Editor’s note: This Opinion Post is submitted by Steven Paolasini. Steven is an Engineer, a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant and an Immigration policy enthusiast. If you’re interested in having your opinion featured on +1 News and reaching a wider audience, please follow the submission guidelines provided here.
Another announcement by the Minister and another disappointment. Minister Fraser, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, has once again left us shaking our heads in bewilderment. Instead of addressing the pressing issues affecting the tens of thousands of overseas temporary resident applicants and spouses in Canada waiting in limbo for years, he has chosen to introduce a boutique pathway to permanent residency to help settle only a few thousand refugees and displaced persons. This move, while commendable in its intent, is a far cry from the decisive action needed to fix the broken system that everyone is craving.
It is no secret that the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has been plagued with issues of competency, fairness, and processing times since the onset of COVID-19. These issues have left many temporary resident applicants overseas and spouses in Canada effectively displaced anyways, with such a lack of certainty and inability to appropriate plan their lives. By focusing on a small subset of refugees and displaced persons, Minister Fraser is conveniently neglecting the greater problem at hand, which continues to impact the lives of tens of thousands of individuals who have been waiting years for an update on their applications.
The problem is the elephant in Canada; his departments inability to return to their own standards of fairness and due process in regard to processing times, especially with the applicants who have faced the most significant delays.
The labour shortage is a critical issue that needs addressing, and Minister Fraser claims to be working tirelessly to resolve it. However, the solution is staring him right in the face: approve the backlog of visitor, work permit, study permit, and permanent residency applications that have been languishing for years. The individuals behind these applications have skills, talents, and a desire to contribute to the Canadian economy, expressed years ago. By expediting these applications, or at least processing them in accordance with IRCC standards: 14 days visitor visa, 60 days work permit, 60 days study permit; Minister Fraser could effectively address the labour shortage and improve the lives of thousands of families, Canadian citizen sponsors, Canadian businesses, and more in a little under 2 months.
The recent policy introduction seems to be a knee-jerk reaction aimed at offsetting the closure of Roxham Road, an unofficial border crossing point that has been a source of controversy. This move today appears to be nothing but a desperate attempt to maintain Canada’s diminishing credibility in the field of refugee resettlement. While it is essential to address the needs of refugees and displaced persons, it is equally important to focus on the very real issues faced by those who have already applied to come to Canada or immigrate to Canada, several years ago. It’s a basic first in, first out concept.
Wouldn’t you fix a leaky roof in your home before you replace the flooring? The Minister must respect the appropriate order of operations or take a course in process engineering. Prioritize the pressing expectations of the thousands of individuals waiting for their applications to be processed in weeks not years. These are people who have put their lives on hold, waiting for their well-deserved opportunity to contribute to Canada’s growth and development. Continuing to blatantly ignore their plight will only serve to exacerbate the labour shortage and further tarnish Canada’s reputation as a welcoming and fair nation.
While the intentions may be noble, his focus is misplaced. We need an immigration minister who recognizes the most pressing issues to prioritize his attention on that basis. You know, the issues that are impacting people in Canada. Or the delays that have impacted people for 2 years as they’ve put their lives on hold. The top issue that any MP’s office is hearing about everyday as children go another year unable to celebrate their birthday with their father or mother. The business partner who’s been waiting 20 months for his partner to arrive. I really wish the minister would step up, take responsibility, and come out with a meaningful plan to get this backlog cleared, once and for all.
It’s time for Minister Fraser to acknowledge the urgency of the situation and take meaningful action to resolve the competency, fairness, and processing time issues within his department. He is failing to address the larger issues and take responsibility for applicants who’ve been kept in the dark for years. Only then can we truly say that he is working towards a brighter future for all those who seek to call Canada their home.