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Canada’s Trudeau Government: A New Era for Immigration

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was officially sworn into office as Canada’s 23rd leader today. The new Liberal Government has announced a 31 member cabinet that includes new ministers for Immigration, Public Safety, and Employment. The Trudeau government has promised facilitative immigration reforms. While we expect many of the current immigration programs to remain largely intact, the new government will provide greater emphasis to human rights, family reunification and greater permanent residence opportunities to Canadian high skilled foreign workers.

Immigration Ministry

John McCallum was appointed today as Canada’s new Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. Prior to his entry into public service, Mr. McCallum trained as an economist and was a university professor for several years. Mr. McCallum has previously served in cabinet positions including as Minister of National Defence and Minister of National Revenue.

Under the new Liberal government, the following immediate changes to the Canadian immigration, citizenship and refugee system have been promised:

Family Class Sponsorship

• Nearly doubling the budget for family class processing in order to curb long processing delays
• Doubling the number of new applications allowed for parent and grandparent sponsorships from 5,000 to 10,000
• Restoring the maximum age for dependents to 22, instead of 19.
• Removing the current two-year conditional status for new spouses in Canada and granting immediate permanent residency instead

Express Entry System

• Reviewing the Express Entry program to ensure efficient processing times
• Granting additional points under the Express Entry program to applicants with Canadian siblings

Refugee Protection

• Increasing Canada’s intake of refugees from Syria and Iraq to 25,000 through direct sponsorship by the government of Canada
• Investing an additional $200 million over this fiscal year and the next to increase refugee processing, sponsorship and settlement capacity
• Contributing $100 million to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to support critical relief activities
• Fully restoring the Interim Federal Health Program for refugees
• Establishing an Expert Human Rights Panel for determination of designated countries of origin and providing a right of appeal for applicants from these countries
• Ending the practice of appointing individuals without subject matter expertise to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

Miscellaneous

• Restoring the residency time credit for foreign students and other temporary residents applying for Canadian citizenship
• Reducing barriers to immigration for international students by making changes to the Canadian Experience Class

Canada Border Services Agency

Ralph Goodale will serve as Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Mr. Goodale has previously served as Canada’s Finance Minister and holds the distinction of being selected by his peers as Canada’s first-ever “Parliamentarian of the Year” in 2006. We anticipate that the Ministry of Public Safety will make the following positive changes:

• Repealing the provisions of Bill C-24 that permit revocation of citizenship
• Repealing the elements of Bill C-24 that create barriers for permanent residents applying for Canadian citizenship.

Foreign Worker Programs and Labour Market Impact Assessments

MaryAnn Mihychuk is Canada’s Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. Ms. Mihychuk is a former member of the Manitoba Legislature where she served as Minister of Industry, Trade, and Mines and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. Under Ms. Mihychuk, we anticipate the following immigration related changes:

• Eliminating the $1,000 Labour Market Impact Assessment fee for families seeking caregivers for family members with physical or mental disabilities
• Developing a regulated list of companies to hire caregivers on behalf of families to prevent abuse and to simplify the hiring process of caregivers.

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Firm Announcements

• Jacqueline Bart, President of UIA Immigration and Nationality Commission organized the Main Theme of the 59th Annual Congress of the UIA: The Impact of Globalization and Mobility on Immigration Law: The Delicate Legal Balance of Economic Growth, Protectionism and Human Rights, Valencia, Spain, October 20, 2015
• BartLAW participates in the research for The Economist White Paper, in an article titled The Wealthy Immigrant
• BartLAW wins Canadian category for “Immigration Law Firm of The Year” AQC Global Awards, 2015
• BartLAW wins regional category for “Canadian Immigration Law Firm of the Year” by GlobalLawExperts, 2015

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