Bill C-20, An Act establishing the Public Complaints and Review Commission, responds to the Canadian Council for Refugees’ longstanding call for oversight of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) – we welcome this bill as a long overdue measure. There are shortcomings in the bill, as outlined in our submission, but we urge that they be addressed through amendments and the bill passed.
Legislation - submission on
This submission is made as a contribution to the Committee’s study into the Subject Matter of Clauses 301 to 310 (Part 4, Division 16) of Bill C-97, the omnibus budget bill. The clauses in question would amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in ways that would affect the rights of refugee claimants seeking Canada’s protection.
The CCR calls for the elimination of provisions in the omnibus Budget Implementation Act, Bill C-97, that significantly reduce the rights of refugee claimants. The proposed changes to the refugee determination system place many people at increased risk of being sent back to face persecution, in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and of Canada’s international human rights obligations.
This document outlines key problems with the proposed amendments.
The attached are the CCR's representations concerning the proposed changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, with respect to the transportation loans, pre-published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, Vol. 151, No. 39, on 30 September 2017
Reducing fairness for refugees and permanent residents
Bill C-43 contains a number of provisions of concern to the CCR because they will lead to less fairness, do not honour Canada’s international legal obligations and deny some people the right to appear before an independent decision-maker.
Less fairness for people inadmissible on grounds of security, human or international rights violations or organized criminality
These inadmissibility sections are extremely broad and catch people who have committed no crime and represent no danger to safety or security. Among those affected are people who are inadmissible simply because they worked against undemocratic or brutal regimes.
Bill C-43 would deprive such people of fair consideration of their situation, by:
- Limiting the scope of the exemption from inadmissibility (known as ministerial relief) to national security and public safety considerations.
- Denying access to humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) considerations
- Imposing mandatory conditions when released from detention.
These changes are inconsistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canada’s international legal obligations:
- The limiting of ministerial relief will prevent some refugees from making a refugee claim, leading to Canada returning them to face persecution, in violation of our international legal obligations under the Refugee Convention.
- The proposed new wording for ministerial relief will prevent the Minister from considering whether Charter rights would be violated if a person was denied ministerial relief. The Supreme Court has already said that Charter rights must be considered.
- Elimination of access to H&C will prevent consideration of the best interests of any affected child, contrary to Canada’s obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Less fairness for permanent residents facing loss of status because of serious criminality
Bill C-43 denies permanent residents the right of appeal to the Immigration and Refugee Board if they are sentenced to imprisonment for six months or more (currently it is 2 years). This means that these permanent residents will be removed without an independent decision-maker considering all the relevant circumstances of the case, which might include:
- The fact that they came to Canada as a child and have lived effectively all their life in this country. They may have no family or connections in the country of their birth, and not even speak the language.
- They are suffering from mental health problems, which contributed to the commission of the crime.
For details on these and other concerns, see the CCR submission.