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

Printer-friendly versionSend by email
CCR Chronicle

Vol. 8 no. 4, 4 July 2013

In this issue:

-----
  1.  The CCR urges federal government to drop plans to break up families

Family reunificationWe have called on the federal government to abandon proposed changes to the immigration regulations that would undermine families. The government is proposing to narrow the definition of a dependent child in the immigration regulations by reducing the maximum age from 21 to 18 years and eliminating the exception for full-time students.
 
Concerns include:
  • Unmarried children aged 19, 20 or 21 years are usually still part of the family (economically, socially and psychologically) and need their parents’ support.
  • In many societies it is difficult and even dangerous for single young women to live alone.
  • Refugees are forced to flee danger and face multiple losses and disruptions. Forcing refugees to leave their young adult children behind exposes them to risk, as well as causing hardship for all the family.
The federal government is also proposing dramatic restrictions on sponsorship of parents and grandparents. Sponsorships will be increased from 10 years to 20 years and sponsors will need to have a higher income over a longer period before they can sponsor. If adopted, these changes will mean that only the wealthy can sponsor their parents.
 
We question the government’s overemphasis of economic objectives: Canada’s immigration program is also about protecting refugees and reuniting families. Refugees and immigrants contribute more than just economically. Separating families also has economic costs, which have not been evaluated in the government’s analysis.
 
We are calling on the government to abandon the proposed changes and to give higher priority to removing the existing painful barriers to speedy family reunification.
 
For more information, read our backgrounder on the proposed changes.
  1. How are you showing that you are Proud to Protect Refugees?

Proud to Protect RefugeesSince launching the campaign earlier this year, we’ve seen creative actions in cities across Canada:
  • Wearing and sharing buttons
  • City councils declaring why they are Proud to Protect Refugees
  • Former refugees demonstrating why welcoming refugees is a cherished tradition to continue
How are your group and community showing you are Proud to Protect Refugees? Let us know in an email to Colleen French at cfrench@ccrweb.ca We’re sharing great ideas on our Proud to Protect Refugees action page to inspire you and your future projects.
 
ACTION SUGGESTIONS
Proud to Protect Refugees is a long-term campaign for social change, so it’s not too late to join! We’re gearing up for action days in Fall 2013 and beyond. Save the date! June 20th 2014 – join the solidarity walk with refugees across Canada!

For information, pamphlets, toolkits, activity ideas and more to show you are Proud to Protect Refugees: ccrweb.ca/en/proud-to-protect-refugees
 
Here are some other suggestions:
 
As an organization:
  • Adopt ‘Proud to Protect Refugees’ as a slogan
  • Wear and share buttons (order ones with the black and yellow design here)
  • Invite other groups to declare they are ’Proud to Protect Refugees’
  • Share stories of refugee contributions and promote positive messages
  • Raise refugee voices
As an individual:
  • Ask local groups to show why they are proud to protect refugees
  • Talk to others about why you are proud to protect refugees, and why they should be too
  • Bust myths and misconceptions about refugees

About the Proud to Protect Refugees campaign:
 
Recent changes in Canada have increased negative talk and make it tougher for refugees and others to find protection and to feel welcome.
 
Let’s change the conversation. This is an opportunity to create long-term social change. Help promote a positive vision of what we want for refugees in Canada and of the important contributions refugees make to our communities. Promote respect for refugees and other seeking protection in Canada by sharing information and raising voices in your community.
 
To find out more about the campaign and what you can do: ccrweb.ca/en/proud-to-protect-refugees
  1. Bill C-43 (Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act) receives Royal Assent

On 19 June Bill C-43 received Royal Assent, introducing several changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act including the following:
  • Permanent residents can no longer appeal to the Immigration and Refugee Board if they are sentenced to imprisonment for six months or more (previously it was 2 years).
  • Anyone found inadmissible on the broad grounds of security, human or international rights violations or organized criminality is denied access to humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) considerations
 For a summary of the CCR’s concerns, see ccrweb.ca/en/summary-comments-bill-c-43
  1. Save these dates! Participate in CCR meetings in September and November

CCR Summer Working Group meetings, 6 and 7 September 2013, Montreal

CCR Working Group meetings Do you want to be part of efforts to promote rights for refugees?  Want to participate in in-depth discussions on pressing issues affecting refugees and immigrants in Canada?  Looking for an opportunity to share information and strategies with others from across Canada?
End your summer the right(s) way! Come to the CCR Summer Working Group meetings in Montreal 6 and 7 September 2013. 

CCR members and allies are encouraged to attend the Working Group meetings.  The meetings are closed to media and government. There is no cost to participate and no registration is necessary.

Issues up for discussion:

  • Resetting speedy family reunification as a priority
  • Valuing Canadian citizenship: Who gets in? How long is the wait?
  • Changes to refugee sponsorship: What it means for our communities
  • How to best support refugee claimants in the new environment
  • Redefining the right to protection

Meeting schedule:


FRIDAY 6 SEPTEMBER:

9:30am - 5pm: Overseas Protection & Sponsorship Working Group meeting


SATURDAY 7 SEPTEMBER:

9:30am - 5pm: Inland Protection Working Group meeting
9:30am - 5pm: Immigration and Settlement Working Group meeting

For more information about the Working Group meetings: ccrweb.ca/meetings

National Fall Consultation, 28 – 30 November 2013, Kitchener-Waterloo

CCR ConsultationsWe are pleased to announce that the Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada will open the CCR Fall Consultation in Kitchener-Waterloo. During his keynote address, he will inspire Consultation participants to think about the roles of newcomers to Canada in the reconciliation process. What can we do to redress rights violations of aboriginal peoples internationally and in Canada, specifically around the residential school experience?

Check the Consultation webpage for updates about the Consultation. Online registration will open in mid-September 2013.

About CCR Consultations

CCR Consultations are held twice a year in different cities and address issues of refugee protection and immigrant and refugee settlement. They bring together 300 or more people from across Canada and beyond. Participants include refugees, immigrants, representatives of NGOs, government, UNHCR, academics and international guests. Everyone is welcome to participate.

The Consultation is an excellent opportunity to:
  • Meet and learn from experts in the field
  • Exchange information and prepare resolutions on a broad range of refugee and newcomer issues
  • Contribute to the CCR working groups’ ongoing dialogue on policy and legislation

Upcoming Meetings

Summer Working Group meetings, Friday, 6 September - Saturday, 7 September, Montreal

Fall Consultation, Thursday, 28 November - Saturday, 30 November, Kitchener-Waterloo