1 min

Immigration left out

BOB GALLAGHER. Pleased to be equal. Credit: Image by Mark Bogdanovic

The omnibus bill won’t help if you’re trying to get your same-sex partner into Canada.

It completely ignores the Immigration Act. And the group Equality For Gays And Lesbians Everywhere is glad of it.

“Although equal immigration rights are of crucial importance to our communities, including them in the omnibus bill would inevitably involve application of the one-year cohabitation requirement,” says an EGALE analysis of the legislation. “This would be unworkable in the immigration context, since couples who live in different countries would be unable to meet the cohabitation requirement.”

The idea is to eventually allow gay and lesbian partners to fall under the “family class” of immigrants. Gay couples can only apply under humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

“EGALE and the organization LEGIT (Lesbian And Gay Immigration Task Force) have discussed this, and we are in agreement that it is preferable to see immigration issues addressed in separate legislation which can be better tailored to the unique needs of the immigration context.”

Such changes were promised more than a year ago, under a different minister. EGALE wants an actual timetable.

EGALE points out two other omissions from the omnibus legislation.

One refers to forcing spouses to testify against each other. “The spousal compellability provisions of the Evidence Act have not been extended, because the government is currently considering whether to repeal these provisions altogether.

“The ‘marital exemption’ to the higher age of consent has not been affected, since the whole age of consent provisions are currently under review. EGALE is assessing the government report on these provisions, with a view to involving ourselves in the review process.”