A Statistics Canada study has found that 72% of government-sponsored refugees still rely on welfare programs two years after arrival, and 35% are still dependent after ten years.
As reported by Blacklock’s Reporter, StatsCan associated the increase in dependence on government assistance for refugees with the Chretien government passing Bill C-11, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, in 2001.
The report comes as the Trudeau government plans to bring in record-setting numbers of immigrants and refugees in the coming years. The federal Liberals have overseen the acceptance of over 25,000 Syrian refugees, primarily government-sponsored, and plans on accepting 40,000 refugees from Afghanistan.
Overall, the feds are looking to admit over 75,000 refugees in 2022.
With the acceptance of more refugees, questions regarding Canada’s growing backlog of applicants of future citizens, permanent residents, international students and more have reached more than 1.8 million.
The Trudeau government was also one of the few countries to admit refugees during the pandemic, bringing in around 7,000 in 2020. The original plan had been to bring in 30,000.
Previously, the 1976 Immigration Act had made it mandatory for newcomers to demonstrate they had work skills and the ability to be economically independent. The Chretien government disposed of the requirement, so refugees no longer had to prove they were unlikely to rely on social assistance.
The report showed that compared to the 35% rate for government-sponsored refugees, 23% of privately sponsored refugees relied on welfare ten years after coming to Canada.
The StatsCan report stated that becoming dependent on government “is less likely for privately sponsored refugees who are more likely to have family or friends in Canada and are better positioned to find employment through sponsors.”
Bill C-11 was supposed to be an “overhaul of the immigration and refugee determination system,” said then-Immigration Minister Elinor Caplan.
Then-leader of the Canadian Alliance Party Stockwell Day had voiced opposition to the bill, saying that refugees could “remain in Canada as long as their claim is working its way through the cumbersome refugee determination process” while they can “claim Canadian social benefits, applying for welfare and health cards.”
An alternative to the policy was proposed in a 2002 Commons hearing by David Davis, a lawyer for the National Indo-Canadian Council. Davis advocated for allowing any Canadian citizen to sponsor anyone regardless of their relationship with that person.
“Why not allow a Canadian citizen or a Canadian permanent resident to sponsor one individual regardless of their relationship?” said Davis. “As long as that person is willing to financially sponsor that individual and make sure they look after their interests and they don’t go on welfare I wouldn’t think there would be a concern from Immigration Canada.”