Madam Speaker, the hon. colleague knows that even in adjournment proceedings, privacy rules preclude me from speaking about particular cases, including the two cases she spoke about this evening.
However, she can rest assured, as can all Canadians, that reuniting families remains one of our government's top priorities. We are committed to reuniting families who are apart, and to easing the uncertainty of those who are together but who are waiting for their immigration status to be finalized.
When families are able to reunite and stay together, it vastly improves their integration into Canadian society, their economic outcomes and their ability to contribute to their communities and to Canadian society as a whole.
It did not serve either newcomers or Canadians well when, for too many years, far fewer family members were allowed into the country than had applied and not enough action was taken to reduce the growing backlog of applications.
Because of that, in December of 2016, our government announced improvements to Canada's spousal sponsorship application process in order to make it more efficient and easier for families to navigate. These changes included a new and improved spousal sponsorship application package to make it simpler and easier for sponsors and applicants to understand and use.
As part of our commitment to enhancing client service, we have responded to feedback from applicants and have made additional improvements to the application package just last year.
All along the plan has been to improve the spousal sponsorship process, making it faster and easier for Canadians and permanent residents to reunite with their spouses or common-law partners.
Our government has done just that and it has yielded results. Over the past two years, we have made the spousal sponsorship process faster and easier. We met the commitment to reduce the backlog left to us by the Harper Conservatives of spousal sponsorship cases by 80% and shortened the process times from 26 months to less than a year.
Thanks to these changes, families, spouses and common-law partners who have been separated can now be reunited more quickly in Canada.
As well, our government continues to help applicants by making additional updates to the application guide and checklists. These updates help to process applications even more quickly and avoid unnecessary delays.
Canadians with a partner or a spouse who is abroad should not have to wait for years to have him or her immigrate. Nor should those who are in the country be uncertain of whether they will be allowed to stay. The bottom line is that we want newcomers to settle and immigrate into our communities, contribute to the economy and succeed.
Speeding up family reunification helps them to do that, and all Canadians benefit from it.
The changes our government has made to the spousal sponsorship program are helping to bring spouses and families together faster. Through these actions, we will continue to make Canada stronger both today and for our future. It is our genuine belief as a government that the economic success of our country is dependent on our ability to accept skilled workers and their families and that the cultural vibrancy of our country is only strengthened by newcomers who come and contribute to our communities.