Citizenship and Immigration Committee Resumes for Fall Session

September 04, 2021
Ottawa Journal (October 04 – October 08, 2021)
David Tilson, M.P. (Dufferin-Caledon)

The Citizenship and Immigration Committee resumed last week for the fall session. I have been a member and Chair of this committee since February 03, 2009. On September 29th, I was re-elected as Chair by the other members of the committee. Our fall schedule will prove to be busy and full, as we set out to examine several important pieces of legislation before the House of Commons.

    Committees are essential to the parliamentary process by performing three important roles: 1) they allow for the detailed examination of complex matters before Parliament, which can be more easily done in smaller groups instead of an entire Chamber; 2) they provide Members of Parliament an opportunity to hear from Canadians and experts on issues of national concern and to have these presentations on public record; and 3) they offer Members a chance to thoroughly investigate the details of policies and thus, gain extensive knowledge in particular areas.

    In my role as Chair, I oversee the committee and act as the spokesperson for it. All matters pertaining to the committee are vetted through the Chair. Furthermore, the Chair is charged with the responsibility of maintaining order and decorum during proceedings, while also making rulings on all questions of order and procedure. Once the Chair has made a decision, it cannot be debated; however, it may be appealed to the committee. The only time the Chair of a Committee may vote is in a case where there has been a tie, and therefore, must be broken.

    The Citizenship and Immigration Committee is currently studying several issues, which have attracted a great deal of national attention in recent months. The first piece of legislation we are studying is Bill C-35 (An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act - Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants Act). This proposed legislation was introduced into the House of Commons by our Government on June 08, 2010, and aims to strengthen the rules governing those who charge a fee for advice and services for immigration matters. Unfortunately, at present, loopholes exist in the current system, which allow for unscrupulous consultants to exploit immigrants. If passed, the Act would make it a crime for unauthorized individuals to provide immigration advice for a fee. It would also amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, to ensure fees for immigration services could only be charged by authorized consultants, lawyers, and notaries who are in good standing of a governing body, authorized by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

    Another important Bill our Committee will be studying is C-467 (An Act to amend the Citizenship Act – children born abroad). This is a Private Member’s Bill, introduced into the House of Commons on March 03, 2010. This proposed legislation seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, to provide that a child born abroad to, or adopted abroad by, a citizen employed outside Canada in or with the Canadian Armed Forces, the federal public administration or the public service of a province be considered like a child born in Canada. Currently, children born abroad to Canadian government workers are considered under the Citizenship Act as first-generation Canadians born abroad. This, in turn, impacts their children, in that they are considered a second generation born abroad and are not eligible for Canadian citizenship if born outside Canada.

    In addition to examining these involved bills, our committee will also be continuing our study of immigration application processing wait times for investor and family class applications, which we began during the spring session.

    I’m anxious to work with my colleagues to thoroughly examine and have a better understanding of these complex legislative matters, as many of them are issues often raised by my constituents in this riding. I look forward to the coming months and the resulting reports our Committee will prepare for presentation to the House of Commons.