Parliamentary Immigration Officer

In the August 1, 2022 edition of the True North publication, Rabea Allos, a co-founder of the Catholic Refugee Sponsors’ Council (CRSC) makes the case for a parliamentary immigration officer. In his presentation Rabea notes the great contribution of immigrants to the Canadian national society. Sure, he says, there are debates about many aspects of immigration policy in Canada.

Rabea makes the following point: “the federal government’s 2022 immigration target is 431,000. Whether this number is based on any performance criteria is another matter. However, there is no independent Parliamentary Officer to track the functioning of the department for the House of Commons and for the Canadian public.”

The issues revolve around the public’s right to have information regarding retention rates, the several immigration streams including their statistics, intake and exit numbers. Regarding immigrants, IRCC does not publish the numbers of naturalized Canadians who leave Canada. In addition IRCC has not published retention rates for immigrants and refugees.

No data means no problem.

A Parliamentary Immigration officer would “ensure that IRCC operates in an efficient and effective way to ensure program integrity.”

Please read the entire article at this link: Parliamentary Immigration Officer



The WDMR will be celebrated on Sunday September 27. Pope Francis has chosen the theme “Forced Like Jesus to Flee” focusing on internally displaced people (IDP). The Archdiocese of Toronto has prepared an event leading up to the WDMR. Attached is a flyer for the event.

Archdiocese of Toronto – Webinar – Christian Persecution

Date: THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 24Time: 7:00pm Eastern

Speakers: Deacon Rudy Ovcjak (Office for Refugees ORAT); Carl Hetu (Catholic Near East Welfare Association CNEWA); Marie-Claude Lalonde (Aid to the Church in Need ACN)Moderator: Neil MacCarthy (Archdiocese of Toronto)
Please register at:

Please see the article in the Catholic Register on the topic of Christian persecution:  Christian Presence Shrinking


Date: Sunday September 27 10:00am Eastern

Live stream link: www.stmichaelscathedralcom/live

Following the live stream, the Mass along with pre-recorded videos from several guest speakers will be made available on ORAT’s website at and on ORAT’s Facebook page


On Sunday, September 27, 2020, at 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time, the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Mass will be live-streamed for all who would like to join in prayerful celebration and solidarity with our migrant and refugee brothers and sisters.

The link to the live-streamed Mass celebrated by His Grace J. Michael Miller, CSB, Archbishop of Vancouver:



migrants, refugees

On May 13, 2020 Pope Francis issued his document proclaiming the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDMR) with its theme “Like Jesus Christ, Forced to Flee. Welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating internally displaced persons”.

You can read the entire statement from the Pope here: Forced to Flee

Migrants & Refugees Section is a small action-oriented Vatican office personally directed by Pope Francis to ensure that those forced to flee are not shut out or left behind. There are many resources, videos, posters, and documents which expand on this theme. One such document is entitled “Pastoral Orientations on Internally Displaced Persons“.

The Pope discusses this theme in a video “To Know in order to Understand“.

All resources can be downloaded at this site: WDMY 2020

Carving Out New Land of Dreams

Catholic Register – June 7, 2020. Quinton Amundson.

The Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) launched the Land of Dreams garden in 2019. This 30 acre urban farm has provided many newcomers with an opportunity to connect with the land produce fresh food like beets, carrots, kale and spinach and feel empowered to do something good for others.

The article mentions Kamo Zandimen who came to Canada in 2017 along with 287 other Yazidis from Iraq. She says she feels better emotionally, physically and mentally now that she is working on the land. She recalls the devastation on her people in 2014 when ISIL invaded her homeland. One report states that between 2,000 and 5,000 Yazidis were killed. Many Yazidis fled to a nearby mountain. Kamo and her family were among those captured. She was eventually freed after two years. She and her family came to Canada in 2017 welcomed by the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS).

The CCIS offers many services to new comers such as accommodations, counselling, employment workshops and help for children entering school. It has been reported that about 100m people have been farming on this land. Rod Olsen oversees the Land of Dreams and he says he hopes newcomer families could become ecological leaders. Those who farm are from 16 different countries.

Rod sums it up when he says, “They become leaders to teach the rest of us Canadians that this is what the land needs right now.”

Please read the entire article here: New Land of Dreams

New Minister of Immigration for Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced his new cabinet on November 20, 2019. The new minister of Immigration Refugees and Citizenship is the Honourable Marco Mendicino. He is the MP from Eglinton-Lawrence in Toronto. Mr. Mendicino will now be responsible for making the case for immigration policies promised by the Trudeau-led Liberal Party of Canada during the recent federal election.

CRSC congratulates the new Minister and looks forward to collaborating with him and his Ministry.

Federal Election Debate: from a Catholic Perspective

On Thursday October 3, 2019, the Archdiocese of Toronto presented a debate about the federal election from a Catholic perspective. It took place in the large Convention Centre in downtown Toronto. Over one thousand people attended. It was live-streamed to various local parishes and across Canada on the Archdiocesan YouTube channel.

The Moderator for the evening was Don Newman a journalist who has spent his career in journalism. Cardinal Thomas Collins of the Archdiocese gave some opening remarks and a prayer. The panelists included: Garnett Genuis from the Conservative Party for the Alberta riding of Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan; Matthew Green from the NDP Party running in Hamilton; David Haskell from the People’s Party running in Waterloo; Dan Turcotte from the Green Party running in Don Valley East Toronto; Francesco Sorbara from the Liberal Party a Member of Parliament for Vaughan-Woodbridge in Ontario.

The topics for the panel included: Poverty, Christian Persecution, Human Dignity, Immigration & Refugees and Environment. There were questions from the community that were shown on video and the panelists responded.

Closing remarks and prayer were offered by Cardinal Collins.

Please view the entire debate here: Election Debate from a Catholic Perspective

Toronto Celebrates 105th World Day of Migrants & Refugees

St. Philip Neri Parish in Toronto was the scene of the Mass and reception to mark the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees. The day began with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha, the homily by Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick and many concelebrants. In his homily Bishop Kirkpatrick spoke about the gospel passage describing the story of the rich man and the poor man named Lazarus. The rich man did not enter the kingdom of God but the poor man did – he gave service to another. We are like the poor man when we help settle refugees and immigrants to Canada. He also mentioned the Mission Trip to Bangkok Thailand from the Office for Refugee in the Archdiocese of Toronto (ORAT).

Brian & BishopLawrence Saldanha

Archbishop Saldanha with Brian Dwyer from CRSC

Deacon Rudy Ovcjak was the leader of the trip. They managed to interview several families for sponsorship and coming to Canada. The Archdiocese of Toronto will sponsor some of these families, and the Christian Churches in Canada are being asked to sponsor some as well.

Archbishop Saldanha gave a presentation on the situation in Pakistan at this time. He described the political strife, the economic difficulties, and the deterioration of family life. He is very thankful to Canada for being a country to step up in support of Christians from Pakistan.

The video “Stressful Reality” showing the conditions in Pakistan was screened.

Following the presentations some refreshments were served.

Global Compact for Migration

In July 2018 the United Nations along with many governments in the world came to a negotiated agreement entitled “Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.”

Heads of State and Government and other representatives held a meeting in Morocco on December 10 and 11 to reaffirm the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. They are determined to make an important contribution to enhance cooperation on international migration in all its dimensions, and have adopted the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

In the preamble it is clearly stated that refugees and migrants are entitled to the same universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, which must be respected, protected and fulfilled at all times. The Global Compact presents a non-legally binding, cooperative framework that builds on the commitments agreed upon by Member States in the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.

In the section on Guiding Principles, the document states that it strives to create conducive conditions that enable all migrants to enrich our societies through their human, economic and social capacities, and thus facilitate their contributions to sustainable development at every level of society.

With respect to human rights, it states that the compact is based on international human rights law and upholds the principles of non-regression and non-discrimination.

There are 23 objectives presented for safe, orderly and regular migration. Each objective contains a series of commitments as to how this objective might be implemented. Here are some of the objectives:
  1. Minimize the adverse drivers and structural factors that compel people to leave their country of origin
  2. Prevent, combat and eradicate trafficking in persons in the context of international
  3. Provide access to basic services for migrants
  4. Eliminate all forms of discrimination and promote evidence-based public discourse to shape perceptions of migration
  5. Promote faster, safer and cheaper transfer of remittances and foster financial inclusion of migrants


Please read the entire compact at this link: Global Compact for Migration
There is also a section entitled “Implementation”. There was a decision to establish a capacity-building mechanism in the United Nations. This included a connection hub that facilitates integrated solutions, a start-up fund for initial financing, and a global knowledge platform.
In terms of follow-up and review, there were several items. These included:
  1. Review progress on a state-level process
  2. Establish and International Migration Review Forum which will begin in 2022
  3. United Nations Regional Economic Commissions or Regional Consultative Processes, to review the implementation of the Global Compact within the respective regions, beginning in 2020
  4. All Member States are encouraged to develop, as soon as practicable, ambitious national responses for the implementation of the Global Compact, and to conduct regular and inclusive reviews

Your comments are welcome.

Hope for Syria?

Jesuit Refugee Service’s regional director for the Middle East, Fr. Nawras Sammour is a Syrian and has seen his country change many times over many years. He spoke to Steve Paiken of TVO in Ontario on Jan. 4, 2019. A few years ago he had little hope of the end to the civil war in Syria. Today things are a little different. The cities are more calm, roads are more secure but there are several Syria’s side by side. There are American troops,  Turkish troops and others. The future is still uncertain. Syrians are happy to have Canada welcoming them. The issue of language difficulties still is present.

The long range plan is a secure peaceful Syria. The Catholic Church plays a large role in providing education and socio-economic relief.

Please watch the entire video here: Fr. Nawras Sammour

Church must help young migrants in every phase of their journey, synod member says

Catholic News Service published an article discussing some issues presented at the World Synod on Youth in Rome in October 2018.

Blessed Sacrament Father Robert Stark, director of the Office for Social Ministry for the Diocese of Honolulu and regional coordinator for the Vatican’s Migrant and Refugees Section, offered synod members very practical advice for assisting young people on the move.

First, Church leaders must listen to young people thinking about leaving their homeland, and the consequences of that move. Second the Church should offer some basic necessities like food, shelter etc. Upon arrival they need help with legal and other practical matters.

Young people need to learn the tolerance, friendship and cooperation that are essential to building a peaceful society.

You can read the entire story here: Young Migrants