Libby Davies Presents Plans to Reunite More Families in Canada

VANCOUVER – Vancouver East NDP MP Libby Davies held a press conference today on her votable Bill to help more families reunite in Canada. Davies was joined by Mary-Woo Sims, former B.C. Chief Human Rights Commissioner.

Davies’ “Once in Lifetime” Bill, called C-436, would allow a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to sponsor, on one occasion, a family member who would otherwise not qualify under family class provisions.

“I believe Canada’s immigration system must have a much stronger emphasis on family reunification and I believe this bill would begin to address this shortcoming,” said Davies.

The idea has already received tremendous support. In the year 2000, groups in Vancouver collected over 15,000 signatures in support of this policy change. The idea was floated by the former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Elinor Caplan during the 2000 election but was later dropped.

“The reason we received support is because the current definitions are so narrow and restrictive that it becomes very difficult to undertake family reunification under the present policies,” commented Davies.

Relatives under these proposed changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) would be regarded as a family class sponsor, even though they would not be one of the relatives outlined in the Act.

“It has been clear that over recent years the federal government’s migration targets have not been met,” said Davies. “This “Once in a Lifetime” bill would allow them to do so and to live up to their own commitment to promote family reunification.”

Davies has also invited the public to submit their immigration “horror stories.” Five of the worst cases will be brought to the attention of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, urging him to deal with the mess and chronic backlogs that plague his department.

Davies will have the first hour of debate on Bill C-436 in Parliament on Monday November 3rd at 11 am (EST).