Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 12 no. 1, 10 May 2017

Printer-friendly versionSend by email
CCR Chronicle

Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle
Vol. 12 no. 1, 10 May 2017

In this issue:

-----
  1. The end of conditional permanent residence for sponsored spouses

The end of conditional permanent residence for sponsored spousesThe CCR welcomes the end of conditional permanent residence for sponsored spouses and partners, which took effect 18 April. The repeal of this measure comes as a relief to sponsored spouses in vulnerable situations, and to the advocates who support them.

Under the conditional permanent residence rules, the permanent residence of some sponsored spouses was conditional on their remaining in the conjugal relationship and living with their sponsor, for a period of two years. If they did not fulfill these conditions, their permanent residence could be revoked, and they could be deported. An exception to the condition was possible in cases of abuse or neglect. However, due to isolation, lack of information, fear, or lack of an advocate for support, many victims of abuse were unable to access the exception, and remained in abusive relationships for fear of losing their permanent resident status.

For CCR's release on the repeal, as well as background information and the impacts of conditional permanent residence, see: ccrweb.ca/en/conditional-permanent-residence.

  1. What about forgotten refugees in Canada: legacy claimants?

The CCR and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) are calling on the federal government to introduce measures for 5,600 “legacy” claimants,  people who have been waiting years for a refugee hearing. Their claims have been treated as lowest priority for scheduling since 2012, when changes were made to the refugee determination system. Only 678 legacy claims were finalized in 2016: at that rate, it will take over 8 years to hear all the “legacy” claimants.

These delays have had profound impacts on these refugee claimants. For example:

  • A woman has been anxiously waiting for her refugee hearing for over 5 years so that she can reunite with her young daughter who is still in her country of origin. The daughter, now 11 years old, has been living with her grandmother, but the grandmother's health has now deteriorated so that she can no longer care for her granddaughter.

The CCR urges the federal government to introduce special measures to allow these claimants to apply for permanent residence.

For more information, see: ccrweb.ca/en/legacy-claimants

  1. Thousands of families excluded from increase to age of dependants

Family reunification for allThe CCR is deeply disappointed at the government’s decision to exclude all families with applications in process from the upcoming change in the age of dependants rule, due to take effect in October 2017. The result is to deny reunification for thousands of families with young adult children.

We are particularly concerned about refugee families where young adult children are left either in the home country at risk of persecution, or in a precarious situation in a third country. As a result of the rule excluding current applications, families are going to face difficult decisions:

  • Some families will consider withdrawing current applications so that they can apply again after the rule change. For example, a woman recently recognized as a refugee in Canada who has a 19 year old outside Canada may need to withdraw the application and re-apply after 24 October. This will cost her hundreds of dollars, be wasteful to immigration processing, will delay reunification for the whole family and slow down her integration into Canada.
     
  • Many families will delay applying to benefit from the change. For example, private sponsors of refugees will want to wait until after 24 October if they are planning to sponsor a family with young adult children. This will mean the family will spend longer in a vulnerable situation waiting for a permanent home.
Read the CCR media release at: ccrweb.ca/en/thousands-families-excluded-benefit-increased-age-dependent-children

Practical information on current rules regarding the “age of dependants”: http://ccrweb.ca/en/age-dependants

  1. New refugee board guidelines on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression (SOGIE) welcomed

The CCR welcomes new guidelines from the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression (SOGIE). The CCR has been asking for these kinds of guidelines since 1994 and they reflect many suggestions from the CCR.

Canada's refugee determination system has become more challenging for LGBTI refugees since the 2012 changes and these guidelines will help IRB members make informed decisions. These guidelines also enable Canada to play an international leadership role as many LGBTI refugees face many barriers in being recognized as refugees around the world.

We look forward to seeing how these guidelines are put into practice through training for IRB members, lawyers and interpreters who all have roles to play in ensuring protection for LGBTI refugee claimants.

For more information on these guidelines and what they mean for refugee claimants, read: thestar.com/news/immigration/2017/05/05/refugee-board-creates-guidelines-for-deciding-lgbtq-claims.html

  1. Join us at the CCR's meetings in Edmonton:

National Spring Consultation, Nurturing Diversity and Inclusion: Reflecting on the past to inspire the future, Edmonton, 1-3 June 2017

CCR Spring Consultation, 1-3 June 2017, Edmonton
With views from all Canadian provinces and with participants in fields as diverse as mental health services and the law, this conference offers opportunities for professional development, networking and strategy.
 
Join us to explore questions affecting refugee protection and newcomer settlement at the CCR Spring Consultation. All are welcome to participate!
 
The Consultation will feature keynote speaker Lewis Cardinal, indigenous human rights activist, as well as Sarita Bhatla, Director General, Refugee Affairs Branch, and Corinne Prince St-Amand, Director General, Integration, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will participate in a Dialogue with government representatives.
 
Register by 12 May to take advantage of the reduced fees! Information about the Consultation and online registration are available at: ccrweb.ca/meetings 
Regional forum on migrant worker issues
Migrant Voices: Regional Forum on Migrant Workers in Edmonton, 4 June 2017

Join the CCR and Migrante Alberta for a skill-sharing and strategy session for migrant workers and people advocating for the rights of migrant workers.

Click here for more details and to register for this one-day session.

 

Upcoming Meetings

CCR Spring Consultation
1 - 3 June 2017
Edmonton

Regional Forum on Migrant Worker Issues
4 June 2017
Edmonton

CCR Summer Working Group meetings
8 - 9 September 2017
Montreal

CCR Fall Consultation
30 November - 2 December 2017
Niagara Falls

Join the CCR

By joining the CCR, your organization will become part of a vibrant and dynamic national network of over 170 organizations committed to refugee and migrant rights and the integration of newcomers.

Not with an organization? Individuals can join as Associate Members.

* Membership is not open to members of government or to members of the media 

To find out more on how to become a member of the CCR, please visit:
ccrweb.ca/en/join