Ottawa: The Canadian government has announced three new initiatives to assist more refugees from across the world.
Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, met with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative in Canada, Rema Jamous Imseis to announce the details ahead of World Refuges Day (June 20).
An official government statement said” “Across the globe, millions are displaced and longing for what most of us take for granted: a safe place to call home. As a global leader in protecting those who need it most, Canada welcomed nearly half of all refugees resettled around the world in 2020. The UNHCR recently called Canada ‘a bright light in a horrible year for refugee resettlement.’
“Our efforts are making a difference—yet the world’s most vulnerable are counting on us to do more,” the statement added.
The new Canadian initiatives will help Canada offer asylum to more people who need it, welcome more refugees through new channels and increase support to those welcomed through community sponsorship.
Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot Launched in 2018, the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP) is a ground-breaking initiative that recognizes the talents and skills of refugees by welcoming them through economic immigration streams.
This not only allows Canada to welcome more refugees, but also flips the stereotype of refugees as solely victims by demonstrating all that they contribute to our country. Today, the Minister announced a new policy that will help settle 500 refugees and their families.
The new measures will improve the EMPP process by
• expediting the processing of permanent residence applications for EMPP applicants in several streams, so they can start working and contributing faster
• making it easier for refugees under EMPP to get settlement funds
• waiving fees for permanent residence applications
• making the application process more flexible
• providing pre-departure medical services to assist with immigration medical exams
Protected persons in Canada Canada’s asylum levels have remained stable. The number of protected persons Canada will welcome this year will increase from 23,500 to 45,000. Currently, there are over 40,000 protected persons and their dependants residing in Canada with open permanent residence applications. In 2021, 17,900 protected persons became permanent residents.
Private Sponsorship Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program is a world-leading initiative, helping it to welcome more refugees and better equipping them for lasting success. Since it began over 5 decades ago, private sponsors have welcomed more than 350,000 refugees to Canada.
This program is now emulated all over the world, from the United Kingdom and the European Union to New Zealand, and the US has committed to creating one as well. IRCC recently launched a national call for proposals to improve existing pre- and post-arrival support services for private sponsors and ensure refugees take full advantage of the assistance offered to them. As a result of this process, up to $3 million over 2 years will be invested in supporting 9 organizations.
• Throughout the pandemic, Canada is one of few countries that never closed its doors and continued to resettle refugees.
• In 2018, Canada committed to resettling 10,000 refugees from Africa and the Middle East by 2020. Despite COVID-19 challenges and travel restrictions, Canada delivered on its Middle East commitment, and will soon do so for Africa.
• In 2019, Canada resettled more than 30,000 refugees. Canada welcomed over 9,200 refugees in 2020.
• In December 2020, Canada started to accept applications for permanent residence from pending and unsuccessful refugee claimants who worked in Canada’s health care sector and provided direct care to patients during the pandemic. As of May 29, 2021, approximately 4,345 applications had been received.
• Refugees who face immediate risks may be resettled under Canada’s Urgent Protection Program.
• In July, the Government of Canada will become the second Chair of the Central America and Mexico Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (MIRPS) Support Platform. Canada will champion the issue of protection, meaningful participation and the empowerment of displaced women and girls.