Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 9 #8, 5 December 2014

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Vol. 9 no. 8, 5 December 2014

 

In this issue:

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  1. Wish they were here for the holidays: Call for express entry family reunification

Wish they were here for the holidaysCanada’s immigration processing for family reunification cases is extraordinarily slow. Many children wait over two years before being able to reunite with their parent in Canada.
 
Canada can and must do better.
 
Citizenship and Immigration Canada is planning a new Express Entry program for economic immigrants. For immigrants with a valid job offer, CIC will process applications within 6 months.
 
Shouldn’t children be reunited with their parents at least as quickly as economic immigrants?
 
It’s time for Canada to launch an express entry program for family reunification and to commit to reuniting children with their parents in six months or less.
 
Join us in calling for express entry family reunification:

For more information, see: ccrweb.ca/en/express-entry-family-reunification

  1. Moratoria on removals lifted for Haiti and Zimbabwe: CCR concerns

On 1 December, the federal government announced that it was lifting the moratoria on removals to Haiti and Zimbabwe. In lifting these measures which have been for more than a decade, the CCR and other organizations are concerned that returning people to these countries will subject them to a risk of violence and increased precariousness.
 
The federal government is allowing 6 months to apply for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds for people who are affected by this change. However, the CCR has proposed a more affordable, efficient and permanent solution: Create a regulatory class that provides permanent residence to Haitians, Zimbabweans and other persons from countries to which Canada does not remove who have been in Canada for three or more years.
 
For more information, read our joint statement at: ccrweb.ca/en/lifting-moratoria-haiti-and-zimbabwe
 
For media coverage, read: ccrweb.ca/subject-tags/moratoria

  1. The CCR joins 160 organizations in urging government to keep social assistance for all

The CCR has joined more than 160 organizations across Canada in opposing provisions in the budget bill (Bill C-43) that would open to the door to refugee claimants being denied social assistance.
 
In an open letter to Minister of Finance Joe Oliver sent 18 November the organizations ask for the withdrawal of sections 172 and 173 of the bill, which would allow provinces to deny social assistance based on immigration status. Refugee claimants, who are among the most vulnerable in our society, could be denied the crucial lifeline that allows them to survive and begin to rebuild their lives in Canada.
 
The letter and list of signatories is available at ccrweb.ca/en/open-letter-budget-bill-social-assistance
 
We also presented our concerns about these provisions to the Senate and to a House of Commons committee. You can read the text of the CCR submission at: ccrweb.ca/en/c43-social-assistance-submission
  1. Gaps in refugee health care continue

Refugee healthcareThe CCR has ongoing concerns over gaps in access to health care for refugees, despite the changes introduced by the government on 5 November 2014. The changes were made to respond to the Federal Court ruling striking down the 2012 cuts to the Interim Federal Health (IFH) Program as “cruel and unusual treatment” in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
 
Prior to the 2012 cuts, IFH coverage included coverage for “essential prescription medications”. However, according to the government’s current, complex eligibility grid, many categories of people continue to be denied coverage for prescription drugs. This is so even though access to medications was a key concern for the Federal Court. Among those who still do not have coverage under IFH for prescription drugs are privately sponsored refugees and refugee claimants awaiting a decision on their claim.
 
For more information, read the CCR’s public statement at : ccrweb.ca/en/gaps-refugee-health-care-continue
  1. Live-in caregivers face new rules

Migrant WorkersThe federal government recently announced important changes to the Live-in Caregiver Program, which now becomes the Caregiver Program.
 
Changes include:
  • Removing the live-in requirement (recommended by CCR and other migrant rights groups)
  • Removing universal access to permanent residence for caregivers (after two years of work in Canada)
  • A cap on applications for permanent residence
  • More stringent language requirements for applicants
  • Dividing the program into two streams (one with very high educational requirements)
The CCR believes that all migrant workers should have access to permanent residence, so a cap on applications for caregivers, along with other obstacles such as language requirements, represents a step backwards.
 
For media coverage, read: ccrweb.ca/en/subject-tags/live-caregivers
  1. Next CCR webinar: Training on humanitarian and compassionate applications

RVasavithasanOn 10 December, join this webinar with Rathika Vasavithasan for an overview of the Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) Evidence Gathering Toolkit developed by the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic for services providers to help their clients, women who have experienced violence.
 
Find answers to questions when gathering evidence in applications dealing with gender-based violence, as well as when reviewing the checklist with clients. The webinar will also provides some helpful resources to assist workers and clients to gather strong supporting evidence for the H&C.
 
For more information and to register: ccrweb.ca/en/webinars
  1. New from the CCR:

Call for express entry family reunification this holiday season

Upcoming Meetings

Winter Working Group meetings, Friday, 27 February and Saturday, 28 February 2015, Toronto

Spring Consultation 2015, Thursday 21 May - Saturday 23 May, Winnipeg