Women at risk recommendations

Resolution number: 
November 1994
  1. The CCR is committed to promoting the rights and protection of refugee women, including refugee women at risk;
  2. The Women at Risk review is complete and awaiting recommendations;
  3. The CCR has developed the following recommendations within its document 'Women at Risk: Developing Recommendations':
    1. REC.1 The Canadian Women at Risk (AWR) programme should respond to women at risk. Whereas the Canadian AWR programme does not respond effectively to women in urgent need of resettlement, special mechanisms should be established, such as doing medical checks upon arrival in Canada, providing transportation grants, making use of Minister's Permits, and establishing processing timelines.

      REC.2 The AWR program should include women fleeing gender-based persecution, either in the country of origin or in the country of asylum.

      REC. 3 The Resettlement from Abroad Category should be established and used for processing AWR. The category should use the definition outlined in Specific Recommendation R7 of the report of Issue Group 3 of the 1994 Immigration Consultation.

      REC.4 The successful establishment component of admissibility criteria should be eliminated for refugees in urgent need of protection, especially refugee women.

      REC.5 Visa officers should accept and process expeditiously the referrals of Women at Risk cases from UNHCR and NGOs without an interview for the details of the persecution experience.

      REC.6 Canada should work with the UNHCR and NGOs in countries of first asylum where this will enable it to respond more effectively to refugee women at risk.

      REC.7 The training of visa officers around the issues concerning refugee women should be further improved, eg. to cover the psycho-social sequelae to trauma and expediting cases.

      REC.8 AWR programme should be managed as a separate programme within Citizenship and Immigration, enabling a more coherent implementation. All categories of women at risk should receive a transportation grant.

      REC.9 Citizenship and Immigration should implement mechanisms to measure the success of the AWR programme, which would include feedback from all programme participants. Research should be conducted on refugee women`s experiences of resettlement, including their adaptation skills and other personal resources. A monitoring system needs to be established to enable the tracking of cases from the point of referral to the end of the sponsoring period. This information would be used in visa training and the improvement of AWR policy and operations.

      REC.10 A full time position should be created within Citizenship and Immigration for the promotion and administration of the AWR programme.

      REC.11 Where no sponsors are immediately available, Canada should utilize reception centres across the country to accommodate women at risk upon arrival for an optional intensive three to six month period of healing and orientation. During this time, sponsors would be found.

      REC.12 The number of women admitted under the Women at Risk programme should increase. Canada should set an annual minimum target of the number of women it seeks to assist through the AWR programme, effective immediately.

Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Adopt in principle the report 'Women at Risk: Developing Recommendations';
  2. Adopt and promote the recommendations within 'Women at Risk: Developing Recommendations'.
Working Group: 
Overseas Protection and Resettlement