Canadian Member of Parliament Kyle Seeback is proposing a new bill to support parents and grandparents coming to Canada.
The proposed changes would affect the Great Visa for parents and grandparents. Currently, the Super Visa allows parents and grandparents of Canadians to visit for two consecutive years without having to renew their status. The visas themselves permit multiple entries to Canada over the course of 10 years. Much like the Parents and Grandparents Programit requires the Canadian child or grandchild to meet a minimum income requirement set by the government. It also requires parents and grandparents to have medical insurance coverage with a Canadian company.
Seeback is a member of the Conservative Party and sits on the Standing Committee for Citizenship and Immigration. He proposed Bill C-242 calls for three major changes to the Super Visa.
Firstly, Seeback wants parents and grandparents to be allowed to stay for five consecutive years without having to renew their visa.
Second, the bill proposes that Super Visa applicants be allowed to purchase medical insurance from countries other than Canada. Seeback says this could save families thousands of dollars in insurance costs per year.
Finally, it also proposes that the government reduce the low-income cut-off for Canadians wishing to host their parents and grandparents. Although Seeback said he thinks the income test for this category should be entirely eliminated, he does not think it is the right time for it.
“The view of bringing a parent or a grandparent to stay with you is an economic burden is wrong,” Seeback said, “What I actually found… is that when a parent or grandparent comes it enhances the economic well-being of that family… It can be that they’re providing some reduction of daycare costs because the parent or grandparent is there to help with the family.”
So far, the bill has passed its first and second readings and is now being studied by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. The standing committee is comprised of elected federal government officials. Their mandate is to monitor federal policy relating to immigration and multiculturalism, as well as oversee the immigration department and refugee board. They conduct studies and make recommendations to guide immigration policy.
The bill will need to pass the committee before the third reading. It will only become law after it passes the third reading and consideration of the Senate. The Governor General will then have to grant the bill royal assent, only then will it come into force.
Ashti Waissi, a spokesperson from Seeback’s office, told CIC News the NDP and Bloc parties will support the bill upon its third reading, but it is uncertain whether C-242 will get Liberal support.
Committee members questioned Seeback’s bill, specifically relating to the item on insurance. Seeback introduced the idea of allowing parents and grandparents to purchase insurance internationally while pointing out it can cost between $1,700 CAD and $4,600 CAD per year for someone in their early seventies with no pre-existing medical condition.
“This doesn’t mean you can go to any insurance company anywhere in the world,” Seeback told the committee, “I’m encouraging the minister to set up a framework for the ground rules for when an insurance company would qualify so that people can purchase insurance outside of the country.”
Concerns about allowing Super Visa holders to come to Canada with their own insurance arise from the fact that should a foreign insurance company be unable to cover a medical bill, the onus could fall onto a Canadian taxpayer.
In responses to questions posed by committee members, Seeback said he has confidence the government can set up a framework to ensure foreign insurance companies can cover medical costs in case Super Visa holders get sick. He noted that Canada currently has a framework for determining which international doctors can give medical clearance certificates, he says something similar should also be possible for insurance companies.
Although he said he did not know how quickly the framework could be set up, he said it would be “worth the wait.”
“It will be so great for Canadian families,” Seeback said.
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