Promoting Fairness as a Canadian Priority: Reforming Canada's refugee system

“Next year Canada will make significant reforms to our asylum system to make it more efficient, but also to add an additional level of procedural fairness creating a new fact-based appeal for failed asylum claimants.”

- Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Geneva, 7 December 2011

2011 saw further preparations for the implementation of Bill C-11, a bill passed in 2010 introducing major reforms to Canada’s refugee determination system. Among the most notable: implementation of the Refugee Appeal Division, a promise in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. While an appeal for refugee claimants is a big step forward in fairness, in 2011 the government proposed that claimants would face an unworkable 15-day limit to submit an appeal.

A 15-day deadline for filing and perfecting an appeal will:

  • Mean that wrong decisions will go uncorrected and refugees may be sent back to persecution, torture or death.
  • Hurt the most vulnerable refugees, including survivors of torture, children and youth, refugees who don’t speak English or French, women with children, and people suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • Make the Refugee Appeal Division a huge waste of money – the decision-makers won’t have any proper submissions to consider.