In Climate Migration

Canada has taken another positive step to help the growing problem of displaced people.

Canada has invoked yet another temporary measure (outside the normal immigration streams) on a humanitarian basis to help the displaced Sudanese. By calling such action a “family-based humanitarian pathway”, the Cannadian government has been careful not to classify such individuals as refugees, but has designated a separate stream which allows these individuals to side step, for policy and processing reasons, the overburdened refugee system.

According to the IOM (International Organization for Migration), as of December 2023, over 300,000 people have now left the city of Wad Madani, the second largest city in Sudan. The panic, fear and instability created by the conflict between Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Force has created the mass displacement with many having crossed into South Sudan. This now brings the total of displaced Sudanese nationals to over 7 million individuals with 1.5 million living in temporary conditions in neighbouring countries According to the IOM, over 25 million Sudanese are now in urgent need of humanitarian help and protection.

Given the crisis, the Canadian government announced as of December 28, 2023 a temporary immigration measure to reunite such displaced Sudanese nationals with any Canadian citizens or permanent resident relatives in Canada. Although specific details of the Canadian plan have not been revealed, it is expected that the relationship requirement will be broad and the Canadian or permanent resident relative will need to meet a financial threshold before being accepted as a sponsor.  Canada just took  a step that is not too dissimilar several weeks ago to assist Haitians, Colombians and Venezuelans in the same manner.

Such temporary measures are welcome and address the issues on a reactive and sporadic basis. However Canada needs an established policy, and not ad hoc temporary directives. A firm policy can be achieved by revamping both the economic and family sponsorship routes to accommodate the growing number of displaced people who have been created due to war, conflict, political turmoil or climate change, all of which reasons can simultaneously be both causes and effects.

Nevertheless we await further details as to the specifics of the new Sudanese initiative.