Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 8 #9, 3 February 2014

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Vol. 8 no. 9, 3 February 2014

In this issue:

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  1. What Future for Canadian citizenship?: Harder to get, easier to lose

Changes to Canadian citizenship will be on the legislative agenda in Ottawa this spring. What is at stake for refugees and other newcomers? Long processing times, completing an additional “Residence Questionnaire” and proof of language proficiency are new barriers for immigrants and especially, vulnerable refugees have already made citizenship in Canada harder to get.
 
New legislative proposals would now make it easier to lose citizenship, particularly for those with dual citizenship. The government is also considering withdrawing the automatic right to citizenship by birth in Canada.
 
Find out more about citizenship and what is at stake in Canada at the CCR’s upcoming webinar Citizenship: Understanding basic concepts on 6 February. Information and online registration are available at: ccrweb.ca/en/webinars
 
For more information on what is in store for Canadian citizenship, see: ccrweb.ca/en/subject-tags/citizenship

  1. Demanding Accountability for Border Services Death in Custody

Human rights organizations concerned about refugees, including the CCR, were shocked to learn of the death of, Lucia Vega Jiménez, a Mexican woman held in custody by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) at the Vancouver International Airport at the end of December. Information about this tragic death has only recently been made public after a news agency first broke the story. There has been no public explanation from the CBSA for what happened, whether anything could have been done to prevent the death and what steps are being taken now to determine whether there was any failing on the part of CBSA officials who were responsible for her care while she was in custody. This tragic case underlines the fact that there is absolutely no independent oversight of CBSA to whom the family can seek recourse.

Click here to read the full statement of the CCR together with other organizations and our recommendations.

For media coverage highlighting public concerns over the circumstances of Ms. Vega Jiménez's death, read: Canada border agency lacks oversight, critics say
  1. Focus on refugee and newcomer families

Wish you were hereReuniting families is a key objective of Canada’s immigration program, but too often families are kept apart. With many provinces marking Family Day in February, please join us in taking an opportunity to speak out for a new focus on families in the immigration program, and for government actions to accelerate family reunification. Critical issues include:

  • Long delays for refugee family reunification
  • Cutting off and leaving behind family members
  • Creating equal opportunities and fair chances to be reunited with family in Canada
  • Ensuring greater flexibility to prioritize reuniting families in times of urgent need

The CCR is creating new resources to share in-person and online in time for Family Day in February. For more information and forthcoming resources, see: reunification.ca

  1. Status: revoked - cessation of refugee status

Following recent changes to the law, permanent residents who came to Canada as refugees can lose their permanent residence and face deportation from Canada if it is determined that they are no longer refugees. More and more people who have been leading peaceful and productive lives in Canada are now facing legal proceedings to strip them of their status, because they visited their home country or even simply travelled on a passport of their country of origin. Internal government documents recently brought to light tell us that the Canada Border Services Agency has make stripping refugees of their status one or their priorities, and has set a quota of 875 refugees for the year.

 

New quota aimed at stripping refugee status raises concerns among advocates, Tobi Cohen, 21 January 2014, canada.com

  1. 2013 in Review: Refugees and immigrants in Canada

3013 in Review: Refugees and immigrants in Canada2013 was a year marked by increasing vulnerabilities for many refugees and immigrants in Canada, with status often harder to acquire and easier to lose, and with a firm push towards economic priorities.

The CCR has put together the news affecting refugees and immigrants from 2013, so that you can see the bigger picture of where Canada stands and where we should be heading in 2014.

Click here for our 2013 in Review: Refugees and immigrants in Canada

  1. Participate in the CCR’s Working Group meetings, Toronto, 28 February and 1 March 2014

CCR Working Group meetings, TorontoDo 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?

Come to the CCR’s Working Group meetings in Toronto on 28 February and 1 March to contribute to ongoing discussions affecting refugees and immigrants in Canada. Participation is open to everyone interested, except for media and government representatives. There is no cost to participate and there is no need to register in advance.

The meeting schedule is:

FRIDAY 28 FEBRUARY: 9:30am - 5pm

Overseas Protection and Sponsorship Working Group meeting
 
FRIDAY 28 FEBRUARY: 5:30 - 7:30 pm
 
Social mocktail hosted by the CCR Youth Network. All are welcome, snacks and drinks available.
 
SATURDAY 1 MARCH: 9:30am - 5pm
 
Immigration and Settlement Working Group meeting
 
and

Inland Protection Working Group meeting

All events will take place at the Salvation Army Harbour Light Ministries, 160 Jarvis Street, Toronto.

Check the CCR meetings webpage for more information and updates: ccrweb.ca/meetings
 
  1. Help make the 2014 Youth Action Gathering a success

Youth Action Gathering 2012This August, the CCR Youth Network will hold the 3rd National Youth Action Gathering (YAG) in Toronto! The YAG will engage young refugees, immigrants, youth settlement workers and allies from across Canada on common challenges facing newcomer youth and provide strategies to address them. This year our theme is: strengthening connections and sharing experiences between generations. We will also address many other important issues including barriers to education, violence and stereotypes and building bridges with indigenous youth.

We need your help to make the 2014 YAG a success and there are many ways to contribute as a partner, sponsor or volunteer! Click here to find out how you can get involved.

Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!

Upcoming Webinars


Thursday 6 February: Citizenship: Understanding basic concepts

Upcoming Meetings

Winter Working Group meetings, Friday, 28 February and Saturday, 1 March 2014, Toronto

Spring Consultation 2014, Thursday 29 May - Saturday 31 May, Halifax

Summer Working Group meetings, Friday, 5 September and Saturday, 6 September 2014, Montreal

Fall Consultation 2014, Thursday, 27 November - Saturday, 29 November 2014, Gatineau

New CCR Resources

Report from the CCR Fall Consultation, Kitchener-Waterloo, 28-30 November 2013

CCR’s recommendations for Canada’s National Settlement Program