On new shores: Int’l forum on issues of immigrant and refugee children, youth and families

The 2008 On New Shores: International Forum on Issues of Immigrant and Refugee Children, Youth and Families conference program is available. This is a tentative program, but we are thrilled to see so many sessions devoted to young immigrant children and their parents/families.

The conference will be held Nov 6-7/08 in Guelph, Ontario and is sponsored by Dr. Susan Chuang, Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph

Some of the events, sessions and workshops with Canadian content include:

Thurs. Nov 6th, Session 2:

Z Sonia Worotynec, Canadian Coalition for Immigrant Children and Youth, Valerie Rhomberg, Canadian Mothercraft Society and Ken Setterington, Toronto Public Library on The Children’s Picture Book as Immigrant Literature

Poster sessions:

Alka Burman, Early Literacy Consultant, Peel Region: Providing an Anti-Bias Environment.

Fri. Nov 7th Keynote:

Janice MacAuley, Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs, Dr. Susan Chuang, FRAN, University of Guelph, Christopher Friesen, Canadian Immigration Settlement Sector Alliance: The Canadian Way: Welcoming Immigrant and Refugee Families

Fri. Nov 7th Session 4:

Judith Bernhard, Ryerson University: Por necesidad: Challenges of Multi-Local Parenting.

Mehru Ali, Ryerson University: Loss of Self-Effacacy among Immigrant Parents

Roma Chumak-Horbatsch, Ryerson University and mylanguage.ca and Z Sonia Worotynec, Canadian Coalition for Immigrant Children and Youth: Immigrant Children in Toronto Child Care Centres: A Language Profile.

Visit Dr. Chuang’s webpage at the University of Guelph for more information.

CIC on proposed changes to IRPA

The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration has published a new section on their website with more information on the proposed changes to the immigration policy and legislation, introduced in the budget bill – Bill C-50

A section with questions is also new, and offered in the categories of: Description and rationale for changes; How the system will work; Impact of the changes; Minister’s authority; and offers a space for folks to post their questions. Let’s all surf on over before the links change/disappear (again).

CCRs 10 areas of concern about proposed changes to the IRPA

The Canadian Council for Refugees has developed a useful fact sheet that outlines “Ten reasons to be concerned about proposed amendments to Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) in Bill C-50″.

Excerpts from the fact sheet:

1. Arbitrary power. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration can introduce “instructions” without Parliamentary oversight..Having the rules for who gets in made and changed by ministerial fiat … lacks transparency and makes the immigration selection process vulnerable to inappropriate political pressures.

2. Applicants’ legal rights eliminated. The proposed amendment in IRPA s. 11 from ‘the visa shall be issued’ to ‘the visa may be issued’ (means) the applicant will no longer have the same legal basis to demand that the processing be finalized in a timely manner.

3. Overseas humanitarian and compassionate applications. The amendments eliminate the right to have an overseas application for humanitarian and compassionate consideration examined. This includes … family reunification.

4. Intentions are not law. The government has made a number of statements about how they intend or don’t intend to use the new powers… Expressions of current intention are no protection against future uses of the powers.

5. The amendments do not belong in the budget bill. IRPA amendments should (be) dealt with through separate legislation, studied by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration and debated.

6. Lack of explanatory information. The government has failed to provide adequate information.

7. Failure to produce draft instructions. … draft instructions have not been made public.

8. Lack of consultation. The proposed amendments were introduced without the normal prior consultation with stakeholders.

9. There are other ways of addressing the backlog. … the proposed amendments will not … resolve the existing backlog, since they only affect applications made after 27 February 2008.

10. The immigration program needs to value immigrants. Canada needs to consider immigrants as full participants in society, not simply as disposable units to fill currently available jobs.

Canada in violation of UN Rights of the Child

The Canadian Council on Refugees (CCR) has denounced the Canadian government and accused it of being in violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. From the CCRs April 7th press release:

“The Canadian Council for Refugees today denounced the blind application of an inflexible immigration rule that is keeping children separated from their parents. Regulation 117(9)(d) excludes family members, barring them from sponsorship, if they were not examined by an immigration officer when the sponsor immigrated to Canada.

‘Children deserve to be with their parents – all Canadians can agree on this. Yet children affected by the excluded family member rule are spending years without an immigration officer even considering their interests,’ said Elizabeth McWeeny, CCR President. ‘This is not only inhumane, it is a clear violation of Canada’s international human rights obligations, including under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.’”

See more about the CCRs campaign on family reunification, including the April 7/08 press release at the CCR website.

Changes to IRPA

Over the last couple of weeks, this blog has posted on proposed changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, complete with links to debates and news releases. Some of these links have moved and I am trying my best to relocate them.

The changes proposed to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act by Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Diane Finley will impact family reunification and therefore, children. It’s time for the Canadian Coalition for Immigrant Children and Youth to start lobbying their MPs, liberal and otherwise, to stop these changes from going through.

The federal liberals, with the support of another opposition party could stop the proposed amendments. A vote against the amendments (as early as a week from now) would trigger an election. Some say they don’t want an election. The tories say they’re ready for an election.

Here’s what the NDP says. “The offensive changes include giving major new powers to the minister of Citizenship and Immigration to impose quotas, discard immigration applications and facilitate queue jumping by certain categories of immigrants. In addition, they would limit the ability of ordinary Canadians to be reunited with overseas family members based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds”.

Here’s what the liberals say.“The Liberal Opposition feels strongly that the drastic immigration reforms introduced by the Conservative government should be removed from the budget bill debated in Parliament”.

Here’s how to find your MP and have your say.