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CILA’s letter to public safety minister Marco Mendicino
By CILA on November 18, 2021
October 27, 2021
The Honourable Marco Mendicino P.C., M.P.
Minister of Public Safety
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Dear Minister Mendicino,
The Canadian Immigration Lawyers Association (CILA) congratulates you on your re-appointment to cabinet. CILA commends you for your work as Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a challenging period in Canadian history. We also applaud the Department of Public Safety for their hard work and professionalism keeping Canada’s border functioning during the pandemic. We wish you ongoing success and look forward to continuing to partner with you in your new role as we jointly pursue our shared objective to enhance Canada’s safety and prosperity.
CILA was recently founded in January 2021 to promote justice and fairness in citizenship and immigration law. Our main goal is to support improvements to Canada’s immigration policies and operations. This includes supporting your department’s efforts to effectively manage the border.
We recognize that ministers and civil servants have been requesting timely comment on breaking immigration and border security issues. CILA is well positioned to assist as our members have extensive experience as practitioners and a long history of volunteering and commenting on all aspects of immigration and national security issues. CILA is enthusiastic about sharing our expertise and insights in these consultations to help your department achieve its objectives.
As Canada continues to re-open the border, CILA wishes to draw attention to what we believe are noteworthy objectives for your department:
- Full Transparency on CBSA’s Operational Instructions and Guidelines: We ask that your department make all travel guidance provided to CBSA officers available to the Canadian public. This will reduce challenges at the border for CBSA as it will give the public a better understanding of how to comply with Canada’s travel laws, policies, and procedures. We note that IRCC already does this on its website.
- Re-introducing An Act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and the Canada Border Services Act: CILA calls on the federal government to re-introduce and pass legislative reform so that Canada can finally have an independent oversight body for the CBSA. Creating your government’s proposed “Public Complaints and Review Commission” would allow the public to submit comments and complaints that would be used to improve border services. Providing civilian oversight of the CBSA can help to increase the public’s trust in the important work of your department and continue to give Canadians confidence that they can expect consistent, fair, and equal treatment at the border.
- Flagpoling: CILA asks the CBSA to lift blackout periods on ‘flagpoling’ as soon as possible. Now that IRCC has introduced many initiatives during the pandemic to minimize the need to flagpole, CILA stresses it is even more critical that CBSA eliminate its flagpoling restrictions, which are unjustified and unlawful to begin with. Lifting restrictions on flagpoling hours will be beneficial for CBSA, applicants themselves, and our economy. For example, it will help to alleviate the ongoing labour shortages that are slowing Canada’s economic recovery.
- Advocating for Global Recognition of Mixed Doses: While it is welcome news that the U.S. will recognize Canadian travellers with mixed COVID-19 vaccine doses, many other countries do not have this policy in place, which further complicates international travel for Canadians. CILA encourages the Canadian government to continue to advocate for the global recognition of Canadians who have taken mixed doses.
CILA congratulates you once again. We look forward to scheduling a meeting at your earliest convenience to discuss how we can help you fulfil your mandate.
The CILA Steering Committee
Barbara Jo Caruso