Ottawa, December 20, 2004 - The House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration will be traveling to the following cities in March and April 2005: St. John’s, Halifax, Charlottetown, Fredericton, Quebec, Montreal, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria. Hearings will be held at each location on the following topics.
In the Speech from the Throne of October 2004, the government indicated that its actions will be guided by its commitment to defend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and to be a steadfast advocate of inclusion. An intention to introduce new citizenship legislation was also affirmed:
“What makes our communities work is our deep commitment to human rights and mutual respect. The Government is committed to these values. It will modernize Canada’s Citizenship Act to reaffirm the responsibilities and rights of Canadian citizenship and our values of multiculturalism, gender equality and linguistic duality.”
The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has indicated that new citizenship legislation will be tabled in Parliament in early 2005 and that it will be referred to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration after first reading. At her appearance on 2 November 2004, Minister Sgro told the Committee: “Give me your suggestions on those areas that are most contentious. At that point, I would ask the department to put them into the legislation, introduce the legislation in February at the first opportunity, and bring it back here and you could do your travels, and so on.”
The Committee has already provided preliminary advice regarding this legislation in a report tabled 30 November 2004. That report was based on evidence received in the 36th and 37th Parliaments during our study of Bills C-63, C-16 and C-18, all citizenship bills that died on the Order Paper.
The Committee will be asking Canadians to once again comment on citizenship issues. While detailed legal analyses of the legislation are sought, we are also asking Canadians to comment more generally on the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship. As we noted in our November 2004 report, two important aspects of the new law must strive to reflect the importance attached to belonging to the Canadian community and we invite Canadians to express their thoughts regarding a preamble for the legislation and the oath of citizenship.
The best immigrant selection system in the world will ultimately be of little benefit to Canada if economic immigrants are unable to work in their trade or profession. The Committee realizes that this is a complex and multifaceted problem involving many levels of government and literally hundreds of professional and trade organizations. During the Committee’s travel, we intend to meet with provincial counterparts to discuss this issue and we also invite individual Canadians and professional and trade organizations to make submissions and recommendationsSpecific questions that will be addressed include the following:
One of the immigration objectives listed in section 3 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is “to see that families are reunited in Canada.” Similarly, section 4 of the Act states that one of the objectives with respect to refugees is “to support the self-sufficiency and the social and economic well-being of refugees by facilitating reunification with their family members in Canada.” The Committee invites witnesses to discuss their concerns relating to family reunification and welcomes recommendations for improving the current system
The following general topics have been identified as being of particular interest to the Committee:
For more information, please contact:
William Farrell, Clerk of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration Tel: (613) 995-8525
The Honourable Andrew Telegdi, P.C., M.P. Tel: (613) 996-5928