Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 8 #3, 4 June 2013

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Vol. 8 no. 3, 4 June 2013

In this issue:

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  1. New report cards evaluate protections for migrant workers across Canada


Report cards on protections for migrant workersRead our series of report cards summarizing the approaches of the provincial and federal governments on protecting the rights of migrant workers in the “low-skilled” streams of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
 
Migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse because of their precarious status, work permits tied to a single employer and factors such as isolation, lack of access to support services and lack of access to information on their rights. These report cards examine progress, province by province, in introducing protections and supports for migrant workers.
 
We welcome measures being adopted by some provinces, like Manitoba, to address the vulnerability of migrant workers. We urge other provinces and the federal government to do more to fill gaps in protection.
 
Nevertheless, the CCR believes that temporary migrant worker programs are not the answer. Governments need to return to policies of permanent immigration. Long-term temporary labour migration has negative impacts on both migrant workers and Canadian society.
 
To read the report cards: http://ccrweb.ca/en/migrant-workers-report-cards
 

  1. Wear and share buttons to show you are Proud to Protect Refugees on World Refugee Day (20 June)

Proud to Protect Refugees buttonsWhy are you Proud to Protect Refugees? Is it because of a person you work with or that you know? Is it central to your organization’s work? Is it because you believe refugee rights are human rights? Or maybe it’s because you once found protection in Canada yourself?
 
Whatever your reason, join us this World Refugee Day (20 June) by wearing and sharing buttons to show why you are Proud to Protect Refugees.
 
Thanks to some creative folks in Ottawa, we have new BUTTONS for you to buy online, wear, share and spark conversations as part of your own activities to mark World Refugee Day on 20 June. Order buttons online from the CCR office in Montreal by 10 June so they arrive in time: http://ccrweb.ca/en/resource-order-form
 
About the Proud to Protect Refugees campaign:
 
Many Canadians arrived here as refugees fleeing persecution – they were able to thrive and enrich Canada because they were protected and welcomed. Recent changes to Canada's refugee system and increased negative talk about some newcomers may make it tougher for refugees to find protection and to feel welcome in Canada. Help change the conversation. Public support for refugees is a way of ensuring that Canada continues to be a safe haven for refugees and that our welcoming tradition remains strong.
 
To find out more about the campaign and what you can do: http://ccrweb.ca/en/proud-to-protect-refugees
  1. Temporary Residence Permits (TRPs) for Trafficked Persons: New report and webinar

Temporary Residence Permits for trafficked personsIn May 2006, the Canadian government issued guidelines for temporary resident permits (TRPs) for trafficked non-citizens. This represented an important step towards recognition of the protection needs of trafficked persons, and TRPs remain the main avenue to protection offered under Canada’s immigration legislation. However, experience has shown that, even with the TRPs, there are continuing gaps in access to protection and rights for trafficked persons. Trafficked persons continue to fall through the cracks.
 
The CCR has issued a new report, Temporary Resident Permits: Limits to protection for trafficked persons, that examines shortcomings, including the following:
  • Access to TRPs is limited in practice, and now in law
  • When trafficked persons do receive TRPs, their rights are restricted
  • Options for receiving permanent protection are uncertain
  • Trafficked persons continue to be detained and deported
Read the report here.

Want to learn more? Join us for a legal training webinar on temporary resident permits for trafficked persons on Tuesday, 25 June from 1-2 pm (Eastern time).

In this webinar, Cathy Kolar and Loly Rico will provide a legal training on TRPs for trafficked non-citizens, including an overview of the permit, the interview process, strengths and shortcomings of the permit and other avenues to regularization for internationally trafficked persons. This webinar is intended for lawyers, services providers and others working on or interested in trafficking issues.

Register here or at ccrweb.ca/en/webinars

CCR members can participate in webinars for free. The cost for participants who are not with a CCR member organization is $25 per person per webinar.
 
For more information on the CCR’s work on trafficking issues: trafficking.ca
  1. Alert: Changes to definition of family and rules for family sponsorship

Changing rules for family sponsorshipsThe federal government has proposed dramatic changes to the immigration regulations affecting families. If accepted, these new rules will reduce the maximum age of dependent children and raise thresholds for sponsoring parents and grandparents.
 
Changing the definition of dependent children
The existing definition of a dependent child would change in two important ways:
  • The maximum age will be reduced to 18 years (from 21 years)
  • The existing exception for full-time students will be eliminated
If the proposal is accepted, children over 18 years will no longer be considered part of the family. This will affect refugees, economic immigrants, live-in caregivers, Family Class immigrants and anyone else applying for permanent residence in Canada.

Raising the threshold to sponsor parents and grandparents
The government is proposing the following changes for those sponsoring parents and grandparents:
  • The sponsorship period will be increased from 10 years to 20 years.
  • Sponsors will need to have a higher income over a longer period before they can sponsor.
 The CCR is concerned that the proposed changes do not take account of the fact that:
  • Reuniting families is one of the objectives of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
  • Most Canadians consider that 19 or 20 year old unmarried children are still part of the family and need their parents’ support.
  • In many societies it is difficult and even dangerous for single young women to live alone.
Notice in Canada Gazette of proposed reduction in age of dependent children: http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2013/2013-05-18/html/reg1-eng.html
Notice in Canada Gazette of proposed changes for sponsorship of parents and grandparents: http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2013/2013-05-18/html/reg2-eng.html
CCR action item on changes: http://ccrweb.ca/en/reduction-age-dependent-children

  1. Conclusions from CCR Spring Consultation

Promoting Security and a Warm WelcomeOver 400 participants gathered in Burnaby, BC, for the CCR’s Spring Consultation, from 30 May to 1 June. Discussions covered the new refugee claim system, changes to Canada’s resettlement program, services to vulnerable populations, responses to migrant workers and trafficked persons, the security of refugees in Africa, the resettlement of LGBT refugees, among other topics, Participants were stimulated by a keynote presentation by Professor Catherine Dauvergne on the conference theme, “Promoting security and a warm welcome”. Furio de Angelis, UNHCR representative in Canada, gave a plenary address on current issues for refugees internationally and in Canada.
 
Resolutions adopted by CCR member organizations at the Consultation are available at http://ccrweb.ca/en/resolutions-jun2013
 
Presentations from some of the consultation sessions will be available to logged-in CCR members at http://ccrweb.ca/en/spring2013-presentations
 
Interested in hearing more about the CCR Spring Consultation and speakers from some of the sessions? We’ll be featuring some encore presentations as webinars in the coming months. Stay tuned to: http://ccrweb.ca/en/webinars for announcements and online registration.
 
News stories about the Consultation:

New federal rules dramatically cut numbers of refugee claimants, Vancouver Sun, 30 May 2013: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/federal+rules+dramatically+number+refugee+claimants/8458054/story.html

Issues in Focus in Burnaby, Burnaby NewsLeader, 23 May 2013: http://www.burnabynewsleader.com/news/208672481.html

Upcoming Meetings

Summer Working Group meetings, Friday, 6 September - Saturday, 7 September, Montreal
Fall Consultation, Thursday, 28 November - Saturday, 30 November, Kitchener-Waterloo