Canada’s immigration minister wants to make good on mandate letter commitments for refugees and undocumented workers

Shelby Thevenot, Kareem El-Assal
Published: July 11, 2022

We asked Sean Fraser what he personally wants to achieve during his term as Canada's minister of immigration.

There were four items on Fraser's bucket list, all found on his mandate letter, a document from the prime minister which outlines the objectives that each minister is expected to complete during their term.

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"I want to successfully resettle and make good on our commitments to Afghan refugees and to Ukrainians who are in search of safe haven," Fraser told CIC News on June 21.

Canada is committed to welcoming at least 40,000 Afghan refugees. Since August 2021, about 16,370 Afghans have come to Canada. For Ukrainians fleeing from the war in Ukraine, Canada has introduced the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET). This allows Ukrainians to come to Canada temporarily. So far, 55,488 Ukrainians have landed in Canada since January 1, 2022.

Fraser also said he want to be the immigration minister who returns application processing to the service standard. Following the pandemic, IRCC's inventory across all lines of business has grown to about 2.4 million persons.

"Those are the big ticket items that everybody wants me do," Fraser said. "There's two things that I really care about—in addition to those—that I want to do while I am the minister of immigration."

Fraser first named the Employment Mobility Pathways Pilot, which allows refugee candidates who appear to have the potential to succeed in the Canadian labour market to apply under an economic immigration program.

"The EMPP, Employment Mobility Pathways Pilot, has the potential to change the way the world thinks about refugees, not as people who are in need of charity, but as people who arrive with a lot more than the contents of their suitcase," Fraser said. "We can teach people that refugee resettlement doesn't have to be motivated only by altruism, but also by our economic self-interest."

Finally, Fraser said undocumented workers who have contributed to Canada over an extended period of time should be allowed to have status.

"I think it's the right thing to do," Fraser said. "And we're going to continue digging on a policy to amend measures on implied status to certain people who have been here for a lengthy period of time."

Special interview series with Minister Fraser

CIC News sat down with the minister on June 21, 2022.

Over the coming weeks, CIC News is releasing a special series of articles elaborating on the interview with Minister Fraser on topics including:

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