With the Canadian election coming up fast, immigration has quickly become a hot topic in Canada. Canada is one of the most diverse, culturally rich places in the world. Part of this, no doubt, is because of our welcoming of new ideas and cultures. Every year, ~250,000 immigrants come to Canada, bringing with them their unique identities.

My husband is an immigrant to Canada so this is an issue that resonates at a very personal level. With that in mind, we set out to bring you a primer on each party’s stance towards immigration. However, finding objective information on each party’s stance towards immigration in Canada was a lot harder than we thought it would be. The Liberal party was the only one of the three with an official backgrounder on its immigration platform (maybe they are out there, but I certainly couldn’t find them easily). As for the Conservatives and the NDP, much of the information we provide here was available only through third-party news sources. How are Canadians supposed to form objective opinions without official facts direct from the source?

That being said, as best as we can, here is a summary of each party’s stance towards immigration.

The Conservative party’s platform on immigration

The Conservatives platform is to stay the course on immigration policy. Since 2007, the Conservatives have made a number of changes to immigration policy. These changes include:

  • Introduced 10-year “super visas”, allowing family members to visit more frequently and stay longer, without putting a drain on the Canadian economy.
  • Fast-tracked permanent residency application process for skilled immigrants.
  • Capped new applications for sponsorship of parents and grandparents at 5,000 (compared to the 25,000 in 2013) to reduce application backlog.
  • Increased time of financial sponsorship commitment to 20 years (from 10) when sponsoring parents and grandparents to reduce burden on welfare system.
  • Introduced two-year permanent residency waiting period for spouses as a way to reduce marriage fraud.

The Conservatives party promises:

  • On refugees, the government is on track to resettle 10,000 Syrians by September 2016 and 23,000 Iraqis by the end of this year.
  • Ensure fair education equivalency exams to increase recognition of foreign credentials.
  • Grant automatic Canadian citizenship to children adopted from abroad by Canadian parents.

The Liberal party’s platform on immigration

Key points from the Liberal’s platform on immigration include:

Refugees

  • Increase the Canadian government’s direct sponsorship of Syrian refugees to 25,000.
  • Spend an additional $200 million this fiscal year and next on improving refugee processing capabilities.
  • Contribute $100 million to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to support critical relief activities in Syria.
  • Restore the Interim Federal Health Program for refugees.

Family reunification

  • Double the budget for family class (i.e. sponsoring family members to join you in Canada) immigration processing.
  • Increase allowable new applications for parents and grandparents to 10,000 (from 5,000 today) each year.
  • Increase maximum dependent age to 22 (from 19 currently).
  • Eliminate 2-year permanent residency wait for new spouses entering Canada.

General

To read the Liberal party’s backgrounder on its immigration platform, click here.

The NDP party’s platform on immigration

While I couldn’t find an official backgrounder on the NDP’s website, NDP candidate Paul Dewar has provided a good summary on the NDP’s platform here. The NDP also sent me an e-mail with further detail on their platform.

Key points from the NDP’s platform on immigration include:

Refugees

Family Reunification

  • Eliminate cap on sponsorship of parents and grandparents.
  • Eliminate 2-year permanent residency wait for new spouses entering Canada.
  • Introduce one-time opportunity for Canadians to sponsor relative who is not part of the Family Class.

General

  • Eliminate new immigrant landing fees and processing fees for refugees.
  • Increase immigration to a targeted 1%+ per year.
  • Work with provinces to increase recognition of foreign credentials.
  • Repeal Bill C-24.

Vote. It’s your civic duty.

The federal election is October 19th, but you can get out as early as this weekend to vote. Advanced voting days are October 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th.

Looking for more information on immigration law in Canada? We can help! Use Kabuk to find immigration lawyers and book an appointment with the best immigration lawyer for your needs. It’s free to use!

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