Eligibility and admissibility criteria changes for refugee resettlement

Resolution number: 
19
June 1994
Whereas: 
  1. The Women at Risk Programme has been under review as an integrated part of the general gender consultation, with involvement from the CCR ad hoc committee examining the Women at Risk Programme, women resettled pursuant to the Women at Risk Programme, sponsors, UNHCR, immigration officers, visa officers, and settlement counsellors;
  2. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has repeatedly acknowledged that the Women at Risk programme, the pride of Canada, was specifically established to respond to the immediate protection needs of refugee women and that the Programme has not adequately met its goals and needs improvement;
  3. The UNHCR and the CCR ad hoc committee examining the Women at Risk Programme in their research findings confirm the necessity of changing the eligibility criteria to respond to vulnerable refugee women in need of urgent protection, including women experiencing gender-related persecution;
  4. The high proportion of stream B cases being processed under the Women at Risk Programme has made the Programme a misnomer by processing cases that fit the general Joint Assistance Programme profile thereby negatively impacting on those women in need of immediate protection who are at risk;
  5. In the Proposals for Action from the Consultations on Gender Issues and Refugees, the implementation of the IRB guidelines for overseas selection and the development of regulations for the Resettlement from Abroad category are listed as actions to be taken immediately. Their immediate implementation will address some of the concerns around the eligibility criteria for selecting women for refugee resettlement, including the Women at Risk Programme;
  6. The current successful establishment component of the admissibility criteria of the refugee resettlement programme, which includes the Women at Risk Programme, is gender-biased, penalizing women refugees for systemic disadvantages which women have encountered world-wide, is an inappropriate measurement and is contradictory with the overall goal of the humanitarian refugee programme, including the Women at Risk Programme;
  7. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration on behalf of the Department released a Declaration of Refugee Protection for Women on June 1, 1994 at the CCR recognizing the "need to overcome traditional male-oriented views of the potential of refugees for `successful establishment'" and the summary of findings of the Women at Risk Programme review presented to the CCR on June 2, 1994 notes that programme partners have called for the relaxing or elimination of the successful establishment component of the admissibility criteria;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR communicate to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration strongly urging:

  1. The revision of eligibility criteria for refugee resettlement programmes with special changes to the Women at Risk Programme criteria, enabling it to be a programme responsive to the urgent protection needs of refugee women;
  2. The elimination of the successful establishment component of the admissibility criteria for refugees in urgent need of protection, especially refugee women.
Working Group: 
Overseas Protection and Resettlement