Canada’s Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration is conducting a study that will examine the impact of COVID-19 on the Canadian immigration system over up to eight sessions. When the study is completed, the committee will report its findings to the House. The government then has 120 days to table a comprehensive response, but it is not obligated to change its policy.
This particular study will examine the following questions relating to the impact of the coronavirus on Canadian immigration:
While the House is in session, the committee meets at 3:30 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. The next meetings are scheduled for November 16-18. Canadian Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino was invited to appear before the committee on November 25 and December 2.
Travel restrictions affecting immigrant’s mental health
Among the first results, the mental health of immigrants and their Canadian family members was examined in two scenarios related to family separation.
Faces of Advocacy is a grassroots organization created to reunite families in Canada during COVID-19 travel restrictions. They say they are directly responsible for the exemption for extended family members, announced on October 2.
The group listed the mental health of 1,200 members at the end of August. The survey used validated mental health rating scales for depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress in civilians. The results are not diagnostic, but offer insight into the mental health effects resulting from travel restrictions.
Although 49% of respondents say they have never been diagnosed with a mental illness, just over 69% would screen positive for symptoms of clinical depression. Additionally, 16 percent of respondents had a history of self-harm or suicidal ideation before the travel restrictions, but after their family separation, that percentage nearly doubled to 30 percent.
Spouse sponsorship advocates were created during the pandemic. This is another grassroots movement, created to advocate for expedited family reunification with pending spousal sponsorship applications in Canada.
Their survey took insight into the mental health of 548 respondents, who had been separated from their families for months, if not years at a time. Of these, one reported:
In the survey, the mental state of the expired confirmation of permanent residence, or COPR holders, was also mentioned. These are people whose permanent residence has been approved but who were unable to travel to Canada before their documents expired. As a result, many of them cannot come to Canada without a letter of authorization from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, and they have already turned their lives upside down in their home country. The evidence includes a series of tweets intended to show “the pain, agony [and] mental torture” suffered by COPR holders.
Reference is taken from CIC News
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