There is no question that Canada’s decision to use a lottery system to award permanent resident status to sponsored parents and grandparents is wrong in many ways.
It is arbitrary.
It is unfair to those who were already in the queue and have waited for a very long time.
It will create a great deal of stress for applicants and the families of those whose status remains insecure and who will, every year, anxiously await the outcome of the next lottery... until the parents are too old.
The problem is that the previous system was badly dysfunctional, too.
Asking Canadian families to wait years and years for a decision is also wrong, especially when we are referring to ageing parents and grandparents.
How will they make decisions about long-term health concerns, for example?
That many families are able to bring their parents and grandparents to Canada on a form of temporary status (called the “super visa”) was some relief, but that temporary status also is, by its nature, insecure.
And it was not available to other family members who may have very strong emotional connections to the parents and grandparents.
Moreover, the “super visa” becomes unavailable when, arguably, it becomes most important – when a parent or grandparent has age related health issues.
This is often the moment when the families need each other the most.
But of course Canadian officials (and many Canadians) are worried about the cost of health care for those who are not contributing to the economy.
If they can obtain or maintain private health insurance that is fine, but that will become more and more difficult as they age.
Will these families find themselves sending elderly family members to the home country at the very moment when they need each other the most?
I do not envy the officials who have to make these policy decisions, or the families that have to cope with them.
Fixing one problem often creates another one.
– Gregory James
• Gregory James of Gregory James Immigration Law Firm is an immigration lawyer with over 29 years of experience, a former senior manager at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, and a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada. He is based in Toronto and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-538-1301.