Marriage-based Migration and Human Rights Education: Where Does Canada Stand?

Noorfarah Merali


Immigration for marriage is one of the most prevalent forms of population movement from developing to developed nations, particularly for women (Ghosh, 2009). As an industrialized nation with an international reputation for embracing diversity and pluralism, Canada is a country where many individuals from the developing world aspire to establish their family lives. Approximately 30 percent of newcomers arriving in Canada annually are family members sponsored by Canadian citizens or permanent residents, with the majority of them being spouses from abroad (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2007). Since the foreign countries from which female marriage migrants have arrived often have different systems of governance and human rights records, the responsibility has been placed on the federal government to educate newcomers about their rights as migrants and their basic human rights (Global Commission on International Migration, 2005). Since Canada’s family sponsorship policy holds male sponsors of immigrant brides directly responsible for facilitating women’s integration and upholding their rights, the government has an equal obligation to educate sponsors about each party’s rights in the sponsorship relationship. This chapter describes the method and results of a content analysis of government issued information for sponsors and sponsored persons and its human rights coverage. It outlines implications for rights-based education targeting both newcomers and their hosts/sponsors in marriage-based immigration cases.

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