Opening the Floodgates
[:en]The Liberal Government is considering a radical new approach to immigration, one that poses grave risks to Canada and immigrants alike.
A leaked document shows Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees Canada (IRCC) is considering waiving eligibility rules for hundreds of thousands of applications, and other new bulk processing measures.
Doing so means the department would no longer discern if an individual had the necessary funds for their stay in Canada or monitor if those whose visa’s had expired had, indeed, left the country.
To make matters worse, the memo outlined the government’s desire to keep these new measures a secret, saying they should not be communicated to the public.
The department’s rationale is to deal with their massive backlogs. Like other government departments, IRCC sent their workers home for months (or, in many cases, years) at the outbreak of COVID-19. This, along with other Trudeau Government policies, exacerbated existing issues within IRCC causing a backlog in the millions. The department already deleted applications received prior to December of 2021, forcing those with applications already in process to re-apply. This still left a backlog of some 2.4 million applications. The failure of IRCC—and successive Trudeau ministers—to fix the issues at Immigration Canada have led to these dangerous new proposals.
Let’s be clear: These new measures aren’t about helping immigrants. They are about helping the government put this myriad of failures behind them by getting the department back to a manageable caseload. In short, like other Trudeau initiatives, it’s about politics and PR, not people.
Canada is one of the most pro-immigration countries in the world, but at a time where housing, cost of living, and healthcare are chief concerns among Canadians, there is understandably trepidation about throwing open the floodgates.
Given the current state of Canada’s economy, ensuring those coming to Canada have the financial wherewithal to support themselves is more vital than ever. Affordable housing is already at a premium in Canada’s cities, and these large urban centers are almost certainly where the majority of immigrants will end up. The inability to pay for or find housing coupled with skyrocketing cost of living means newcomers will be facing the same issues that have millions of Canadians struggling to make ends meet. It is in everybody’s interest to ensure that newcomers to Canada are set up for success, not certain failures.
Fast-tracking hundreds of thousands of applications would also add stress to our already overloaded and failing public healthcare system.
The failure to do due diligence raises further concerns that applicants who have previously been rejected by IRCC (for cause) could use the lax new rules to sneak into Canada (and stay indefinitely).
There is a reason the government wanted to keep these proposals a secret. They are ridiculous.
Even if they were to solve the backlog at IRCC–I’m far from convinced they will—the domino effect of such a reckless action will do far more long-term damage than good.
It’s also a slap in the face to the millions of Canadians (and would-be Canadians) who waited in line, jumped through the hoops, and did the hard work to get here.
There is a common-sense solution to this problem. Rather than, deleting applications, hiring hundreds of new bureaucrats, and investing millions of taxpayer dollars (only to throw in the towel and throw open the floodgates), why doesn’t the federal government simply 1) pass an Order in Council extending all existing visas and permits for the period of one year, and 2) put a freeze on any new applications for that same time period, giving time to process existing applications properly and clear the backlog.
The Trudeau Government has a long record of talking big on immigration but ultimately failing newcomers to Canada—Syrian and Afghan war refugees jump immediately to mind. These new measures will only add to that list of failures and put Canadians and vulnerable newcomers at risk.
These proposals (coupled with existing policy failures) would almost certainly see Canada’s already strained healthcare systems and social safety net break.
Opening the floodgates is not a solution. It’s a desperate and reckless proposal by a government, a minister, and a department who are clearly in over their heads and out of ideas.
Canadians, and those seeking to become Canadians, deserve better.