Budget cuts will cost immigrants months of their lives

For want of a few more pairs of hands, new immigrants to Canada will have to wait longer gain citizenship.

Canada Employment and Immigration Union president Jeannette Meunier-McKay detailed how the departmental spending freeze announced in this years budget will affect immigrants in a presentation to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration

Citizenship applications are processed at the Case Processing Centre in Sydney, NS. After the budget was announced, the ministry announced it was terminating contract and term employees.

The cuts:

  • Citizenship mail room staff is being reduced from 45 to 7
  • 13 positions eliminated from the group that produces permanent resident cards.
  • Mail room staff for permanent resident cards reduced from 15 to 5.
  • 22 workers let go from the Foreign Skilled Workers pilot project

The impacts:

  • permanent residents will have to wait longer to get their citizenship documents and therefore will have to wait longer to begin to re-unite their families
  • permanent residents will have to wait longer to get the cards proving they have status in Canada
  • the 600,000 applicants in the foreign skilled workers program will face delays even longer than the current seven to eight years before they're approved.

"The present practice of understaffing and then relying on special allocations of money to hire contract workers to nibble at backlogs that nonetheless continue for years at unacceptably high levels is simply inexcusable," Meunier-McKay told the committee.

People immigrating to Canada, new Canadian citizens and Canadian citizens in general should be entitled to prompt service from their government," she said. They should not have to pay through cost recovery fees for a service which is unacceptably and unnecessarily delayed. This is not the way to introduce new Canadians to our country."