ARCHIVED – Speaking notes for the Honourable Jason Kenney, P.C., M.P. Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism for an update for a news conference on Haitian Adoptions
Description: Minister Kenney’s statement on the situation in Haiti following the January 12, 2010 earthquake
Location: National Press Centre, Ottawa, Ontario
Date: Thursday, January 21, 2010
Time: 8:30 a.m. EST
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I am pleased to report that we have reviewed all of the 100 cases that are with CIC for processing and have called the majority of these parents, reaching many of them, where possible, and leaving messages for others.
Of those we talked with, I am happy to say they were all able to confirm that the children they are adopting had survived the earthquake, though a few are ill.
To date, it looks like the majority of those cases may be at the stage where we can approach the Haitian government with a list of cases to have their confirmation that we can bring these children to Canada.
As I explained yesterday, the provinces have a role in adoption cases before CIC is involved, so we are working closely with the provinces to ensure we have information on their cases as well. Some of those cases are also at a stage where we can put them on the list we present the Haitian government.
In total, we are aware of about 150 cases. From those, the list we will prepare to present to the Haitian government will be those cases where Haitian children have been matched to parents, and there is some documentation to confirm the adoption is in process with Haitian authorities.
Many of these cases are in Quebec, although we have some in a number of other provinces as well. Yesterday, I met with my provincial counterpart from Quebec, Minister Yolande James, to ensure we are coordinating our efforts.
We are also working with Quebec’s Social Services Ministry, who have the lead on international adoptions in that province. I want to be clear that our efforts are coordinated with Quebec on this issue.
We are also talking to people in adoption organizations in Quebec. Some of them have travelled to Haiti in the past, and met these children, so they are well placed to help us locate these children and facilitate their travel to Canada.
CIC has also contacted the Government of Haiti to confirm that Canada wants to facilitate the processing of adoptions that were close to finalisation. And that we are preparing a list with the names we would like to take out of Haiti.
Provided we get assurances from Haitian authorities the adoptions can go forward, we hope the first group of children can be brought to Canada as soon as this weekend. CIC officials are working through the logistics of how we can transport them.
In each case, the file is being reviewed to determine what steps may be taken to process the cases while respecting Haitian and Canadian laws.
We are also working to help Canadians who have immediate family in Haiti to help them reunite with their loved ones. In the last five days, we have issued 135 temporary resident visas to Haitians who were being evacuated with their Canadian relative.
We are also working with the Haitian community here who want to sponsor their relatives. We will be providing information sessions, starting today in Montreal. Our offices across Canada are prepared to participate in outreach activities, so I urge people to continue to check our website for updates on further sessions.
In closing, I’ll repeat that is our hope and intention that we can bring the first group of adopted children home by the weekend, and I want to assure the public that we are doing all we can to serve people who are understandably anxious.
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