In a move emphasizing the human element of immigration, Canada’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) Minister, Marc Miller, has announced a renewed focus on family reunification. This comes amidst concerns over application backlogs and delays faced by families seeking to reunite under the federal program, particularly in Quebec.

The announcement acknowledges the frustration and hardship experienced by families separated due to bureaucratic hurdles. While the federal government aims to address these issues by streamlining processes and reducing wait times, Minister Miller highlights the added complexity arising from Quebec’s distinct role in immigration selection.

“We’re talking about people who are husbands, wives, parents, grandparents, who are waiting unsuccessfully to be reunited with their families in Quebec,” said Miller in an interview with Radio-Canada, calling the backlog a humanitarian crisis.

“For me … it’s a question of social justice.”


Quebec, with its own set of immigration policies and priorities, can impact the processing of family reunification applications. Minister Fraser underscores the importance of collaboration between the federal government and Quebec to navigate these complexities and ensure a smoother process for families.

The human cost of these delays is brought to light through individual stories shared in the article. Families facing prolonged separation due to bureaucratic hurdles demonstrate the real-world impact of slow processing times.

This announcement signifies Canada’s commitment to upholding family reunification as a cornerstone of its immigration system, even amidst challenges arising from provincial autonomy. By prioritizing collaboration and streamlining processes, the government aims to reunite families and alleviate the burden faced by families currently separated by bureaucracy.

Addressing Canada’s Immigration Backlog

Immigration Minister Miller announced that his department will begin processing all applications for permanent residence from family reunification applicants who have received the necessary documents from Quebec. This amounts to roughly 20,500 applications as of January 31st, 2024.

Miller further stated that if the application backlog continues to grow, his ministry will continue to grant permanent residency within standard timeframes, even if it means exceeding the immigration limits set by the Quebec government.

The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government already faces a lawsuit concerning family reunification delays. However, the lawyer leading the lawsuit against the Quebec government, Maxime Lapointe, has indicated he will drop the case if Ottawa follows through with its plan.

It’s important to note that currently, spouses in Quebec seeking to sponsor their partners face an average processing time of 34 months, significantly longer than the national average of 12 months.

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Calgary Immigration Lawyer Evelyn Ackah said,

Calgary Immigration Lawyer Evelyn Ackah

As a Canadian immigration lawyer, I strongly applaud the recent announcement by IRCC that will prioritize addressing the backlog of permanent residence applications from family class sponsors. Family reunification is a cornerstone of Canada’s immigration system, fostering strong communities and enriching our nation’s social fabric.

The delays faced by families seeking to reunite have been a source of immense frustration and hardship. I commend the IRCC for taking decisive action to streamline processes and reduce wait times, even if it means exceeding established immigration limits.

Canada’s reputation as a welcoming and compassionate nation is built, in part, on our commitment to reuniting families. Seeing the IRCC prioritize this core value is encouraging for all those navigating the immigration process.

If you are a sponsor currently experiencing delays or require assistance navigating the family reunification process, I urge you to seek legal counsel. A qualified immigration lawyer can help ensure your application is complete and filed correctly, maximizing your chances of a successful outcome.


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