Resolutions adopted June 2019

1. Legal Aid

Whereas:
  1. Access to legal aid in immigration related proceedings directly engages fundamental rights;
  2. Effective functioning of the justice system including the Immigration and Refugee Board requires that individuals are represented by skilled, competent legal professionals;
  3. In the absence of legal aid, vulnerable individuals will be denied access to representation;
  4. There are significant disparities in access to legal aid across the country;
Therefore be it resolved:

that the CCR:

  1. Advocate on both the federal and provincial levels for adequate and sustainable legal aid services in immigration and refugee related areas;
  2. Advocate that federal transfers and provincial legal aid legislation include specific requirements for the delivery of immigration and refugee services.

2. Developing a National Framework for Unaccompanied Minors in Canada

Whereas:
  1. There remain dangerous gaps in protection and support for unaccompanied and separated migrant and refugee claimant children entering Canada and moving through the refugee determination system and other immigration processes;
  2. There exists a lack of consistency between and within Provinces, Territories and regions in regards to the assessment, treatment, and available services and supports for unaccompanied and separated migrant, refugee claimant and refugee children;
  3. Canada still lacks clear and consistent guidelines and legislation to deal fairly with unaccompanied and separated migrant and refugee claimant children;
  4. Concerns have been repeatedly expressed by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in regards to the absence of a national policy on unaccompanied and separated migrant and refugee children in Canada, as well as a failure to distinguish between accompanied and unaccompanied children within Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
Therefore be it resolved:

that the CCR: 

  1. Call on the federal government, in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments and NGOs, to establish a national framework for unaccompanied and separated migrant, refugee claimant and refugee children.
  2. Insist that Canada’s national framework for unaccompanied and separated migrant, refugee claimant and refugee children take into account the following:
    1. the development of appropriate legislation, policy, protocols and safeguards to ensure fair and compassionate treatment of unaccompanied and separated minors at all stages of their settlement in Canada;
    2. adequate access to services and supports in all areas critical to the minor’s settlement and wellbeing (including, but not limited to: access to safe housing, education, healthcare services, legal assistance, social welfare, basic needs supports and family reunification), and;
    3. that Canada’s national framework for unaccompanied and separated migrant, refugee claimant and refugee children is developed and implemented in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the United Nations Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children.

3. Housing

Whereas:
  1. Housing is a human right;
  2. Canada’s affordable housing crisis is impacting all medium to low-income Canadians, including immigrants and refugees. The impact of building further affordable housing through the National Housing Strategy will take time and does not address the crisis of today;
  3. Social assistance levels allocations are not adequate given the high cost of rents. The need for affordable housing outstrips what is presently available;
  4. The lack of shelter and dedicated services geared to arriving refugee claimants is creating a crisis within existing shelter systems and is increasing homelessness;
  5. Refugee claimants face absolute homelessness upon their arrival. Presently, refugee claimants are not eligible for the same supports as government-sponsored or privately sponsored refugees;
  6. Safe and affordable housing is critical to the successful settlement of refugee families and individuals;
  7. The CCR passed Res.: 5 , Nov 2005 on housing;
Therefore be it resolved:

that the CCR:

  1. Call on all levels of governments responsible for housing and settlement to allocate more resources for accessible and affordable housing and to review the provision of adequate income and social assistance levels to facilitate access to safe, secure and affordable housing for all refugee claimants.
  2. Urge the inclusion of refugees and refugee claimants in the development and allocation of affordable housing projects.
  3. Encourage all levels of government to fund the development of appropriate short-term housing solutions for arriving refugee claimants, which include settlement services.

4. Equity for International Students

Whereas:
  1. The federal, provincial and territorial governments are increasingly recruiting international students as a source of permanent residents, as they are already partially integrated and therefore require fewer post-diploma settlement services (ex. language training);
  2. Applicants for students visas are rejected if they express the desire to stay in Canada permanently, while Canada’s economic immigration system encourages international students to apply for permanent residency at the end of their studies;
  3. Their precarious status puts them in positions of vulnerability (ex. labour exploitation, conjugal violence);
Therefore be it resolved:

that the CCR take the position that:

  1. Prospective international students should not be penalized in their visa application if they declare their desire to apply for permanent residency upon graduation.
  2. The federal and Quebec governments finance full access to settlement and other support services for international students and their dependants.