HOF063: Lucile Horner

Lucile Horner began her career as a consultant for Immigration Québec in Montréal in 1976. In 1979, she was appointed Director of the Singapore office where she first visited Vietnamese refugee camps along the coasts of Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand to select refugees from Southeast Asia destined for Québec. From 1979 to 1980, she worked closely with Canadian immigration officials to interview Vietnamese refugees in Bidong, Malaysia and Galang Island, Indonesia.  

From 1980 to 1984, while working at the Immigration Québec office in Bangkok, she continued to visit Malaysia and Indonesia to interview Vietnamese refugees, and conducted missions to the Phanat Nikhom refugee camp in Thailand to interview Cambodian and Laotian refugees. The refugee camp offered a more comfortable setting with its solidly built dwellings, well-maintained toilets, markets and three restaurants.

From 1989 to 1993, she was again assigned to the Immigration Québec office in Bangkok at a time when the United Nations High Commission for Refugees had initiated a program for the repatriation of refugees to their countries of origin. As a result, as the numbers of refugees requesting asylum decreased, her visits to the camps declined. During this time, she went to Vietnam as part of the family reunification program approved by the Vietnamese authorities where she selected Vietnamese candidates sponsored by family members based in Québec.

Over the years, she wished that she had acquired a greater knowledge of the Asian culture and language that she realized would have been very helpful when interviewing candidates. She is grateful that her career provided her with the opportunity to visit refugee camps where she witnessed first-hand the difficult circumstances that refugees and workers faced every day with the lack of sanitation, the spread of vermin, the oppressive heat and the dangers of the sea crossings during the monsoons. Along with her colleagues, she was pleased to have achieved the goals of the resettlement program that Immigration Québec was offering to refugees. As a result of their work, many Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian refugees have permanently settled in Québec.

After her retirement in 2009, Lucile Horner was Québec’s representative for Indochinese refugees for a period of 9 years.