As many of you may know, one of the central commitments we made during the election campaign was to repair our dysfunctional immigration system. One critical piece of this commitment was the issue of family reunification, something that I know both our former Immigration Minister John McCallum and new Minister Ahmed Hussen take very seriously. After just over a year of hard work it is with great pride that I write about our kept promise to allow more spouses, partners and dependent children to immigrate to Canada.
You have spoken and we have listened: processing times for spousal applications are too long. Our government is responding to this need to reduce the application backlog with action, by ensuring that processing times are reduced to 12 months for both in-Canada and outside Canada applications. We have also created a new, simpler application kit, and we encourage all new applicants to use this kit moving forward. These efforts are intended to ease the uncertainty of both those who are beginning the spousal reunification process and those who are waiting for their immigration status to be finalized.
As we look back on our holidays spent with friends and family, Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast are reminded just how meaningful it is to have our loved ones close. Family reunification has a real and lasting impact on the quality of life of Canadians of all stripes. These changes will ensure that more families will be reunited in Canada sooner, so that they can spend the 2017 holiday season together in this beautiful country that we are lucky enough to call home.
I am always encouraged to hear stories of positivity from Canadians who have welcomed newcomers with open arms, and as an elected official I am proud to represent an increasingly diverse community. As we all know, Canada is strong not in spite of our differences, but because of them, and the compassion being shown by ordinary Canadians towards their new neighbours is a real point of pride for our city. I thank all those who have helped and continue to help to build a better Canada, and I look forward to hearing about the way in which family reunification affects the lives of people in your community.