Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

July 13, 2010 14:03 ET

Citizenship and Immigration Canada Secures Fast Family Reunification for Haitians Affected by Earthquake

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 13, 2010) - Special immigration measures designed to help reunite Canadians with family members affected by the January earthquake in Haiti have been a clear success, according to Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.

At an Ottawa news conference yesterday, Minister Kenney announced that in the six months since the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has made decisions on applications for more than 2,300 Haitians to help them reunite with family in Canada.

Under the Haiti Special Measures Program, decisions have been made on approximately 95 percent of cases received before April 1, 2010, including those received prior to the earthquake. That is more than five times the number of applications processed in 2009 for the same time-frame in the categories covered under the special measures. CIC continues to receive 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. 

"This is a phenomenal result for those Canadians whose loved ones were affected by the terrible earthquake," said Minister Kenney. "This represents the fastest and largest special immigration effort of its kind, following a natural disaster." 

In the weeks following the earthquake, CIC also quickly united 203 adopted Haitian children with their Canadian families through Operation Stork. In the space of a few weeks, CIC completed as many Haitian adoption cases as are normally completed in about two years.

The Special Measures have also resulted in extensions of status for some 3,700 students and temporary workers from Haiti living in Canada, for whom application fees have been waived. 

Minister Kenney reported that since the earthquake, 2,500 Haitians have been granted temporary resident visas or permits allowing them to come to Canada, often to accompany family members affected by the earthquake. 

In tandem with CIC's special measures, the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) has prioritized treatment of Haitian asylum claims, finalizing about 1100 such claims as of May 30, 2010.

"I would like to thank the hard-working officials at CIC for their tremendous efforts under difficult circumstances to deliver these results, which has helped hundreds of families to reunite so quickly," Minister Kenney concluded.

Contact Information

  • Celyeste Power
    Minister's Office
    Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    CIC Media Relations
    Communications Branch
    Citizenship and Immigration Canada