Resolutions relating to mental health

Vicarious Trauma for frontline workers , Res.: 1 , Jun 2017
  1. There is prolonged stress on the job in serving refugees and immigrants;
  2. There is a high risk for front line workers to face vicarious trauma when working with clients;
Therefore be it resolved:

that the CCR ask federal and provincial funders of settlement services to increase funding for professional development and designate specific funds for training and support for staff in vicarious trauma, self-care, and trauma informed care.

Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) , Res.: 1 , Jun 2012
  1. Anyone who resides in Canada should be entitled to an acceptable level of healthcare;
  2. The Canada Health Act enshrines the principle of universality;
  3. Preventative healthcare is both more humane and more economical than curative healthcare; and
  4. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognizes that everyone has the right to “the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health” and that States have a duty of non-discrimination in the realization of that right.
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR oppose the reductions to the IFHP announced in April 2012 and advocate:

  1. For the cancellation of the announced reductions,
  2. Against any other reductions in IFHP coverage, and
  3. Against any differentiation in coverage based on category of refugee or claimant, or stage of processing (e.g. claimant, accepted refugee, refused refugee, government-assisted refugees, privately-sponsored refugees).
Mental Health and Detention - part 3 , Res.: 5 , Jun 2012

individuals with mental health issues, who have had no involvement with the criminal justice system, are detained in provincial criminal institutions,

Therefore be it resolved:

that the CCR advocate that CBSA cease this practice, provide individuals with accommodations that respect their dignity, and provide access to appropriate services.

Mental Health and Detention - part 1 , Res.: 5 , Jun 2012

there are numerous gaps in services for immigrants and refugees with mental health issues and serious problems with the legal framework

Therefore be it resolved:

that the CCR advocate in favour of:

  1. The right to State-funded counsel for persons with mental health issues.
  2. Access to mental health services for persons in detention, including assessment, counselling, and treatment.
  3. Training on mental health issues for all CBSA officers, IRB members, designated representatives and other stakeholders.
  4. Guidelines to provide for flexibility to enable PIF or BOC amendments without consequences for refugee claimants and
  5. Relaxed timelines for all vulnerable persons.
  6. Repeal IRPA sections 64 (2) (no appeal for a person with a sentence of 2 years or more) and 68 (a) (automatic termination of stays of removal in the event of subsequent conviction.
Mental Health and Detention - part 2 , Res.: 5 , Jun 2012

conditions imposed on individuals to be released from detention by the Immigration Division and conditions imposed for a stay of a deportation order by the Immigration Appeal Division do not always take into consideration difficulties of compliance for people with serious mental health issues.

Therefore be it resolved:

that CCR advocate that the IRB develop a policy for decision makers that requires that all conditions of release and stay take into account the ability of the person to comply with the conditions in light of their mental health status.

Persons with mental health issues before the IRB , Res.: 9 , May 2007
  1. The needs of persons with mental health issues are not being adequately addressed by any of the divisions of the IRB;
  2. The guidelines for vulnerable persons do not meet these needs;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR advocate for the creation and implementation by the IRB of specialized mental health tribunals modelled upon the mental health courts in the criminal justice system.

Arming of border guards , Res.: 9 , Nov 2006
  1. A decision has been made by the government of Canada to arm the officers of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
  2. The CCR has raised its concerns to the Prime Minister in this regard.
  3. Arming CBSA is absolutely unnecessary with negative impacts on refugees who have gone through persecution, mental trauma and torture.
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR oppose the arming of CBSA and advocate to overturn the decision.

Extensions for filing PIFs and abandonments , Res.: 12 , May 2003
  1. The IRB is denying extensions of time for filing PIFs and where extensions are granted they are for 1-2 weeks maximum;
  2. This does not allow for difficulties claimants experience when they:
    a)are detained; b)require translation (language issues);
    c)require an experienced counsel (e.g. gender, sexual orientation);
    d)face delays in obtaining legal aid;
    e)reside in smaller centres with no easy access to counsel;
    f)are survivors of torture and trauma;
  3. The IRB is declaring abandonment even where a claimant has produced a PIF and has a reasonable explanation for the delay;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR:

  1. Ask the Chairperson of the IRB to issue a directive to allow for longer (1 month or more) extensions for filing of PIFs;
  2. Ask the IRB Chairperson to issue a directive that cases not be declared abandoned if the PIF is filed in advance of or at an abandonment hearing.
Mental health , Res.: 22 , Nov 2002
  1. In 1994, CCR passed a resolution urging the implementation of the recommendations outlined in "After the Door Has Been Opened" in regard to the mental health of refugee and immigrants;
  2. There has been no documented implementation or follow-up on the recommendations;
  3. There are limited and restricting resources for mental health services under the Interim Federal Health Program;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR:

  1. Request the development of a joint task group made up of CCR, CIC, Health Canada and relevant Québec ministries to investigate the outcome of the report's recommendations with an intent to re-evaluate the current status of mental health programming for refugees and immigrants and develop a national implementation strategy;
  2. Request that CIC, Health Canada and their Québec counterparts provide the resources to facilitate the consultation processes;
  3. Put in place measures to ensure broad representation of all stakeholders i.e. mental health practitioners, refugees and settlement providers;
  4. Request that as an interim measure, CIC ensure that resources are provided to the Interim Federal Health Program to provide for both short and long-term mental health services and that it be applied consistently across Canada.
Minister's representatives , Res.: 9 , Dec 2000
  1. There have been reports of Minister's Representatives' interventions in refugee hearings leading to retraumatization of refugee claimants, especially survivors of torture;
  2. There is no Code of Conduct to be observed by the Minister's representative at refugee hearings;
  3. There is no adequate accountability mechanism in this respect;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR write to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the Chairperson of the IRB raising its concerns and asking them to collaborate in establishing a fair and accountable mechanism, with feedback from the CCR, for conduct of the Minister's representatives at refugee hearings and their mode of interventions.


Treatment of survivors of torture by the IRB , Res.: 11 , Dec 1999
  1. Evidence indicates that some survivors of torture are being re-traumatized by the experience of the refugee hearing process;
  2. The determination of refugee status for survivors of torture presents evidentiary complexities for the IRB;
  3. The CCR has endorsed a detailed written proposal for guidelines for the determination of torture survivors before the IRB;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR request that the IRB make it apriority to establish a joint committee with the CCR to develop guidelines for refugee claim determination involving survivors of torture. The joint committee will work in consultation with other organizations with expertise in dealing with survivors of torture.


Acceptance of women at risk referrals , Res.: 17 , Jun 1994
  1. The UNHCR and other NGOs who identify and refer Women at Risk cases to Canadian visa posts abroad have gathered adequate information on the referred cases;
  2. Numerous sources confirm that interviewing a woman for the details of her story of persecution can be an act of traumatization, and that further interviews are unnecessary and re-traumatizing;
  3. The November 1993 CCR Gender Consultations noted the importance of visa officers accepting referrals of Women at Risk cases using their discretion not to interview for the details of their persecution;
  4. In the restructuring of the Canadian visa posts visa officers have been advised to use their discretionary authority to decrease the number of interviews;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR request the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to direct visa officers to accept and process expeditiously the referrals of Women at Risk cases from the UNHCR and NGOs without an interview for the details of the persecution experience.

Immigrant and refugee mental health , Res.: 8 , Jun 1994
  1. The settlement and adaptation process has been recognised in the Report "After the Door has been Opened" to have significant mental health aspects;
  2. The federal Ministries of Human Resources, Citizenship and Immigration, Canadian Heritage, and Health are concerned with the successful settlement of Immigrants and refugees;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR request that:

  1. The above mentioned Federal ministries continue to implement the recommendations of the report "After the Door Has Been Opened";
  2. These Ministries pay particular attention to and review the mental health effects of their policies;
  3. These Ministries urge the Provincial Ministries of Health to recognise cross cultural mental health counselling by including costs for these services under the Provincial Health Plans.