Remarks for the Honorable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, at the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

Speech

Marrakech, Morocco
December 10, 2018

As Delivered

Madame Chair, on behalf of the Government of Canada and on behalf of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Right Honourable Prime Minister of Canada, I'm very pleased to join you here today for the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Compact is the first time the international community has worked together to develop a comprehensive framework on migration. I would like to thank the co-facilitators and Mme Arbour for the important roles they played.

This success highlights the value of coming together, within the United Nations system, to address what is a complex global challenge. Canada is proud to adopt this Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which supports a rules-based international order and takes a global approach to migration that is evidence-based, human rights based, gender-responsive and child-sensitive.

Diversity is part of Canada’s national identity. We have benefited from migrants’ positive impact on our country. We also firmly believe in comprehensive, well managed migration systems, which support the social, economic and cultural contributions of all migrants.

Moving forward, as we implement this compact, we can make migration safer for all people, particularly migrants in vulnerable situations and migrants in vulnerable segments of the population, including women and girls, who often fall victim to smuggling and human trafficking. We can do so by reducing risks, ensuring respect for human rights, making regular migration more accessible, and making regular pathways for migration more accessible than the dangerous irregular routes used.

We have heard the concerns regarding the increasing number of irregular migrants and we commit to working together to minimize the adverse drivers that compel people to leave their countries of origin. At the same time, we are working to reduce the cost of sending remittances, given their importance to development.

The Compact outlines good practices from which we can draw. I am confident that we can all use its practical, action-oriented approach to enhance our national migration systems, by developing more pathways for regular, safe migration.

In Canada, we know we have room to improve. We regularly evaluate our immigration systems and programs and policies and we'll now use the compact as an additional lens to plan, develop and evaluate our work. As well, we are working to address and reduce vulnerabilities in migration. We have developed a pilot project that seeks to improve labour market outcomes and advance the careers of newcomer and visible minority racialized women.

This past October, we launched the Migrant Worker Support Network pilot project in British Columbia in western Canada for temporary foreign workers dealing with potential mistreatment or abuse. Its aim is to better support, protect and empower temporary foreign workers while they're in Canada and to assist employers to better understand and meet program conditions and requirements.

We’re also improving family reunification by speeding up spousal sponsorship. In fact, we’ve cut the wait times for spousal sponsorship by a significant amount, therefore reuniting more families than ever before, and extending our open work permit pilot program for spousal sponsorship applicants.

Madame Chair, let me close by stressing that coordinated international engagement on migration is critical. Canada is committed to working together with the UN Migration Network and all partners, at home and abroad, towards meeting our common goal of a safer, more inclusive and prosperous world.

But I want to end by making this very clear. This Global Compact for Safe, Order and Regular Migration should not be used as a political weapon. This compact is beyond partisan politics. Adopting the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do. We in Canada continue to rely on immigration to help grow our economy, which helps grow our middle class and our common prosperity. We have many examples of this, such as a Syrian refugee by the name of Tareq Hadhad who was resettled in Canada as a Syrian refugee in Eastern Canada and who’s already created 100 jobs for Canadians.

So we in Canada encourage everyone to fight fear with facts, and to make sure that we use evidence to guide our policies on migration.

Thank you very much.


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