As the world faces a refugee crisis, Canada continues to play a leading role in providing a home for many refugees and displaced people worldwide. In 2020, Canada welcomed nearly half of all refugees resettled around the world and, therefore, has been called “a bright light in a horrible year for refugee resettlement” by the United National High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
In an effort to better assist the ongoing refugee crisis, the Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, met with UNHCR’s representative in Canada, Rema Jamous Imseis, to announce three new initiatives to assist even more refugees.
These initiatives will help Canada offer asylum to more people who need it, welcome more refugees through new channels, and increase support to those welcomed through community sponsorship.
ECONOMIC MOBILITY PATHWAYS PILOT (EMPP)
Economic Mobility Pathway Pilot (EMPP) was launched in April 2018 as an attempt to welcome refugees around the world through economic immigration streams. Through this pathway, Canada aims to welcome more refugees, and also rephrase the stereotype of refugees as solely victims by demonstrating their economic contributions to our country.
On June 18, 2021, in an attempt to further improve the Economic Mobility Pathway (EMPP), the minister announced a new initiative that will help settle 500 refugees and their families. This new initiative will improve the EMPP process by:
- Expediting the processing of permanent residence applications for EMPP applicants in several streams, so they can start working and contributing
- Waiving fees for permanent residence applications
- Making the application process more flexible
- Providing pre-departure medical services to assist with immigration medical exams
PROTECTED PERSONS IN CANADA
Canada has also offered to increase the number of protected persons it will welcome this year from 23,500 to 45,000. It has also offered to expedite the processing of applications, so that more protected persons can quickly become permanent residents and put down roots in their communities. Through this initiative, it is estimated that in 2021, almost 17,900 protected persons became permanent residents.
PRIVATE SPONSORSHIP OF REFUGEES PROGRAM
Since Private sponsorship began over five decades ago, it has led to welcoming more than 350,000 refugees to Canada. To further strengthen this program, IRCC recently launched a national call for proposals to improve existing pre- and post-arrival support services for private sponsors and ensure refugees take full advantage of the assistance offered to them. As a result of this process, up to $3 million over two years will be invested in supporting nine organizations.
The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., stated:
This year’s World Refugee Day comes at a challenging time, because the pandemic has made the situation worse. That’s why Canada is redoubling its efforts to welcome refugees. When others close their doors, we keep them open. We will keep looking for new ways to support and welcome refugees, because offering refuge to the world’s most vulnerable speaks to who we are as Canadians.