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Let’s Not Rely on the ‘luck of the draw’ to Reunite Families

By Anthony Harrilall 

Many people dream of immigrating to Canada in hopes of starting a new life. In fact, some people would do whatever it takes to land on our soil. The dream of settling in Canada is one that individuals from around the world work hard to achieve, and once they arrive that hard work doesn’t stop. Personally, I have friends who work two part-time jobs while being enrolled in full-time studies. One of them works nightshifts at a warehouse, driving forklifts in the freezer department. He still somehow managed to make it to our 8:00 am lectures in our 4th year of University. This friend as well as others I know work harder than some people who were born and raised in Canada. Many of them are working in order to save money so that they can afford to sponsor their parents or grandparents, who can hopefully join them in Canada and reap the rewards of their hard work.

Usually, a person’s hard work will result in them gaining some type of reward. These rewards can be in the form of high grades, promotions, or some sort of recognition.  In the case of those who hope to sponsor their parents and/or grandparents, they should rightfully think that their contributions to Canadian society will increase their chances of being granted sponsorship, as they have built a good reputation for themselves. Essentially, they would have higher priority in the selection process over those who have been in Canada for a shorter period of time and therefore have contributed less to Canadian society. This is not to say that one person is more deserving than the other, but that there should be some sort of guideline in the system that would benefit those that deserve it.

Well sadly, this is not the case. On October 4th of this year, Liberal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced that Canada would be reintroducing a controversial lottery-based immigration system for those who wish to sponsor their parents or grandparents to Canada

The system picks 10,000 random names from a pool of applicants, and those individuals who are picked will be invited to submit applications to Immigrations, Refugees & Citizenship Canada. Selection from the pool of names is completely random and there are no minimum requirements to apply. 

Marco Mendicino claims that this system is equitable and attracts the best and brightest from around the world. However, many people who went through this system would beg to differ. There are instances where people who have been in Canada for over 5 years simply don’t get selected in the draw, as reported by CBC. It is seen as unfair by many because those who have been here for less time end up getting selected. There are also instances where people are selected but do not have suitable accommodations for sponsorship and therefore a spot is wasted because their application is denied.

The system is essentially a lottery and selections are based on sheer luck. We should not be supporting a system that is falsely labelled as equitable. I believe that the people who go through these systems should be able to voice their opinions and provide constructive feedback that can highlight weaknesses. That should be a basic right that they have which will help avoid unequitable systems like this being from implemented again. I am not arguing that the people going through the process should be the ones creating the system, but their voices should be heard since they are the main stakeholders in this situation.

Organizations around the world consider their clients as their most important stakeholders. They always include their clients in their strategic planning processes and it usually contributes to the organization’s success. Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada should involve these stakeholders more so that they can actually ensure that their programs and immigration systems are as equitable as they claim they are. All in all, Canada is known for opening its doors to those who would like to call Canada home, and we should always keep it that way. If we want to ensure a smooth welcome, we should make our processes more predictable and not rely on the luck of the draw.