One thing common world over is that those out to abuse the system are always few steps ahead than the ones who monitor the system. Latest is that now polygamy is being used to abuse the social welfare system.
Now, with the economic scenario getting little tough, the concern among public to check misuse of social welfare system is rising. People are raising their voice as polygamy is not against public policy but also against common sense.
It may be noted that polygamy is prohibited under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. However, polygamy is accepted in Canada, provided it was celebrated in a country that recognizes the union as valid. Most Muslim countries accept polygamous relationships with upto 4 marriages.
Last week, Ontario’s Minister of Community and Social Services said she is “perturbed” to hear claims that men with multiple wives are taking advantage of welfare and social benefits in Ontario. There is no justification for any social assistance payments in an economy that is begging for low-skilled workers.
As per reports, thousands of Muslim immigrants in polygamous marriages are receiving benefits for their multiple wives.
What is being increasingly felt that once immigrants are in Canada, they should be abiding by Canadian Family Law Act which was designed to create equality among spouses when a marriage ends, and serves to also protect people who married into a legal polygamous relationship in another country, then moved to Canada.
The misuse goes on unabatedly as the Muslim men are illegally claiming benefits for more than one wife, either as a spouse or a dependant, or if the additional wives are claiming as individuals, which is permissible. Under Islamic law, a Muslim man is allowed to have multiple spouses.
Officials at Ontario insist that social benefits can be claimed for only one spouse. They insist that you have more than one spouse because it’s not recognized, it’s not legal in Ontario.
They insist that the government works to limit welfare fraud as much as possible, and takes allegations of it very seriously.