20 September 2020
I write to you not only in your capacity as Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, but also in your capacity as a father, a husband and a fellow human being.
You currently preside over an office that has unacceptable backlogs in several areas of immigration into Canada. I do realize that you are relatively new to your position and have already introduced improvements and I have no doubt that you intend to do so even more. Thank you for that.
Nonetheless, despite the recent explanation that the backlogs in Canada are being faced by many other countries (an excuse proffered by Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, Marci Ien), as a proud Canadian, I would like to suggest that Canada is NOT other countries, and we need not suffer their failures nor use their failures as an excuse for our own.
Currently, your website states that those applying for immigration for their spouses currently living abroad can expect to wait 23 months. For spouses living in Canada already, the wait is 15 months. Significantly less, but still too long! I believe, in the most case, they are not allowed to work whilst they wait. What a waste of talent in an economy where businesses are begging for employees!
I specifically write to you regarding the horrifying backlog of spouses being processed to join their husband or wife or significant other in Canada.
This horrifying situation is further aggravated by your Ministry’s refusal to grant the rights of these spouses, etc. to even come and visit their families in Canada.
I ask you, as a fellow father and husband, would you like to not be able to see your wife or children for two whole years?
I have a wife of 10 years and a 10 year old son. My son has Canadian citizenship and currently resides with me here in Canada. He is heartbroken that he may not see his mother for an entire two years.
In fact, this continuing situation is the main reason why I did not return to Canada 10 years ago. While my son was a few months old, and up until recently, he needed to be with his mother.
But, like all children, he needed his father as well. It is only now that he is 10 that we have felt that he is old enough to not unduly suffer by not having one or the other parent around.
His mother is Chinese. For various reasons, we believe it is dangerous for us to send her back to China. Therefore, she is currently bouncing around as a visitor to several countries in Africa while we wait for your department to grant her permission to enter Canada. It is a dangerous and expensive predicament.
This brings me to several suggestions that I believe your department needs to take immediate action on in order to reduce the Human Misery that your department inflicts on innocent spouses and children while they wait hopelessly to have their applications approved. I cannot see any reasonable reason why an application such as this ought to take more than 2 months, quite frankly.
My suggestions are as follows:
1) Remove the discrimination. It is VERY discriminatory to allow the spouses of first world countries to come to Canada and wait here while their applications are approved and be with their families, while applicants of mostly third world countries are left torn apart from their families.
Hang on, you might say… we are not discriminating. But Sir, you are. You see, if my wife was not married to me, she might have been able to apply for a visitor visa to come and visit Canada and then have stayed. But, on her application, she needs to state her marital status and who she is married to and what that person’s citizenship is.
No matter what her qualifications to visit might be, as soon as your ministry sees that she is married to a Canadian, her visa is DECLINED because she cannot prove she will leave the country.
Okay, fine. BUT… why are persons from first world countries NOT asked why they are entering Canada and declined when it is seen that they have a Canadian spouse or significant other, as they are also not planning to leave.
And despite not needing a visa, they are really only entitled to come into the country as a visitor, just as my wife is, i.e. that they intend to leave.
That nobody is screened for this purpose means that it is, in fact, discriminatory.
Thus, Canada discriminates against third world countries. Whether one can consider that racist or not, I leave up to you. To me, it is 95% racist. It would NOT be, if you did not prevent significant others from third world countries from coming here just because they were married to a Canadian or if you prevented people from first world countries from coming here if they were married to a Canadian. You need one or the other, but I imagine there would be an uproar if First World people were prevented from coming to Canada if they had a Canadian spouse!
I suggest, then, that you immediately remove this form of discrimination which would make a world of difference to people waiting to have their spouses join them.
2. Couples with children should get higher priority than people without kids. Why? Because a child’s formative years are extremely important to the child’s future welfare. While an adult might understand a 2 year wait and deal with it emotionally, a 10-year-old has extreme difficulty with it and it can cause immense psychological damage to the child. Does Canada really want that on their conscience?
3. Couples that have been married for a while and lived together overseas or have children should get higher priority than couples planning on getting married or just married. Why? Well, because couples that have been married for a while should be more easily processed since there is virtually NO DOUBT that these people are married and not just gaming the system, especially if they have kids together. Processing these categories separately will mean that the backlog can clear relatively fast as it should not take nearly as much time to process people in these categories and they can, in fact, be processed with less intense due diligence. Length of marriage ought to be a factor in processing speed.
4. Alternatively, provide special visas for people in the above category that can be granted within a month allowing the person to join their families in Canada while they wait to get their final approval. Why? Because its good for the kids! That’s why.
5. It is broadly known that economic immigrants, by which I mean those that the government feels have skills that match skills needed by the country, are given higher priority with their immigration being approved up to 3 to 4 times faster.
This is all well and good, and one can make logical arguments for it. YET… it is noteworthy that their families are, likewise, processed faster and given permission to enter with them, yet their families might not have the economic skills even nearly as desirable as the economic skills some Canadian’s wives might have.
By way of example, my wife is a highly skilled graphic artist and has created most of the graphics for the web pages my websites have used as well as the logos. She is also educated as a primary school teacher. Some of the economic immigrants have wives who have ZERO skills, yet they are given priority over my wife for immigration. Not entirely fair! Of further note… A highly desirable skill ought to be that of a dedicated mother! After all, the future of Canada depends upon our youth. It is well proven that children that are well taken care of by dedicated mothers fare far better economically than those of parents that are both working.
I would give the example of my other 4 children from a previous marriage. They all had a mother that stayed at home for most of their childhood.
One son owns a rather large construction company in Florida and owns 2 homes, several cars and boats, has 3 children and does extremely well financially. He also provides a significant amount of employment.
Another son is an Electrician contractor. He also has quite a few employees and 3 children all attended to by a very well-educated stay at home mother.
Another son owns a cleaning business in Victoria. He also employs quite a few low skilled laborers who he pays well and he earns a very good living as well.
My daughter used to design clothes, has a university education, has 3 sons, but is also a stay-at-home mother because she can afford it. Her husband makes an exceptionally good income.
My mother was a stay-at-home mother as well. My sister is one of the most recognized businesswomen in South Africa. She started her career after her children were older. Before that, she was a stay-at-home mom. Her two children have multiple degrees and earn high 6 figure incomes.
My other sister owned one of the top-rated restaurants in South Africa. She is retired now. Her kids are also all university educated and hold senior positions in the companies they work for except one of her highly educated daughters who is a stay-at-home mom right now raising her kids.
I have owned numerous businesses. I have had companies employing over 400 employees in the past. My children’s mother (now deceased) stayed at home while the children grew up.
I have also given hundreds of thousands of dollars to charities.
My point is that spouses being categorized as not as important to Canada’s future as new skilled immigrants is ridiculous and not necessarily an economic or future boon to Canada higher than that of a spouse of a Canadian citizen.
6. Canada has recently spent BILLIONS due to COVID. A fraction of that amount of money could hire more people to clean up this area of immigration. Keeping families together is a Canadian thing to do.
Whereas you process work visas in a fraction of the time you process spousal visas, making money is not NEARLY as Canadian as keeping families intact!
Yet, it appears that making money has a higher priority with this government and the governments that came before, even though the logic that the economic immigrants will contribute more is highly questionable.
Thus, my suggestion is to HIRE MORE PEOPLE TO PROCESS THESE VISAS, and make sure they are not racist. One Canadian immigration officer recently was caught sitting on files for several years. When he or she was exposed by the CBC, the backlog quickly cleared although your department did not say why. So much for transparency, right?
So, Sir, these 6 very simple and easily implemented suggestions could reduce psychological damage and speed up immigration.
I hope you will give due consideration to them. If not, perhaps we need to get the Canadian people involved to encourage the government to be less discriminatory and more humane.
I thank you for reading this and hope to receive a positive response.
Husband of a hopeful immigrant,
and father to a little boy who desperately misses his mother!
P.S. In the letter dated December 16, 2021 from PM Trudeau, you were instructed to organize Temporary Residence Permits for spouses and children living abroad while their applications are processed.
“Work to strengthen family reunification by introducing electronic applications for family reunification and implementing a program to issue temporary resident status to spouses and children abroad while they wait for the processing of their permanent residency application”. (Emphasis added).
What happened to that?