One Posting Everyday

Corbella: Canada's immigration system is damaged, and Luz's ordeal proves it

10 min read

Ten months in the past the refugee from Colombia utilized for a journey allow. Her husband acquired one after 23 days, however Luz remains to be ready

Article content material

Conservative Occasion Chief Pierre Poilievre is just partly proper when he says “all the things feels damaged.” With regards to Canada’s immigration system, all the things is damaged.

Commercial 2

Article content material

Final week I acquired a name from a pricey good friend who was in tears. Her title is Luz. She, alongside together with her hard-working, resourceful husband, is a refugee from Colombia. We met them at church 4 years in the past they usually’ve change into a cherished a part of our household. They’re not simply good folks, they’re among the many greatest folks we have now ever identified.

Article content material

The story of why they needed to flee Colombia would make an incredible Hollywood blockbuster, however to put in writing their story may endanger their lives, so for now it should stay below wraps.

By way of her tears, Luz defined her predicament. Ten months in the past she utilized for a refugee journey allow to permit her to depart Canada for Mexico the place an outdated college good friend desires to rent Luz, who’s an acclaimed architect and proficient inside designer.

Her husband’s journey paperwork arrived 23 days after he utilized, however Luz saved ready. She repeatedly phoned the Immigration Canada phone quantity, which is little greater than an train in futility and frustration. Ultimately, she made an emergency journey doc utility on Feb. 27 as a result of she had a non-refundable flight with WestJet scheduled for Cancun, Mexico, on April 6 to start this job. Nonetheless she has heard nothing.

Her complete household and her husband’s all flew to Cancun to see the couple for the primary time in 4 years, however Luz needed to keep in Calgary, her coronary heart damaged.

When she lastly manages to get somebody on the road after dozens of makes an attempt, she is instructed her utility is “being processed.”

Article content material

Commercial 3

Article content material

“I really want this work,” mentioned Luz, 36, who’s finding out to enhance her English at college and had her background checked earlier than being declared a everlasting resident. “I really feel like my life is on maintain. I nearly really feel as if that is private, as if somebody has flagged my file to trigger me ache.”

A visit to the Harry Hays building in downtown Calgary was an exercise in frustration.
A go to to the Harry Hays constructing in downtown Calgary was an train in frustration. Postmedia file photograph

On Monday, Luz and I drove to the Harry Hays federal authorities constructing in downtown Calgary, one thing she has achieved on a number of events, despite the fact that nothing ever comes of it.

A workers member at data instructed us to go over there. That was improper. The folks over there instructed us to go upstairs. That was improper. After we acquired there they instructed us to go to immigration however that you simply want an appointment and gained’t get to see anybody.

Lastly. The proper data however infuriating nonetheless. After we acquired there we have been greeted by a glass wall with an intercom.

I defined by way of the intercom what was occurring and was instructed by the voice crackling by way of the plastic slats that if we need to see somebody, we have to make an appointment first through phone — one thing Luz has tried many occasions to no avail. Can’t we please simply meet with somebody, I requested. We’re right here now.

No, it’s a must to name Ottawa to make an appointment to see somebody in Calgary. How does this make sense?

We name the quantity, as directed, off the plaque on the wall. Luz has it on pace dial on her cellphone.

We observe all of the prompts, punch in her distinctive shopper identifier quantity, then we dial 5 and are instructed through a recorded message: “We’re presently experiencing a excessive quantity of calls and are unable to switch you to an agent. We apologize for any inconvenience this will likely trigger.” It takes 5 minutes and 35 seconds to get to that message.

Commercial 4

Article content material

“It’s been like this daily for the final 5 months,” says Luz. Service and assistance is an phantasm.

A number of folks on the Harry Hays constructing advocate that we go to the immigration workplace at Calgary’s worldwide airport (one thing Luz had already tried). After the frustration on the intercom and on the telephone, we drive there. We meet good folks, particularly a burly immigration officer who tells us he can’t present paperwork and to name that very same quantity to make an appointment.

Unable to assist and clearly desirous to, he suggests Luz go to the Colombian consulate and apply to get a Colombian passport. Luz tries to cover the shock that clearly spreads throughout her face. “I’m a refugee from Colombia,” she declares. “I can’t go there.”

Nevertheless it’s telling, isn’t it? A Canadian immigration officer telling a determined particular person to go to the workplace of a growing nation to get speedy service as a result of he is aware of you may’t get it right here.

Why would a number of folks on the Harry Hays constructing inform us to go to the airport if the immigration folks on the airport are unable to challenge journey permits? Both they sincerely imagine it’s a possible resolution or they need to give determined folks false hope.

A call to Conservative MP Greg McLean, pictured campaigning in 2019, finally led to some action on Luz’s file.
A name to Conservative MP Greg McLean, pictured campaigning in 2019, lastly led to some motion on Luz’s file. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

So, we go political. Luz lives in Calgary Centre, the place Greg McLean is the Conservative MP. His workplace workers — Shaney Pap, McLean’s constituency and casework supervisor — known as us again throughout the hour.

In June, McLean stood within the Home of Commons and mentioned: “This authorities is failing in so many primary issues. It’s failing in offering passports to Canadians, it’s failing Afghan refugees who assisted our courageous women and men in a conflict zone, it’s failing with processing immigration purposes, now hundreds of thousands of information behind. Entrance-line authorities staff are actually merely resorting to telling their pissed off purchasers to name their MPs, simply because the minister of Service Canada has really useful.”

Commercial 5

Article content material

McLean praised Pap. “The amount of information she handles is immense and broad. Whereas authorities is working at half pace, usually from dwelling, Shaney has stepped in to make sure individuals who want important companies are getting them.”

Pap informs us she has a scheduled phone assembly with Ottawa officers in 20 minutes. We scan Luz’s paperwork and ship them off, together with proof of her airline ticket. Later that night, Pap says the particular person she spoke with mentioned Luz wouldn’t get her doc in time for her flight on April 6, because it takes a median of 10 days after an MP’s workplace brings up a file for it to be handled.

“I’ve a couple of constituents who’ve been ready 14, 15 and 16 months for journey paperwork,” says Pap. “I had a constituent are available in (final week). She utilized for pressing processing of a journey doc — her mom wants surgical procedure in Egypt and IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) remains to be engaged on the appliance 11 months later.”

Pap provides that she’s additionally serving to a constituent who utilized for emergency journey papers to go to his Ethiopian mother, who’s dying in a hospital in Sudan. On the time of this interview he’s been ready 65 days. The place is the compassion?

Previously, folks like Pap may name an immigration official and, after ready maybe one or two hours on maintain, they may get by way of 40 information on the telephone. The official would keep on the telephone with the MP’s staffer till they acquired by way of all of the information. Now, Pap says she should make an appointment to talk to somebody and it’s usually for simply quarter-hour and it takes at the very least 5 minutes per file, so she’s fortunate if she will get by way of three information throughout a name.

Commercial 6

Article content material

Officers with IRCC mentioned that “as a result of privateness laws we can’t touch upon particular circumstances,” despite the fact that Luz had given me written permission to talk about her file.

The IRCC Passport Program points the Refugee Journey Doc (RTD) and the Certificates of Id (COI) to facilitate journey of non-Canadians.

“Our service customary for RTDs and COIs is 20 enterprise days, not together with mailing time. The service customary for an utility is our dedication to course of an utility in a sure period of time, below regular circumstances,” states the IRCC spokesperson.

“The processing occasions posted on our web site are historic, which means they’re measured primarily based on how lengthy it took to course of 80 per cent of purposes up to now six to eight weeks.”

In August 2022, IRCC started publishing month-to-month knowledge on its web site to maintain Canadians updated on its progress in decreasing utility backlogs, after outraged Canadians spent days in lineups tenting on sidewalks to use for passports.

“IRCC’s most up-to-date replace — revealed on March 17 — exhibits that 54 per cent of purposes in our inventories are inside service requirements as of Feb. 28, up from 50 per cent in January. We proceed to progress towards our objective of decreasing total backlogs and processing 80 per cent of latest purposes inside service requirements,” mentioned the IRCC spokesperson.

Are you able to think about any personal service supplier solely reaching 54 per cent of its service objective?

“I don’t perceive,” wonders Luz’s husband, “why we have now to beg for one thing that we paid for?”

As a result of the system is damaged and this authorities doesn’t know the right way to repair it.

Licia Corbella is a Calgary-based journalist and a former editorial web page editor and columnist with the Calgary Herald and Calgary Solar. [email protected]


Postmedia is dedicated to sustaining a full of life however civil discussion board for dialogue and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Feedback might take as much as an hour for moderation earlier than showing on the positioning. We ask you to maintain your feedback related and respectful. Now we have enabled e mail notifications—you’ll now obtain an e mail in the event you obtain a reply to your remark, there may be an replace to a remark thread you observe or if a consumer you observe feedback. Go to our Group Tips for extra data and particulars on the right way to modify your e mail settings.

Be a part of the Dialog

Commercial 1

Copyright © All rights reserved. | Newsphere by AF themes.