Speaking notes for Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship: An announcement on Caregivers

Speech

As Delivered

Scarborough, Ontario
June 15, 2019

I'd like to begin by first acknowledging that we are on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit and we thank them every day for allowing us to enjoy and settle in this land.

And, if my t-shirt didn't give you any indication, I hope you can join me in congratulating Canada's team for winning the NBA World Championship trophy for Canada. It's the first time that the NBA trophy has left the United States, and what a wonderful home it's going to find in Toronto.

So I want to really begin by paying tribute to caregivers. There are thousands and thousands of caregivers, in the past and the present, who have come to Canada to start a new life and care for our members of the community: families, seniors, and others. Caregivers have helped us raise our children while parents go to school or work. Caregivers make their own contributions to our economy; they support families by enabling many, many Canadians who otherwise may not be able to have someone responsible for their children to work or study outside the home. And we have, as a government, taken the issue of reuniting caregivers with their family members very seriously. It was one of our main priorities when we got into office in 2015 and we've improved our support for caregivers by eliminating the 64,000 backlog in the old Live-In Caregiver Program.

And yes, caregivers used to have to wait between five to seven years to reunite with their own family members. We kept people who are providing such invaluable service to our families away from their own families, and that was unacceptable. And as a government, we said that this was unacceptable, that caregivers needed to be reunited with their own family members. And now, that wait time has come down from between five to seven years, down to 12 months.

But you and many Canadians know that we can still do better by caregivers. Caregivers have provided Canadians with care, and so it is time for us today for Canada to show more care for them. Today, I'm happy to announce two new pilot programs to replace the former pilots. And a lot of this happened because of your advocacy, because of your input and because of great Members of Parliament like John McKay and Salma Zahid. So today, I'm happy to announce the new Home Child Care Provider and Home Support Worker pilot programs.

These two new pilot programs will provide caregivers with a permanent program to become permanent residents to Canada. How will it work? All people wanting to become caregivers in Canada will be assessed for permanent residency before they arrive in Canada. So caregivers that come here and have a work permit and have a job offer will have a solid path to becoming permanent residents once and for all. They know that once they meet the work requirement, they will have a solid path to become PR. In addition to that, when a caregiver receives the initial work permit through either one of the pilots, that permit will be caregiver-specific, not employer-specific.

This will allow caregivers to be able to leave an employer and work with another employer within the caregiver industry. This is something that we've heard very loudly and clearly from you, that you needed the flexibility to be able to remove yourself from a situation in which you felt vulnerable. And so for the first time, we're moving ahead to make sure that work permits for caregivers are not tied to the employer but are tied to the occupation. That gives you the flexibility, it gives you the confidence, and it also responds to your concerns around vulnerability.

The other major thing is – not only was it the right thing to reunite families faster for caregivers, reduce the processing time, and to eliminate the backlog – in order to prevent this problem in the future, moving forward, caregivers will be able to bring their family members with them. So we're enabling them to bring their family members, their spouse, and their children. Their spouse will be able to have an open work permit and their children will have a student permit so that they can go to school.

So let me make it clear to everyone in this room and beyond – caregiver families will no longer be separated. And another thing, in the past, caregivers under the previous program required a Labour Market Impact process as part of the work permit process. This was costly for them and time consuming, but we have heard from you loud and clear. As a government, we listened to you – under these new two programs for caregivers, caregivers will no longer need to get a LMI.

We believe that these two new pilot programs will address a number of things that you brought forward to us. With work permits for their spouse and student permits for their children, there will be no more family separation. Second, there will be a clear path for caregivers to become permanent residents. And third, we will have a way for you to change your employer without any penalty.

Due to another request from caregivers, finally, the interim pathway to permanent residency for all the people who are part of the Live-In Caregiver Program and who didn't quite become permanent residents, we know that the deadline has expired in June, but we've heard from you, that you would like to extend that program, to allow more people to have a pathway to permanent residence.

So finally, I'm here to also announce, and I'm proud to announce with my colleagues, that the interim pathway program will reopen once again on July 8, 2019, and will be open for three months.

Ladies and gentlemen, what you're seeing is the Canadian way. The Canadian way is to take care of each other. It's to look out for each other, and to care for those who care for us. That's who we are. And we want newcomers to come to Canada to pursue a life of service and contribution to our economy, but also to reunite you with your families and to make you permanent residents, and eventually Canadian citizens, members of the Canadian family, to become members of the best country in the world.

Thank you.


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