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May 3, 2001
Toronto states clear position on immigration and refugee bill
  
In a submission today at hearings in Toronto on Bill C-11, the Immigration and
Refugee Protection Act, Toronto City Council recommended that the federal
government consult directly with municipalities on immigration and refugee
issues.

"One of every four immigrants to Canada live in Toronto," said Councillor David
Miller, chair of the Working Group on Immigration and Refugee Issues. "We must
find ways to make them feel welcome and realize their potential contribution to
our city. To do this fully, we need to be at the table with Ottawa, discussing
ways to remove barriers and support newcomers' settlement and integration."

The need to speak directly with Ottawa on immigration and refugee issues is
part of an overall City Charter campaign by the City to have the authority to
work more closely with other orders of government. "We are seeking a new
relationship in order to address important urban issues, including immigration
and settlement," said Chief Administrative Officer Michael Garrett.

Other key recommendations made to the House of Commons Standing Committee on
Citizenship and Immigration include:
· Bill C-11 should provide strategic directions for the Government of Canada to
take an active role in helping immigrants and refugees settle and integrate.
· The Government of Canada should consult with professional and technical
associations to find ways to speed up the professional recognition and skills
upgrading of foreign-trained workers.
· The Government of Canada should reimburse municipalities for public health,
social assistance and hostel costs related to refugees, and social assistance
costs to immigrants because of sponsorship breakdown.
· Bill C-11 should state clearly that undocumented refugee children should be
admitted to schools without federal authorization.
· Bill C-11 should maintain the current status and rights of permanent
residents.

The City welcomes several proposals in Bill C-11, including the provision of
· Separate sections and objectives for immigrants and refugees
· Inclusion of key principles and policy issues, such as protection of equality
rights in legislation
· Facilitation of the immigration of economic class immigrants and skilled
worker entry
· Expansion of family class immigrants and facilitation of family reunification
· Incorporation of the principle of the "best interests of the child"
· A faster and more efficient refugee determination system

Toronto City Council's position affirms that immigration and settlement are key
priorities for the City of Toronto. The summary of Council's submission is
available on the City's Web site at www.city.to
ronto.on.ca
and in the following languages: French, Chinese, Greek,
Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.


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