Honour killings, marriage fraud new topics in revamped immigration guide
Published Tuesday, April 2, 2013 2:43PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 3, 2013 6:28AM EDT
The federal government has unveiled a revamped guide to help immigrants settle in Canada -- a document that, for the first time, informs newcomers about practices that “will not be tolerated in Canada,” including female genital mutilation, honour crimes and marriage fraud.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney unveiled the overhauled Welcome to Canada guide at a news conference in Vancouver Tuesday.
The revamped guide is now twice as long as previous versions at 146 pages. While it includes basic practical information, such as how to obtain a health card or driver’s license, access language classes or open a bank account, it also states that “for example, female genital mutilation and so-called honour-based crimes are barbaric and will not be tolerated in Canada,” Kenney said.
The guide notes that forced marriages and polygamy are illegal, and that those who commit marriage fraud could face “severe” penalties.
Kenney said 90 per cent of the guide contains useful, practical advice. However, the government felt it was necessary to be clear about where it stands on “some of those more difficult issues.”
“What we’re trying to do with this guide, Welcome to Canada, and all sorts of other services is just to promote rapid and successful integration -- cultural, economic and social,” Kenney later told CTV’s Power Play. “And one of the issues we’re trying to get at is to make people fully Canadians, adopt Canadian values, and realize that some of these ideas have no place in Canada.”
Also new to the guide are stories from immigrants who have successfully settled in Canada, with advice for newcomers. Kenney said officials avoided using “government-ese” when designing the guide, and asked immigrants for help so it was written “in a very relevant language.”
The guide is offered to all immigrants upon arrival in Canada in hard-copy form, as well as in PDF and e-book form.
Canada admits between 255,000 and 260,000 permanent residents every year, Kenney said. A comprehensive guide to moving to and settling in Canada will help new immigrants not only establish basic services, but also find jobs that match their skill set.
“All of us as Canadians, regardless of where we come from, can agree that the goal of integration should be the realization of the potential of the people who make Canada their new home,” Kenney told the Vancouver news conference. “So that they can work at their skill level, fully contributing to the productivity of Canada’s economy.”
Along with the revamped welcome guide, the federal government also launched a new online tool to help new immigrants devise a “customized settlement plan” once they arrive in Canada.
The Living in Canada Wizard asks users a series of questions and, based on their answers, offers a personalized settlement plan. Newcomers can take that to their local settlement agency in order to devise a more comprehensive plan.