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EVA BC in Ottawa

L-R: Kamaljit Lehal, Harjit Kaur, and Gisela Ruebsaat stand in front of the Women Are Persons! Monument located on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

L-R: Kamaljit Lehal, Harjit Kaur, and Gisela Ruebsaat stand in front of the Women Are Persons! Monument located on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

L - R: Harjit Kaur, Kamaljit Lehal, Senator Yonah Martin, Gisela Ruebsaat, Tracy Porteous

L – R: Harjit Kaur, Kamaljit Lehal, Senator Yonah Martin, Gisela Ruebsaat, Tracy Porteous

Background

Completed in March 2011, the Safety of Immigrant, Refugee, and Non-Status Women Project has been a 3-year partnership undertaken by EVA BC with MOSAIC and Vancouver Lower Mainland Multicultural Family Support Services to consult, analyze and take action to address policy gaps that compromise the safety of immigrant, refugee, and women who otherwise are in Canada without legal status who experience violence. This project has been funded by the Law Foundation of BC. To date, the project has developed a number of resource documents that include 8 Provincial Briefing Notes, 6 Federal Briefing Notes, a Literature Review, Annotated Bibliography and Focus Groups Summary.

In May and June 2010, meetings were held with a number of federal and provincial representatives to discuss the key issues and concerns highlighted in the project’s briefing notes. During this time, EVA BC first met and began what has become an ongoing relationship with Senator Yonah Martin, a great supporter of the project’s work who was instrumental in helping EVA BC connect with key figures in Ottawa.

Trip to Ottawa

In October 2010, EVA BC’s project team of Tracy Porteous, Harjit Kaur, Gisela Ruebsaat, and Kamaljit Lehal flew to Ottawa to meet with Federal Cabinet Ministers and senior level government officials to continue to negotiate changes to policy and practice aimed at increasing the safety of immigrant, refugee, and non-status women.

The group met with an impressive range of elected officials and government staff that included: Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney; Rona Ambrose, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women; Parliamentary Secretary for Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Shelly Glover; Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime Sue O’Sullivan; and Pamela Arnott, Director and Counsel, National Victim Policy Centre for the Department of Justice.

During their meeting with Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Kenney, the EVA BC group made specific recommendations around the issues of sponsorship debt, Temporary Resident Permits and Humanitarian and Compassionate applications, the importance of family support and the need for general guidelines that deal with domestic violence overall in an immigration and refugee policy framework.

The EVA BC team also presented project findings to a group that included a number of policy analysts representing The Metropolis Project, an international network for comparative research and public policy development on migration, diversity and immigrant integration. This presentation was coordinated by the Gender-Analysis Unit of Immigration and Citizenship Canada.

L-R: Harjit, Kamaljit and Gisela on Parliament Hill

L-R: Harjit, Kamaljit and Gisela on Parliament Hill