Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 9 #11, 18 March 2015

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Vol. 9 no. 11, 18 March 2015

In this issue:

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  1. 4-year limit for Temporary Foreign Workers looms 1 April 2015

Migrant Workers in CanadaApril 2015 will mark four years since the government imposed a four-year limit on migrant workers’ right to work in Canada. This means many Temporary Foreign Workers will lose their right to remain in Canada. This will likely cause hardships for many affected workers, especially those whose families depend on their remittances, or who are still repaying debts from recruitment fees illegally imposed on them.

Some workers may choose to remain in Canada and seek more precarious work to keep providing for their families back home.

Time limits on migrant workers are intended to reinforce the temporary nature of the program, but much of the labour demand is long-term. The CCR believes that all migrant workers should have access to permanent residence, and that Canada should move away from temporary migration back towards a focus on permanent immigration.

For more information about migrant workers in Canada: ccrweb.ca/en/migrant-workers

  1. Countdown to Refugee Rights Day: Fill in the blanks to 7 Keys for Refugees

Countdown to Refugee Rights DaySeven Keys to Protecting and Welcoming Refugees and Newcomers: A vision for Canada is more than a 2-page document. It’s a vision. For it to become reality, we need to reflect on what these Seven Keys look like, what they mean for our communities and we need to share them with others.
Fill in the blanks for refugees and newcomers to Canada as we count down to Refugee Rights Day (4 April 2015). Each week, help us highlight one of these Seven Keys and what it means to you and to the people around you.
 
Here’s what you can do:

For more information on the Seven Keys to Protecting and Welcoming Refugees and Newcomers: A vision for Canada,  see: ccrweb.ca/refugees-newcomers-vision-canada
 
And the countdown to Refugee Rights Day is just the beginning. Join in filling in the blanks for refugees and newcomers to Canada by promoting and sharing these Seven Keys in the weeks and months to come.

  1. ‘Security’ and accountability: from Benamar Benatta to Bill C-51

Benamar BenattaGood news at long last for Benamar Benatta who recently reached a settlement with the Government of Canada! On 12 September 2001, Mr Benatta, an Algerian refugee claimant who had recently arrived in Canada, was unlawfully transferred to the US as a potential suspect in the September 11 attacks. He was labelled a terrorist simply because he was Muslim and had been in the air force. Despite being completely innocent, he spent nearly five years in jail in the US and endured serious abuse. The Canadian Council for Refugees played a role in the process allowing him eventually to return to Canada, where he was recognized as a refugee.
 
What happened to Mr Benatta shows how important it is that Canada scrupulously respect the basic rights of refugees at our borders.

Unfortunately, Bill C-51, the new anti-terrorism bill, takes us in the opposite direction. The bill greatly expands government powers, without adequate protection for individual rights. Of particular concern to the CCR are the proposed changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which would reduce still further the rights of non-citizens when the government chooses to introduce secret evidence.  

While Bill C-51 further expands government powers, the Arar Commission recommendations for an effective integrated oversight and review mechanism of security activities continue to go unaddressed.

The CCR’s comments on Bill C-51 are available at http://ccrweb.ca/sites/ccrweb.ca/files/c-51-comments-2015.pdf

  1. Take a Walk with refugees 15-21 June 2015

Walk with refugeesWhen you talk with people in your community about issues affecting refugees and former refugees, what are the reactions? Do they reflect the realities of refugees and former refugees in your community?
 
Organize or join a Walk with refugees 15-21 June 2015 as a way to mark World Refugee Day. A Walk with refugees is a guided tour with stops highlighting significant places and stories from refugees and others in your community, but it can take many forms. Connect the voices and stories refugees to common landmarks, shared community experiences and to those in your community who have a heart for social justice but for whom issues affecting refugees are not front and centre.
 
If you’re ready to Walk, here’s the starting line:

 And the Walk with refugees is just the beginning… Once you have a route and storytellers, you have a ready-made outreach activity to share and adapt throughout the year with new volunteers, school groups, congregations, funders and others.

To find out more about the Walk with refugees, see: ccrweb.ca/en/refugee-walk

  1. Join us at the CCR Spring Consultation Home, dignity: Human rights in Winnipeg, 21-23 May 2015

Home, dignity: Human rightsJoin us to explore questions affecting refugee protection and newcomer settlement at the Canadian Council for Refugee Spring Consultation in Winnipeg from 21-23 May 2015.
 
With participation from all Canadian provinces and with participants in fields as diverse as healthcare, housing and the law, the conference offers opportunities for professional development, networking and strategy. All are welcome to participate.
Information about the Consultation, workshop descriptions and online registration forms are available at: ccrweb.ca/meetings

Upcoming Meetings


21-23 May 2015 – CCR Spring Consultation, Winnipeg

28-29 August 2015 – CCR Summer Working Group meetings, Montreal

26-28 November 2015 – CCR Fall Consultation, Hamilton