One year on, Canada's refugee system is failing some of the most vulnerable refugees

Printer-friendly versionSend by email
Canadian Council for Refugees
Media Release
For immediate release
9 December 2013

One year on, Canada's refugee system is failing some of the most vulnerable refugees

The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) today made public its principal observations on Canada’s revised refugee determination system, as we approach the first anniversary of its implementation. On the eve of Human Rights Day, the CCR laments that refugees’ fundamental rights are threatened in Canada.
 
“The new refugee system is failing some claimants, including the most vulnerable people who have been traumatized by the persecution they have suffered,” said Loly Rico, President. “As Canadians we are proud of our history of welcoming and protecting refugees: unfortunately Canada is now a less welcoming country, and some refugees who need our protection are not getting it.”

On 15 December 2012, major and controversial changes to Canada’s refugee determination system were implemented. The CCR had consistently raised concerns that the new system would fail to offer some refugees the protection they need from Canada.

The CCR has prepared a report on key points in the new system as observed by members, including the following:
  • The short timelines are causing serious problems: they create high levels of stress and many claimants are unable to prepare themselves adequately for their hearing.
  • The short timelines are particularly damaging for vulnerable claimants, such as survivors of torture and people with health problems or disabilities.
  • We have a two-tier system that discriminates against some claimants, who have less access to protection, on arbitrary grounds, notably based on their country of origin.
Overall, the new system suffers from uncertainty and poorly thought-out measures, which may be the result of going from one extreme (too slow hearings) to the other (too quick hearings). The CCR has consistently advocated that the solution lies in the middle (6 month timelines would work for most claimants).

Link to report, New refugee system – one year on
 
- 30 -
 

Contact:

Colleen French, Communication Coordinator, Canadian Council for Refugees, 514-277-7223, ext. 1, 514-476-3971 (cell), cfrench@ccrweb.ca