Promoting Public Support for Newcomers: Newcomers should be welcome, not Canada’s ‘most wanted’

Setting the record straight, changing public opinion

We want refugees to be treated fairly and honourably, in a process that is independent and affordable.

These are Canadian values and treating refugees in this way is good for Canada and good for refugees. 

Over the summer, the government took the unprecedented step of publishing ‘most wanted’ lists, inviting Canadians to participate in locating non-citizens wanted for removal. Concerns were raised that this initiative contributes to a negative perception of non-citizens as dangerous criminals. The number of individuals on the lists represents only a tiny percentage of newcomers to Canada – the government’s intensive focus, picked up by the media, is out of all proportion. Unfortunately this is likely to reinforce existing xenophobia, hurting all newcomers, particularly in the context of repeated recent government messaging associating refugees and immigrants with criminality, fraud and abuse.  Other concerns include the misapplication of the label “war criminal”, possible violation of privacy rights and the fact that publication increases risks for some people if they are deported