(OTTAWA, ON) – At its meeting on Friday, the Federal Government’s Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Irregular Migration agreed to do more to quell myths about how easy it is to be admitted to Canada. MP Emmanuel Dubourg, updated the task force on his visit to Miami last week.
There, he met with local elected officials, community leaders, and Haitian-, Canadian-, and US-based media. He was there to dispel the myths on social media channels, such as WhatsApp, where misinformation is gaining traction about Canada giving asylum seekers a free pass into the country.
Dubourg reinforced that while Canada is a welcoming and accepting country, entering the country must be done according to the rules.
Building on this, members of the task force agreed to undertake more engaging activities in the United States and with Canadian multilingual communities in the coming weeks. This approach will include targeted outreach into other communities and will be undertaken in close collaboration with Canada’s missions abroad, both in the United States and throughout Central America.
This is the third meeting of the task force after it was convened specifically to focus on coordinating current efforts to address the influx of asylum seekers at irregular border crossings.
Members of the task force heard that progress has been made to speed up processing of asylum claimants. Capacity was increased by mobilizing existing resources to help at key locations. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada office in Montreal more than tripled its daily processing output.
In light of the progress made to date, the NavCan Centre in Cornwall is no longer required for the time being, although it remains on standby. Task force members were told expanded facilities at the Peel Street Joint Processing Centre in downtown Montreal allows IRCC and the Canada Border Services Agency to process even more claimants every day.
IRCC will also be opening a temporary processing facility at Complexe Guy Favreau, in Montreal. This will help speed up processing of asylum seekers, expedite work permits for all asylum claimants in order to reduce reliance on provincial social assistance, and assist the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada in determining whether someone is truly a refugee who requires Canada’s protection.
In addition, Quebec’s Minister of Immigration, Diversity, and Inclusiveness, Kathleen Weil, highlighted that since August 24, after changes made by federal minister Ahmed Hussen, Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP), certificates are being provided by CBSA and IRCC to individuals who are entering Canada between Ports of Entry after they undergo a thorough screening process, including medical, background, and security checks in Lacolle, QC, and have their eligibility interview scheduled.
“Our Task Force remains committed to ensuring a coordinated response to the situation,” said Marc Garneau, chair of the task force. “We will continue working together to identify concrete actions that would address both the immediate and long-term needs of those affected by this situation.”
The Task Force came into being on August 17 after hundreds of refugees living in the US started appearing at places were they could walk into Canada and not report to border guards at a port of entry.