A Family Matter
208 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:15 Apr 2018

A Family Matter

Citizenship, Conjugal Relationships, and Canadian Immigration Policy

UBC Press

How do we define family? In an attempt to police incoming migrants, the Harper government adopted a strict definition of family in order to limit access to citizenship for certain immigrants. Even when immigrants had no intention of sponsoring family members, their familial networks affected their entry to Canada. This approach limited the freedom of some immigrants and refugees to develop their chosen familial networks, a privilege enjoyed by most Canadian-born citizens.

Drawing on government documents and interviews, Megan Gaucher analyzes the government’s assessment of sexual minority refugee claimants’ relationship history and married and common-law spousal sponsorship applications, as well as its crackdown on marriage fraud, to map the differentiated treatment of families living within and beyond Canadian borders. The state is not simply protecting borders from potential threats. It is using the provision of citizenship to reinforce racialized, gendered, and sexualized assumptions about the ideal “Canadian family.”

As many Western governments ponder more restrictive immigration policies, A Family Matter delivers a timely empirical examination of the role of family formation in both granting and refusing citizenship. This important work proposes a course for re-evaluating how family is defined and for implementing a more just assessment process for immigrants and refugees.

A Family Matter will appeal to researchers, scholars, and students of Canadian politics, public policy, gender studies, legal studies, and immigration and refugee studies. Policy analysts, public officials, community activists, immigration law experts, and immigrant service providers will also find it illuminating.

Megan Gaucher is an assistant professor in the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University. She has published a variety of articles in the Canadian Journal of Political Science; the International Journal of Canadian Studies; Social Politics: International Studies in Gender; State and Society; and Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture and Social Justice.
Find what you’re looking for...
Stay Informed

Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.

Read past newsletters
Current Catalogue
Catalogue Cover   Spring 2018 CDN
Publishers Represented
UBC Press is the Canadian agent for several international publishers. Visit our Publishers Represented page to learn more.