Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale arrives at a commons committee briefing on the issue of asylum seekers irregularly entering Canada from the United States in Ottawa, on Oct. 5, 2017.

A decision by the Trump administration to end a temporary residency permit program that has allowed almost 60,000 Haitians to live and work in the United States has the Canadian government on alert for a potential new surge of asylum seekers at the border.

The Homeland Security Department said late Monday that conditions in Haiti have improved significantly, so the benefit will be extended one last time – until July 2019 – to give Haitians time to prepare to return home.

Haitians were placed on notice earlier this year, and, few months later, waves of people began crossing illegally into Canada from the U.S. to claim asylum, catching the Liberals off guard when the crowds began to number more than 200 people a day.

Story continues below advertisement

A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said while Canada remains an "open and welcoming country to people seeking refuge," anyone entering Canada must do so "through the proper channels."

"Entering irregularly is not a 'free ticket' into Canada,"' said Hursh Jaswal late Monday.

"There are rigorous rules to be followed and the same robust assessment process applies. Those who are determined to be genuinely at risk, are welcomed. Those who are determined not to be in need of Canada's protection, are removed."

"We're following it very carefully, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said, adding the physical apparatus required for the RCMP and border guards to deal with an influx is in place, as are contingency plans for a variety of "what if" scenarios.

The surge this summer prompted an outreach campaign to Haitian communities in the U.S. to counter misinformation about Canada's immigration program circulating through social and traditional media channels and blamed for some of the new arrivals.

The misinformation – and the government campaign to counter it – continue.

Liberal MP Emmanuel Dubourg said that the recent announcement that Canada will accept close to one million immigrants over the next three years ended up as a story in the Haitian press about Canada opening its doors to a million immigrants this year. It was framed as proof Haitians were welcome.

Story continues below advertisement

Dubourg said he called the paper two weeks ago to clear things up but not before he realized the story had been shared hundreds of times on Facebook.

He said there is a great deal of uncertainty in the Haitian community, but the message needs to get out that Canada isn't necessarily a default option. He'll be taking that to New York on Tuesday in his second trip to the U.S. for outreach purposes.

"I'm there to inform them: be careful before you make a decision," he said in an interview Monday.

Dubourg, who is Haitian, will also be trying to clear up a misconception that asylum is simple to obtain in Canada.

He said statistics he has seen suggest the acceptance rate for Haitians who arrived over the summer now sits at 10 per cent, down from about 50 per cent previously. The Immigration and Refugee Board was unable to immediately confirm that number.

About 437,000 people live legally in the United States with what's known as temporary protected status, meaning they can't be deported back to their home countries because it is unsafe.

Story continues below advertisement

The U.S. extended temporary protected status to Haitians after the 2010 earthquake, as did Canada, but Ottawa resumed deportations there this year. Some 262,000 Salvadorans are also awaiting word of a decision on their status, as it's set to expire in March.

The Liberals have been reaching out to the Hispanic community, too.

Liberal MPs Pablo Rodriguez and Randy Boissonault travelled to Miami and New York late last week and over the weekend as both speak Spanish.

"We have upcoming MP-led outreach trips to New York, Texas and California where we will continue to clear up misconceptions circulating about Canada's system," said Jaswal.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies