Canada joined the international community in marking International Migrants Day on December 18.
Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, noted the occasion along with Foreign Affairs Minister, Chrystia Freeland, and Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s Minister of International Development and La Francophonie.
In a joint a statement, the ministers referred to the day as “an opportunity to remember the rights, contributions and needs of migrants worldwide.”
“Throughout history, migration has been a means for people to overcome adversity and seek a better life for themselves and their families,” the ministers said. “There are currently more than 244 million migrants around the world, and one in 10 are under the age of 15.”
That is a story Hussen for one knows well — his parents fled war in Somalia and sent him to Canada in 1992 at the age of 16 to live with family there.
“Canada has a long proud tradition of immigration, and one in five Canadians is born abroad,” the statement continues. “Migrants contribute to the identity and long-term prosperity of our country, enhance the cultural richness and diversity of our communities, bring new skills to our labour force, and contribute to innovation and the economy.”
The ministers praised “safe, orderly, and regular migration” and said Canada must continue to protect migrant human rights and “to eliminate all forms of discrimination, including against women, girls, and persecuted minorities.”
Nearly one million new immigrants will settle in Canada between 2018 and 2020 under Canada’s ambitious new multi-year immigration levels plan, which Hussen unveiled in November.
Montreal Attorney David Cohen, senior partner at the Canadian immigration law firm of Campbell Cohen and the founder of CIC News, added his voice to those marking International Migrants Day.
“Today is an important day of the year when we should all take a minute to consider the role immigrants play in making Canada a better, more successful society,” he said.
“Canada was built by immigrants and its future depends on the talents and essential contributions of newcomers.”
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