Mothers Without Status

A woman on a temporary student visa comes to Canada to study. During her time here, she has a baby with her new boyfriend. But the boyfriend becomes abusive – she wants to leave him and return with her child to her original country. Can she do this? What are her legal rights? As a service provider, how would you begin to direct her to the help she needs?

One of Clicklaw’s newer contributors, the YWCA Vancouver, tackles this complex issue with a project funded by the Law Foundation of BC called the Mothers Without Status Legal Project. “Mothers without status” refers to single women with children living in Canada, who are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents. Many of these women have fled their relationship because of abuse.

During the course of this project, staff interviewed almost two dozen women in this type of situation to get a full picture of the multiple challenges they face. As a result of these interviews, the YWCA identified the need for a new resource, and published a booklet called Mothers Without Status: Practical information for service providers working with women who have no legal status. This 26-page booklet provides practical legal information on how service providers can help these women to navigate the immigration and family law systems in Canada.

The YWCA will be publishing the full results of their research project within the next few months – look for it on Clicklaw in the Reform & Research section.