160 organizations urge Minister of Finance to keep social assistance for all

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Media release

For immediate release
18 November 2014

160 organizations urge Minister of Finance to keep social assistance for all

The Canadian Council for Refugees has joined 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 today (November 18) 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.

This legislative initiative is similar to the denial of healthcare to refugee claimants, which the Federal Court recently ruled was “cruel and unusual”.

The organizations signing the letter represent a wide range of sectors, including health, poverty, human rights, faith communities, refugees, women and legal advocates. The letter is signed by national as well as regional and local organizations from across the country.

The letter and list of signatories is available at ccrweb.ca/en/open-letter-budget-bill-social-assistance

The Canadian Council for Refugees has presented its concerns about the provisions to the Senate: ccrweb.ca/en/c43-social-assistance-submission. The CCR will also appear before the Commons committee on 19 November to urge that the provisions be withdrawn.


Colleen French, Communication and Networking Coordinator, Canadian Council for Refugees, (514) 277-7223, ext. 1, (514) 602-2098 (cell), email: cfrench@ccrweb.ca