rejected the proposal.
- The intake of siblings and the concept of limiting sponsorship to principal applicants and their spouses was widely discussed. There was a general consensus that younger applicants would benefit Canada economically, could be more able to contribute to the workforce, and more likely to integrate, as well as support families.
- Many commented on the cost of parents and grandparents to Canada’s social programs (i.e. health care, Old Age Security, Guaranteed Income Supplement, etc.). Some suggested that the intake numbers should not exceed Canada’s ability to financially support them.
- Program integrity was broadly discussed. Participants noted the importance of ensuring that new PGP policies include safeguards against fraud and potential abuse of the program.
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