OTTAWA, Oct. 17, 2017 /CNW/ - Members of the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Irregular Migration met yesterday to discuss latest developments in addressing the influx of asylum seekers entering Canada at irregular border crossings.
Federal Minister and Task Force Chair, Marc Garneau, started by welcoming the new member of the task Force, David Heurtel, who recently succeeded Kathleen Weil as Quebec's Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion. Minister Garneau also took this opportunity to thank Minister Weil for her valuable support and collaboration in managing the influx of irregular migrants. He added that he is looking forward to working with Minister Heurtel and maintaining a positive and constructive relationship with the Province of Quebec.
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, followed with a brief overview of some of the key migration trends in the Americas. He stated that the region has witnessed a growth in irregular migration with movements of migrants from Central America, Cuba, Venezuela, and Haiti, among others, as well as an increase in the number of extra-continental arrivals from Asia and Africa.
Minister Hussen reported that new measures put in place to address the influx of irregular migration have made a difference, resulting in reduced backlog for eligibility interviews and issuance of work permits.
The Province of Ontario added that continued high numbers of refugee claimants are creating some service demand on the province and is supportive of work underway to expedite work permits.
Minister of Public Safety, Ralph Goodale, noted that while the overall volume of asylum claims remains elevated, there has been a decrease in recent weeks. He reiterated that Canada is taking a whole of government approach, and working closely with affected provinces, to plan for operational contingencies, particularly as we approach the winter months. Minister Goodale will also be speaking with his United States (US) counterpart later this week on the margins of the G7 meeting to discuss this issue and its impact on Canada and the US and indicating that officials should continue to meet regularly to advance bilateral cooperation.
Minister Hussen concluded by saying that we are pursuing our outreach efforts in Canada and the US to correct misinformation about Canada's asylum system among groups of potential migrants. Missions in the US continue to be actively engaged with media and community groups. Canada's Embassy in Washington D.C. and network of twelve Consulates General in the US have engaged close to 25 US decision makers including members of Congress, Governors and Lt Governors and have met with over 200 diplomatic representatives, NGOs, community leaders, and municipal, county, state-level officials in communities across the country.
"We are working closely with the provinces and we continue to engage with our neighbours to address irregular migration in accordance with Canadian and international law, and in keeping with our values as an open and welcoming country."
– The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister and Chair of the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Irregular Migration
- The creation of the Task Force was announced on August 17, 2017, by the Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, and former Quebec Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness, Kathleen Weil.
- The Task Force works on issues related to the recent and sustained increase in asylum seekers entering Canada from the US.
- Chaired by federal Minister Marc Garneau, the Task Force is composed of federal ministers: Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, and Minister of National Defence Harjit Singh Sajjan; as well as the Member of Parliament for Bourassa, Emmanuel Dubourg; Quebec Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness David Heurtel and Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Laura Albanese.
SOURCE Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
For further information: For questions related to irregular migration: Media Relations, Communications Branch, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, 613-952-1650, [email protected]; For questions related to the Task Force: Delphine Denis, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, Ottawa, 613-991-0700, [email protected]