Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'm pleased to appear before the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration today to discuss the supplementary estimates (C).
Accompanying me today are Paul MacKinnon, ADM, strategic and program policy, IRCC; Harpreet Kochhar, ADM, operations; David Manicom, ADM, settlement and integration; and, Dawn Edlund, associate assistant deputy minister, operations. Also with me are Mike MacDonald, associate assistant deputy minister, strategic and program policy, and Christopher Meyers, director general, financial management, and deputy chief financial officer. We look forward to speaking to the committee.
Mr. Chair, the Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that all newcomers integrate and contribute fully to the Canadian economy and to their communities.
The contributions that immigrants make to Canada result in jobs, innovation, economic growth, and cultural diversity.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's 2017-18 supplementary estimates (C) reflect a net increase of $133.1 million in resources. Taking into account spending authorities that have already been approved, IRCC financial authorities will increase to a total of $2.08 billion for 2017-18 if these resources are approved.
These estimates include access to funding of $14 million for the processing and resettlement of survivors of Daesh, including Yazidi women and girls. This funding supports the unique initiative to resettle more than 1,200 extremely vulnerable women and their families, including providing extensive specialized services and supports.
The estimates also allocate $10.4 million to address irregular migration at the Canada-U.S. border. As we've always said, we will never compromise on the security and safety of Canadians while also ensuring that we respect our commitment to provide due process to persons seeking asylum. The funding in supplementary estimates (C) includes increasing our operational capacity to process asylum claims in a timely manner, as well as resources for the interim federal health program.
The estimates also call for an internal reallocation of $1 million for the migration policy development program. This will provide opportunities for increased international co-operation in developing well-managed migration policies.
Finally, the estimates include an increase in funding of $112 million, which will fund the annual grant for the Canada-Quebec accord on immigration, increasing total funding to $490 million in 2017-18. These amounts are calculated using a formula set out in the accord. The funding transferred to Quebec goes towards the provision of services that support the settlement and integration of newcomers who settle in that province.
I will be happy to answer your questions about the estimates in greater detail, but now I would like to briefly outline some key initiatives concerning IRCC that were proposed in the recent federal budget.
As you know, the Minister of Finance tabled budget 2018 on February 27. The budget includes continued investment in key areas, such as ensuring that the increased number of people seeking asylum in Canada have access to quick, safe, and compassionate processing; continuing to be able to welcome more women and children from conflict zones around the world; offering targeted settlement supports to those newcomers who face the greatest barriers, such as visible minority women; and, ensuring that the rights of temporary foreign workers are protected.
To address irregular migration, the budget acknowledges the importance of maintaining border security while treating those seeking asylum with compassion and providing them with due process. A proposed $173.2 million will be used to support security operations at the Canada-U.S. border and the processing of asylum claimants arriving in 2018-19, of which IRCC will receive $17 million to support these efforts.
Refugee women and girls face increased protection risks due to their gender, and represent half of the world's 22.5 million refugees as well as a significant proportion of those in need of resettlement. Our government's refugee resettlement levels are already at historic highs. The budget pledges $20.3 million to resettle even more vulnerable women and girls. These funds are in addition to the $27.7 million over three years announced in budget 2017 to resettle survivors of Daesh, including Yazidi women and girls. In addition, budget 2018 proposes $31.8 million over the next three years for IRCC to launch a pilot project to support programming for newcomer women who are also members of visible minority groups in an effort to remove potential barriers to employment.
To ensure that temporary foreign workers are protected and their rights are enforced, the budget proposes to dedicate $180 million over five years to continue the international mobility program compliance regime and the ongoing collection of labour market information related to open work permits. An additional $14.1 million will support unannounced employer inspections under the temporary foreign worker program.
Additionally, the budget supports contributions to innovation and entrepreneurship. A total of $7 million over five years will be used to cement the start-up visa program and make it a permanent program so that we strengthen the Canadian economy through innovation. The program makes it easy, and easier, for foreign entrepreneurs actively pursuing new business ventures in Canada to become permanent residents. It targets promising start-ups to come to Canada and scale up, creating more jobs for Canadians.
The budget also proposes $400 million over the next five years, and $88 million of ongoing support for the action plan for official languages from 2018 to 2023. Of this, my department will receive $41 million over the next five years and $10 million ongoing. Under this, IRCC will fund initiatives to create a francophone pathway covering integration services from pre-arrival to settlement into francophone communities in Canada.
Before closing, I'd like to return briefly to address the issue of asylum claims. Despite the high numbers, we have processes in place to ensure that the flow is well managed and that people are getting quick decisions regarding their eligibility to make a claim and are getting work permits very quickly.
As I noted, budget 2018 includes funds to support security at the Canada-U.S. border, the processing of asylum claimants, and faster decision-making capacity of the Immigration and Refugee Board. I welcome the IRB's efforts to find more efficiencies and better ways to conduct hearings so that it can both embrace technology and take advantage of the institutional knowledge it has acquired to move cases faster without compromising integrity. As you are aware, the third party review currently under way is examining how to further increase productivity at the IRB. The final report from that independent review will be available this summer. IRCC will provide the report to this committee once it becomes available.
In conclusion, the Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that our immigration system continues to welcome those who wish to help build our country.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I would now be happy to answer any questions the committee members may have.