Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 9 #10, 12 February 2015

Vol. 9 no. 10, 12 February 2015

In this issue:

  1. How Canada responds to Syrian refugees

The CCR welcomed the announcement in early January that Canada will resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next 3 years.
A number of questions and concerns remain following this announcement. We look forward to hearing how the government responds to calls for increased Canadian leadership and flexibility for refugees fleeing Syria and seeking protection in Canada.
In particular:

  • Are the numbers of Syrian refugees to be resettled to Canada over and above existing Canadian commitments? (The CCR has since heard from the Minister that they are not).
  • Will refugees selected for resettlement be chosen on the basis of need and without discrimination on the basis of religion? (The Minister’s response on this is ambiguous.)
  • Will the government introduce special measures for Syrians with family in Canada? (The Minister says Family Class applications are processed on a priority basis and that Temporary Resident Permits are issued “as appropriate”).

If you share these questions and concerns, write to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and urge the government do more to assist refugees fleeing Syria, over and above commitments to other refugees, and without discrimination on the basis of religion.
Click here for the CCR’s response to the government’s announcements.

  1. Countdown to Refugee Rights Day: Seven Keys to Protecting and Welcoming Refugees and Newcomers

7 Keys to protecting and welcoming refugeesThe CCR has put together Seven Keys to Protecting and Welcoming Refugees and Newcomers: A vision for Canada. What do these keys mean to you and what difference would it make if they were reality?

Join us in a countdown to Refugee Rights Day (4 April 2015). Each week, we’ll highlight one of these 7 Keys. Share what each Key means to you and others in your community by:

  • Sharing images like this one on social media (we’ll release a new one each week)
  • Do you know a person or a family for whom the Key of the week could have or has made a difference? Reach out and see if they are willing to share their example with others.

The countdown to Refugee Rights Day is just the beginning. Join us in promoting and sharing these 7 Keys in the weeks and months to come!

Click here for more information on the Seven Keys to Protecting and Welcoming Refugees and Newcomers: A vision for Canada and the countdown to Refugee Rights Day

  1. Lifting of moratoria on removals for Haiti and Zimbabwe: What to do

Lives on holdOn 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.
Click here to read our joint statement with the Table de concertation des organismes au service des personnes réfugiées et immigrantes (TCRI), la Maison d’Haïti and the Refugee Lawyers Association of Ontario.
Please share our practical resources if you know anyone who might be affected.
Click here for media coverage on the lifting of the moratoria on removals for Haiti and Zimbabwe.

  1. The future of private sponsorship of refugees in Canada

The future of private sponsorship for refugeesUnique in the world, Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program has allowed Canadians to offer protection and a new home to more than 225,000 refugees since 1979. Despite its historical success, the Program has been facing dramatic changes and challenges in recent years. These changes include:

  • New, restrictive rules limiting which refugees can be sponsored, from where and how many.
  • More burdensome paperwork: forms are extremely complicated and sponsors no longer have access to government officials locally to guide them.
  • Very slow processing, especially in certain regions of the world.
  • Shortcomings in government communication and consultation with sponsors
  • New government expectations that sponsors will resettle refugees identified by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, while the government is itself resettling fewer refugees.

Join us in recommitting to a broad, inclusive and effective refugee resettlement program. Click here for more information.

  1. Participate in the CCR’s Winter Working Group meetings, 27 and 28 February 2015, Toronto

Participants at a CCR Working Group meetingDo 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 27 February and 28 February 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 27 FEBRUARY: 9:30am - 5pm

Note the day - Inland Protection Working Group meeting
SATURDAY 28 FEBRUARY: 9:30am - 5pm
Immigration and Settlement Working Group meeting
note the day - Overseas Protection and Sponsorship 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

Upcoming Meetings

27-28 February 2015 – CCR Winter Working Group meetings, Toronto

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

Upcoming Webinars


Thursday 5 March 2015 - Social media and refugee rights