Jason Kenney has been racing across the country, making announcements about changes to the immigration system at every stop. Vancouver one day, Calgary the next . . . today it was Winnipeg. It’s enough to make you dizzy!
Maybe it’s making him dizzy too, because today he went too far in announcing two additional changes that will “help transform Canada’s immigration system” – not, unfortunately, for the better. These changes will make Canada’s immigration system one in which applicants are subject to arbitrary rule changes in mid game. People who applied in good faith under one set of rules could find themselves out in the cold when the Minister changes his mind about what kind of immigrants he wants.
One proposed change would allow new regulations, once approved, to apply retrospectively to people who have already submitted an application. “These changes” CIC gushed in their press release, “would help ensure that immigrants are chosen based on Canada’s current needs and priorities”. That will be a real hit with applicants and do wonders for Canada’s reputation for fairness worldwide! It will be like entering a hockey tournament and having the referee blow his whistle and tossing you out in the middle of the game because the league has just announced new rules requiring everyone to play with a baseball bat and one running shoe.
A similar change CIC says, would help then ensure FSW applicants meet current labour market needs. It would allow new rules set out in Ministerial Instructions to apply to people who have already submitted an application.
This is how CIC explains it in their press release. “For example, instructions could place a priority on a specific occupation, such as doctors, and have existing applications from doctors processed first, regardless of where they are in the queue.” To me it sounds like being at the front of the line at a club when the bouncer decides to let in “The 4 Guys” from the Captain Morgan Rum commercial because they’re trending on Twitter.
Some of the changes Kenney has announced recently make sense in terms of modernising our immigration system – but this emphasis on treating immigrants as economic units instead of people and throwing out any vestiges of procedural fairness demeans Canada.