Celebrate 40 years of history and successes

Since 1978 the CCR has connected people and organizations across Canada to support them as they work passionately and tirelessly to protect refugees and make Canada a welcoming home for newcomers.

2018 marks our 40th anniversary, providing us with an opportunity to showcase our accomplishments and to recognize contributions – large or small, yet all significant – to our successes.

As a human right defender, refugee supporter, youth leader, former refugee or just someone who deeply believes in the rights of all regardless of status, you are part of our history! Join us in this celebration by showing your support for refugees and migrants and by sharing a story of your work and your hopes to build a more inclusive and welcoming society in the years to come.

Some of the CCR’s achievements for the last 40 years include: 

promoting refugee participation

For the last 40 years, we have been committed to promoting full refugee participation. Some examples include:

  • Adopting a refugee participation policy in 1992
  • Taking into consideration refugee representation when nominating and electing the Executive Committee (Francisco Rico-Martinez was the first CCR President with experience as a refugee)

providing opportunities for networking and professional development

With an increasing number of members across Canada, we are proud to provide opportunities for networking and professional development through conferences, working groups, publications, and meetings. Throughout its history, the CCR has been committed to cross-Canada and bilingual networking: the first CCR consultation outside Quebec and Ontario took place in Winnipeg in 1986 and our first conference with full simultaneous translation was held in 1980. 

advocating for the rights of refugees and immigrants through government relations, research and media relations

We advocate for the rights of refugees and immigrants through bringing our concerns regularly to the government. Since 1992, the CCR meets twice a year with a range of officials from the government to discuss a variety of issues of current concern.

We have made real impacts by documenting needs to policy changes through research and publications. Some of our research and publications have been used as key resources for refugee and vulnerable migrant advocates to strengthen the defence of refugee rights and services to newcomers. Examples include:

  • “Best Settlement Practices: Settlement Services for Refugees and Immigrants in Canada” and “Interdicting Refugees”.
  • “Welcome to Canada: The Experience of Refugee Claimants at Port-of-Entry Interviews”

The CCR has established itself as a leading voice in the media.

engaging newcomer youth

We believe that newcomer youth have an enormous amount to contribute, when given the chance. With the creation of the Youth Network in 2006, we have provided a space for youth to meet at the national level, communicate their concerns in creative ways, and develop their leadership. Since 2012, six national Youth Action Gatherings have been organized for youth and by youth. 

intervening before the courts and international tribunals

We ensure that the voice of refugees is heard in important court cases. The CCR has intervened in over 20 cases before the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as challenging the Safe Third Country Agreement.

The CCR has also brought cases to international fora, as example: Petition to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on direct backs – final decision in 2011 found that Canada violated the American Declaration on Human Rights by summarily returning refugee claimants to US, in 2004. 

advocating for rights

We are constantly advocating for policies and programs that respect the rights of refugees and other newcomers. Successes include:

  • Refugee Appeal Division came into effect (key CCR advocacy demand) in 2012
  • Government issues directives to minimize children in detention, a key advocacy priority in 2017
  • Government eliminates Conditional Permanent Residence in 2017, a key advocacy priority for the CCR.
  • Since 1994, the CCR has been advocating for the IRB to adopt a guideline on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGIE), which was finally adopted by the IRB.

bringing attention to the importance of gender

We have made gender sensitivity and gender analysis a priority. An example:

  • In 2009, the CCR published “Pathways to Gender Justice Handbook: A practical tool for working with newcomers”, as a practical tool to enhance the capacity of organizations to use a gender-based approach in their work with newcomers. 

bringing refugee rights to the international stage

This year the CCR will hold an International Refugee Rights Conference with 800 participants from Canada and around the world. But it’s not the first time that the CCR acts at the international level. The first international conference on refugee rights was held in Toronto in 2006. And in 2001, we organized our International Conference on Refugee Women Fleeing Gender-Based Persecution in Montreal. Since 1981, the CCR has regularly participated in the UNHCR NGO Consultation in Geneva. In 2017, the CCR was granted ECOSOC status at the UN.

educating the public

We give high priority to educating the public, with a view to creating welcoming communities and strong defenders of refugees throughout Canada. Among our campaigns are “Proud to Protect Refugees” and “Protecting Refugees = Stronger Communities”.

Support the CCR’s work!

Make a special donation of $40 to the CCR to contribute to ensuring that the refugees and immigrants of tomorrow are secure and able to flourish.

Share your story with us

For 40 years, our work has been inspired and motivated by people like you who want to make Canada more inclusive and welcoming for refugees. You are part of our history and we would love to hear your story or even the story of someone you know.