CILA steering committee member Vance Langford was invited to present to the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) on May 31, 2022.
Speaking on behalf of CILA, Mr. Langford provided insights on Bill C-242, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (temporary resident visas for parents and grandparents).
Among its proposals, Bill C-242 seeks to allow Super Visa applicants to obtain foreign health care insurance approved by the Canadian government, extend the length of time a parent or grandparent can remain in Canada, and reduce the minimum income requirement.
Video footage of the session including Mr. Langord’s opening remarks and responses to questions is available here.
A summary of Mr. Langford’s opening remarks is available as follows:
“Regarding the amendments proposed by Bill C-242, there are diverse views among CILA members. We absolutely support programs that will streamline procedures and facilitate family reunification, while maintaining the integrity of our immigration system and social systems, including health care. We strongly oppose abuse by agents and members of the public that would take advantage of our fair and generous immigration system.
Bill C-242 or the Reuniting Families Act proposes to amend IRPA with respect to Super Visas:
1) to provide that a health insurance policy purchased from an insurance company outside Canada that is approved by the Minister satisfies any requirement for private health insurance under subsection 15(4);
Regarding the authorization of foreign health insurance, CILA acknowledges that additional competition in the insurance industry may benefit Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their parents and grandparents who apply for Super Visas.
I did a bit of research and found that there are at least 30 companies in Canada selling private health insurance for Super Visas, so it may be that competition is alive and well. Nevertheless, costs are very high, ranging from about $1,800 to over $5,000 per year for a 70 year old with no pre-existing medical conditions.
There is significant risk associated with authorizing foreign insurance companies. To maintain program integrity, we would not object to a limited number of foreign insurance brokers and underwriters being subject to equivalent standards to brokers and underwriters in Canada.
We also recommend that any authorization of foreign health insurance involve robust information programs to make it clear that only authorized insurance brokers and underwriters are eligible, to avoid the victimization of Canadians and their parents and grandparents.
Bill C-242 also proposes:
2) to extend the period for a temporary resident to enter and remain in Canada to visit a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who is their child or grandchild to five (5) years;
Regarding the proposed extension of the period to enter and remain in Canada under a Super Visa from 2 to 5 years, CILA is not convinced that the increase is necessary or advisable.
I read the transcripts from the May 17 meeting of this Committee and it appears there was a misunderstanding where it was stated that  “The original super visa allows the family to stay for two years over ten years…” and  [if extended to 5 years] “They could come for five months a year for 10 years.”
In fact, the Super Visa authorizes entry for up to 2 years at a time (not 2 years over 10 years). It authorizes multiple entries during its 10 year validity. A person could actually be in Canada for 9 years or more as long as they left every 2 years. Further, a Super Visa holder can apply to extend their temporary resident status from within Canada and if approved, remain for longer than 2 years at time.
CILA foresees that if Super Visa holders are allowed to remain in Canada for up to 5 years at a time during its 10 year validity, they will have little incentive to maintain ties to their country of origin and residence there.
On the contrary, more Super Visa holders may apply for permanent residence in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, flooding what is already a limited category. H&C is an exceptional measure. It is not simply another means of applying for permanent residence in Canada.
There has been and likely will continue to be more demand than supply for parent and grandparent immigrant visas, but it may not be prudent economically to expand this category.
Therefore, the importance of the Super Visa to facilitate family reunification on an albeit temporary basis is critical, especially if Canada is going to continue to attract strong economic immigrants. Potential immigrants will need to know that Super Visas facilitate parents and grandparents visiting and the process is not too onerous.
In summary, CILA recommends the maintenance of the Super Visa valid for up to 10 years with admission for up to 2 years at a time; and the implementation of a stable, transparent, user- friendly Parents and Grandparent Sponsorship Program.
Finally, Bill C-242 proposes:
3) to require the Minister to prepare a report on reducing the minimum income requirement that a child or grandchild of a foreign national must meet and to cause the report to be tabled in each House of Parliament within one (1) year and to publish the report on the website of IRCC within ten (10) days
Regarding the proposal to require the Minister to prepare a report on reducing the minimum income requirement, CILA fully supports this element of Bill C-242 in further research and reporting.
If the research indicates that reducing the income requirement enables Canadian citizens and permanent residents to leverage the benefits of parents and grandparents to work more hours, access education and increase household income, then we would support a reasonable reduction in the minimum income requirement.”