Canada proves commitment to relief efforts for Haiti
Six months have passed since an earthquake devastated the country of Haiti. To date, Canada has spent $150 million to support humanitarian and recovery efforts by providing shelters, removing rubble, and leading water and sanitation projects and child protection initiatives. Canada has pledged more than $1 billion to long-term re-building efforts. Additionally, the Canadian government is very quickly processing applications by Haitians to be re-united with their families in Canada.
The Canadian government has been working towards the goal of re-uniting Haitian families affected by the earthquake as quickly as possible. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said that to date close to 95 percent of applications submitted before April 1 have been processed for Haitians wanting to move to Canada to be with their families. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) continues to fast-track these applications. Haitian applications are being processed in just three months while the average is otherwise usually 27 months. Minister Kenney said that there has never before been a faster processing rate for applications processed under special measures resulting from a humanitarian disaster.
CIC will continue to receive and process applications under the Haiti special measures, and is committed to making decisions on applications within 12 weeks of the end of the month applications are received.
Immediately after the earthquake, CIC helped unite Haitian children with the Canadian parents who were in the process of adopting them. In just six weeks, 203 Haitian children were successfully united with their new Canadian families. Normally, it takes two years for the Government of Canada, the provinces and the territories to process 200 adoption cases.
"We can all be proud of the contribution of Canadian citizens and organizations that responded quickly and are continuing their work in Haiti," said International Co-operation Minister Beverley Oda. She confirmed Canada’s strong commitment to the long-term reconstruction of Haiti by announcing that the Canadian government’s current pledge to Haiti totals over $1 billion. It is likely the reconstruction will take at least 10 years so a sustained and long-term effort is necessary. Canada is positioned to maintain a leadership role.