Evidence of meeting #54 for Citizenship and Immigration in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was cases.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Mark Davidson  Director, Legislation and Program Policy, Citizenship Branch, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
Clark Goodman  Acting Director, Citizenship and Immigration Program Delivery, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
Rose Anne Poirier  Manager, Program Support, Case Processing Centre - Sydney, Nova Scotia, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
Rosemarie Redden  Manager, Citizenship Case Review, Case Management Branch, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
Eric Stevens  Legal Counsel, Legal Services, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

It looks like we'll probably hold more than one set of hearings on this issue, because this issue is of great urgency, and I sense absolutely no sense of urgency from the department.

One thing that really struck me was the comment made that not many people came forward despite widespread attention to the issue. Well, the answer for that is very simple. If you happen to have a job that involves being a Canadian citizen, you can end up losing the job if you are found not to be a Canadian citizen.

This committee heard witnesses on the question and the cost. The case was the Mennonites and their circumstances. I think Mr. Teichroeb told us it cost him $100,000, and I detected absolutely no urgency on the part of the department.

I have a series of questions, and I want very quick answers.

Does your department keep a genealogical file specifically targeting Mennonites in Sydney, yes or no?

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Norman Doyle

Who are directing the question to?

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Goodman.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Norman Doyle

Mr. Goodman.

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Is the answer yes or no?

3:50 p.m.

Director, Legislation and Program Policy, Citizenship Branch, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Mark Davidson

We have Rose Anne Poirier, from our Sydney office, and perhaps she'd like to answer the question.

3:50 p.m.

Rose Anne Poirier Manager, Program Support, Case Processing Centre - Sydney, Nova Scotia, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Chair, at the case processing centre in Sydney, in the program support unit, which is the unit that deals with these types of applications, we have a series of family trees. If you want to refer to them as a genealogical tool, we have an in-house system that we use on a regular basis to help us facilitate applications coming from people from the Mennonite community.

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Okay. Quickly, how many do you have on file?

3:50 p.m.

Manager, Program Support, Case Processing Centre - Sydney, Nova Scotia, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Rose Anne Poirier

At this moment, I really could not answer that question. However, it is information that we could provide to you at a later time.

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Okay. We'll stop there and have you send us the information to the committee.

My next question is this. How many people were affected by the Taylor decision and are being held up right now?

3:50 p.m.

Acting Director, Citizenship and Immigration Program Delivery, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Clark Goodman

As I indicated, we have about 400 active files that we are looking at.

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

How many cases are held up because of the Taylor decision before the court? A lot of people are being told they're not proceeding until the Taylor decision is settled.

3:50 p.m.

Acting Director, Citizenship and Immigration Program Delivery, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Clark Goodman

Oh, it's the ones on hold. Excuse me.

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

That's right.

3:50 p.m.

Manager, Program Support, Case Processing Centre - Sydney, Nova Scotia, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Rose Anne Poirier

Perhaps again, Mr. Chair, I could provide a response.

Currently, at the case processing centre in Sydney, we have some cases that are held in abeyance as result of the Taylor case. Of course, as this case is in front of the court of appeal, we cannot go into too much detail. But I can assure you that applicants whose cases have been affected by this stay of motion have been notified and have received the proper information concerning their cases.

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

I want a number. Please, if you don't have the number—

3:50 p.m.

Manager, Program Support, Case Processing Centre - Sydney, Nova Scotia, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Rose Anne Poirier

It's approximately 400.

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Four hundred cases by the Taylor decision.

May 2nd, 2007 / 3:50 p.m.

Manager, Program Support, Case Processing Centre - Sydney, Nova Scotia, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Okay, that's what I wanted to know.

Next question: Why did the department ignore the order in council specifically granting war brides and their children Canadian citizenship?

3:50 p.m.

Director, Legislation and Program Policy, Citizenship Branch, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Mark Davidson

Mr. Chair, presumably Mr. Telegdi is referring to an order in council that came into effect in the mid-1940s. This matter is before the Federal Court of Appeal in the Taylor case. So because it's before the court, I would find it difficult to answer that question.

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

The direction was ignored.

Why did your department suddenly decide not to honour a unanimous Supreme Court decision in the Benner v. Canada case?

3:50 p.m.

Director, Legislation and Program Policy, Citizenship Branch, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Mark Davidson

The Benner case you're referring to was a case that was a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in 1997. We certainly have been implementing that decision since that date.

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

You have been implementing that decision since that date?

3:55 p.m.

Director, Legislation and Program Policy, Citizenship Branch, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Mark Davidson

The Benner decision, yes; it dealt with a certain group of individuals who were covered under the 1977 act. And yes, we certainly implemented and took into consideration the Supreme Court's ruling in that case.