Evidence of meeting #58 for Citizenship and Immigration in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was refugees.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

David Manicom  Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic and Program Policy, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
Donald Cochrane  Senior Director, International Region, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
Lisa Hébert  Coordinator, Capital Rainbow Refuge
Shahina Perveen  Program Participant, Canadian Citizen, Capital Rainbow Refuge
Eka Nasution  Director, Rainbow Foundation of Hope
Chad Wilkinson  Director, Rainbow Foundation of Hope
Sharalyn Jordan  Board Chair, Rainbow Refugee
Soubhi M.  Member, Rainbow Refugee

4:15 p.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic and Program Policy, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

David Manicom

Not at all. It would be very complicated, over many years.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

For example, if we were going to say right now that we have a targeted number of Chechen gay men who we would like to bring out of concentration camps to Canada, we could track that, right?

4:15 p.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic and Program Policy, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

David Manicom

If we created a program for just that—

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Thank you.

4:15 p.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic and Program Policy, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

David Manicom

—sub-descriptor, we could.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

With the time that I have left, one of the issues in getting referrals for Yazidi genocide survivors was that many of these genocide survivors were internally displaced people. This is the same issue that many LGBTQ persons face.

With the Yazidi genocide program, my understanding is that the government worked with NGOs on the ground to develop lists or to identify resettlement candidates outside of the UNHCR process. Could this not be done for instances of persecution against the LGBTQ community such as we're seeing in Chechnya? And if it can be done, what's stopping the government from doing that right now?

4:15 p.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic and Program Policy, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

David Manicom

I think it could be done. There are 70, 80, 90, or 100 countries in the world where, to varying degrees, members of the LGBTQ community are severely persecuted, subject to criminal prosecution, and so forth.

With regard to the Chechen situation, this is an emerging situation. We are certainly intent on doing what we can.

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

I have 30 seconds left, and I'm sorry to interrupt.

Do you think that it is feasible for the Government of Canada to implement a program or process by which the government can better respond to instances of genocide or systematic cleansing of sexual minorities, such as we're seeing here, so that we're not having to do study after study and having you in front of committee each time we see incidents like this happening?

4:20 p.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic and Program Policy, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

David Manicom

We have a large number of programs that have responded to a large number of individual circumstances over the years, and I think many of them have worked very well.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj

Thank you.

Mr. Tabbara, five minutes, please.

May 3rd, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marwan Tabbara Liberal Kitchener South—Hespeler, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to our witnesses for being here today.

Under this pilot project, how are refugees identified for resettlement? The UNHCR prioritizes people who are particularly vulnerable and face imminent risk. Can you elaborate on that, please?

4:20 p.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic and Program Policy, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

David Manicom

Mr. Gionet will correct me if I err.

The project was not prescriptive in how the refugees would be identified. As it has played out, about half or more of the refugees have actually come in through our blended visa office-referred program, where members of the LGBTQ community identified by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and interviewed by Canadian visa officers were made available to the sponsorship community and were indeed picked up by the Rainbow Refugee Society and their sponsorship agreement holder partners.

Another portion of the movement was identified by the Rainbow Refugee Society itself, with sponsorship agreement holders. Exactly how those identifications were made would be a question best addressed to the Rainbow Society. It's a mix of UNHCR referrals and private connections.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marwan Tabbara Liberal Kitchener South—Hespeler, ON

That was going to be my next question, but you said to refer to the Rainbow Refugee Society.

Does the pilot project fall under the 2017 annual levels planed target of 16,000 privately sponsored refugees? If so, how many refugees does IRCC plan to admit through this program in 2017?

4:20 p.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic and Program Policy, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

David Manicom

This program does not have a numerical target attached to it. The individuals come in through either our blended visa office-referred program, or the private sponsorship program. The numbers that the Rainbow Refugee Society assists would be part of those two categories, within the levels planned.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marwan Tabbara Liberal Kitchener South—Hespeler, ON

Okay.

Since the pilot project was announced, IRCC set aside $100,000 for the first three years of the initiative, and another $100,000 was set aside for the program for two years. Can you tell us how much of this funding has been spent on the initiative, and how many beneficiaries there are?

4:20 p.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic and Program Policy, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

David Manicom

Of the $250,000 made available, the information I have is that $156,000 has actually been used to date. The number of individuals who have been sponsored is 79 persons in 69 cases.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marwan Tabbara Liberal Kitchener South—Hespeler, ON

Since when?

4:20 p.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic and Program Policy, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

David Manicom

Since 2011.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marwan Tabbara Liberal Kitchener South—Hespeler, ON

Since 2011, the beginning of the project. Do we know which countries they came from?

4:20 p.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic and Program Policy, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

David Manicom

Yes, we have all that data. It's from all over the world. Probably it would be most efficient if we provided that table to the committee. We have the origin countries and the destination communities in Canada of all those who have participated.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marwan Tabbara Liberal Kitchener South—Hespeler, ON

Do we have a measure or mechanism of...? Earlier, one of my colleagues stated that there are certain countries that have the death penalty for it and certain countries where it's a crime. Do we have a system where there's a ranking of vulnerability, in terms of which countries to focus on?

4:20 p.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic and Program Policy, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

David Manicom

I don't think a “ranking of vulnerability” is, generally speaking, a term that the international community would use. There are seven identified specific vulnerabilities. How they end up weighted against each other is very much case by case, and I think that's probably the way it has to be.

To speak hypothetically, you could have a member of a religious minority in a camp who's at immediate risk. You could have an unsupported female with a couple of dependent children who could be at immediate risk. You could have a member of the LGBTI community in the refugee camp in Kakuma whom UNHCR is simply not able to provide protection for, and who needs to be helped immediately for resettlement.

It is really case by case how it unfolds in these situations. It's very challenging work in a situation where, unfortunately, the system can only resettle a small fraction, even of the most vulnerable refugees.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj

You have 20 seconds.

4:25 p.m.

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic and Program Policy, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

David Manicom

That is simply the reality.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj

Mr. Manicom, you had stated that there has been no formal evaluation of the program. When do you plan to do a formal evaluation?