Slipping through the cracks

June 5th, 2017

Earlier this year, families around the world got the welcome news that Canada was reverting to a system whereby immigration applicants could include accompanying children up to and including the age of 21 on an application for Canadian permanent residence.

I, for one, was glad to see the Liberals go back to this standard. Our erstwhile Minister of Immigration from the Conservative bench (which for a long while happened to be on the government side of the House), Jason Kenney, had changed the definition of a dependent child to up to and including the age of 18 back in 2014.

In his speaking notes at the time, Kenney is recorded as saying, to no individual in particular, ‘You’re not a child anymore. You’re an adult. Take responsibility for yourself.’ He was, of course, speaking of teenagers and people in their early 20s, most of whom were not eligible to immigrate to Canada through an economic program, because those programs typically require skilled work experience.

How many 19 or 20 year-olds do you know who have completed their education and landed, and kept, a skilled job? Not many, I bet.

But the past is the past, and the Liberals are de-Kenneyfying the immigration department piece by piece.

Unfortunately, it looks like some people — some children — are slipping through the cracks. The issue is that although the government announced this positive change in May of this year, it will only take effect for applications submitted on or after October 24.

Andy Buck moved from his home in the UK to Calgary, Alberta in 2008 after accepting a job with the city. His sons, 14 and 17 at the time, stayed back with his former wife. A couple of years later (and before the Kenney change), the elder son, Alex, followed his father to Canada as a dependent. In 2015 (and after the change), the younger son, Benjamin, decided he would join his father and brother, and it was then that the family realized that Benjamin was no longer considered a dependent.

He was 19 then, 21 today. He turns 22 in July — after the announcement that 21 year-olds were to be considered a dependent was announced, but before the change comes into effect. Twice denied.

According to a recent news reports, Buck tried applying for Benjamin on compassionate grounds, but the application was denied, and the family is now appealing to federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen.

In certain situations, it is possible to submit an application for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds from overseas. But the exact ins and outs of the Buck case are not publicly available, and therefore it would be remiss to advise the Minister exactly what to do in the specific case. It must surely be acknowledged more generally, however, that families like the Bucks have been caught out not just once, but twice, and our immigration system should strive to avoid situations like this in the future. Hopefully situations that exist in the present, such as the case of Benjamin Buck, can be rectified to the satisfaction of all parties.

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4 Responses to “Slipping through the cracks”

  • On June 6th, 2017, Rafael said ...

    “But the past is the past, and the Liberals are de-Kenneyfying the immigration department piece by piece”, I liked that idea. Time to get changes. Hoping that bill C-6 will reach its logical end. And those PR that resided here for 3 years would be able to apply for the citizenship in 3 years. Thanks for the Blog!



  • On June 15th, 2017, Anonymous said ...

    It is a great step that those who have committed the time and effort to getting schooling in Canada to be better contributors be awarded credit in time for their residency. Why it is not year-for-year is mystifying. Canadian schools emphasize teamwork and give valuable perspectives on Canadian life, politics, and society. I can’t imagine a better way to show one’s commitment to being Canadian than this…especially business, which gives one a “leg-up” in understanding the differences between the home country and the new one.

  • On June 15th, 2017, Sophia said ...

    Like the Benjamin the same thing happened to me with my daughter she is now 23 I miss the age twice I have apply for school and was denied I have tried for visa for her and was denied again so now I don’t know what to do I hope they can do something for families like us

  • On September 2nd, 2017, ella said ...

    same story with my son. We was denied 4 times, And now he is 28. my husbent canadian,but i miss my son very only one way -back to my country,because i am tired suffering without him. VERY SAD! Immigration of Canada keep my family apart, they liers.

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