Immigration Minister contacts non-profit groups about proposed limit
Through a letter sent to non-profit organizations involved in sponsoring refugees, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney indicated that the government would limit the amount of processed applications through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program. This reduction of potential refugees is proposed despite statistics that show a decline in the number of refugees that became permanent residents between 2005 and 2009.
Limit to applications frustrates non-profit groups
According to the Minister, the government would limit the number of refugees in order to clear backlogs and ensure that the amount of applications reflects the targets imposed by the government.
Janet Dench, the director of the Canadian Council for Refugees, puts the blame on the government for imposing targets that do not reflect the needs of each country. For instance, there are only four Canadian visa posts that handle refugees in Sub-Saharan Africa, even though 40% of the world’s refugees that need protection live in that area.
“Putting a cap on the number of refugee applications can mean putting a limit on the generosity of Canadians,” Dench said.
In addition to application limit, government will end SAH agreements
The Minister also declared that the government would alter its contracts with Sponsorship Agreement Holders, and end all the agreements by the end of the year. Martin Mark, the director of the Office of Refugees for the Archdiocese of Toronto, suggested the churches and non-profits were capable of determining the number of refugees that could come to Canada through the program.
“(Sponsorship Agreement Holders) put $37 million annually into this program. At this level, we should expect respect from the government in how to manage our program, and how to implement our program,” Mark said.
Mark suggested that the government should decide how many applications to process proportionally, based on how many are submitted from private sponsors, instead of imposing a limit.