MP REPORT: Plan fast-tracks family reunions

On Nov. 4, phase one of a new plan entitled Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification was announced...

On Nov. 4, phase one of a new plan entitled Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification was announced to increase the number of parents and grandparents admitted to Canada next year; from about 15,500 in 2010, up to 25,000 in 2012.

This increase will enable the government to address the growing backlog of parents and grandparents trying to immigrate to Canada.  Currently, there are approximately 165,000 families waiting for their family member’s application to be processed.  Nearly 40,000 parents and grandparents apply for permanent residency each year and if something is not done this number will only grow.  Presently, parents and grandparents can expect to wait eight years or more before they receive a decision on their application.  This is unacceptable as well as unfair.

As of Nov. 5, 2011, the government implemented up to a 24 month temporary pause on the acceptance of new sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents. This is necessary to prevent the program from being flooded with new applications during the period of consultations with Canadians about the future of immigration by parents and grandparents to Canada.

By increasing the target number of parents and grandparents accepted as permanent residents to 25,000 in 2012, the backlog of applications in this category will decrease and help get wait times under control.

The government is also aware that this may cause strain on families wishing to put forth an application to bring their family members to Canada and so there will be a new parents and grandparents super visa introduced to ensure families can reunite quickly.  The program will help avoid large backlogs and be sensitive to fiscal constraints, such as Canada’s limited health-care resources.

Our government anticipates that in about two years, phase two of the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification will come into effect, ensuring future applicants are processed quickly and that the program can operate on an efficient and sustainable basis.

Therefore, I urge you to write/e-mail me so I can be your voice in Ottawa. You can contact me by mail at 3105 29th St., Vernon, B.C., V1T 5A8, or by e-mail at

—Colin Mayes is the MP for Okanagan-Shuswap