Immigration: An Expedient Complement To Disaster Response? An Examination of Canada's Post-Earthquake Immigration Measures for Haiti and the Influence of the Haitian Diaspora in Canada

Immigration: An Expedient Complement To Disaster Response? An Examination of Canada's Post-Earthquake Immigration Measures for Haiti and the Influence of the Haitian Diaspora in Canada

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Title: Immigration: An Expedient Complement To Disaster Response? An Examination of Canada's Post-Earthquake Immigration Measures for Haiti and the Influence of the Haitian Diaspora in Canada
Author: D'Aoust, Sarah
Abstract: The Canadian response following the Haitian earthquake of 2010 was not solely focused on providing humanitarian assistance. Canada also used several immigration measures both at the federal level and the provincial level in Quebec in order to facilitate the immigration of eligible Haitians to Canada and their subsequent reunification with their Canadian family members. This thesis explores these immigration measures and evaluates their effectiveness. In addition, the research examines the role that the large Haitian Diaspora in Canada played in bringing about the adoption of a set of immigration measures specifically for Haitians. The research shows that the Canadian measures implemented were both multi-dimensional – as a variety of immigration mechanisms were used, and multi-level – as the Canadian response included both federal and provincial initiatives in Quebec. While a number of measures were introduced federally, none of these measures could be considered “special” as they were all possible under Canada’s immigration legislation, and they were not unique to the post-earthquake context. In contrast, Quebec’s Humanitarian Sponsorship Program for Haitians was very “special” in that it was the first time such a program was implemented for a large group of people. The research also points to the fact that although using immigration mechanisms to respond to a humanitarian crisis has its benefits, these mechanisms are not designed to provide prompt protection and relief to individuals affected by crisis situations. The research also demonstrates that the use of the available complementary protection measures (humanitarian and compassionate considerations, moratorium and protected person status) did not make up the primary thrust of the Canadian immigration response to the earthquake in Haiti. This fact is indicative of the inadequacy of these measures in providing protection to individuals displaced by environmental factors. Finally, it is argued that although the existence of a large Haitian Diaspora was influential in creating a climate open to the adoption of special measures for Haitians, the Haitian Diaspora did not necessarily influence the specifics of the measures adopted to a significant degree.
Date: 2012
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/22659
Supervisor: Nakache, Delphine
Faculty: Sciences sociales / Social Sciences
Degree: MA

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