Resolutions adopted November 1995

Whereas:
  1. Settlement Renewal will have significant implications for settlement and integration services in Canada;
  2. A consultation on national principles was held at the CCR fall consultation with a broad participation including representatives from different provinces across Canada;
  3. A series of principles were generated.  A principle is defined as a commonly held, value-based guideline or framework that guides action;
  4. Consultation participants have expressed a need for further opportunities to provide a fuller input on the Settlement Renewal consultation;
  5. This consultation process on Settlement Renewal should be transparent, structured and inclusive with adequate federal funding;
Therefore be it resolved:
  1. The settlement core group on behalf of the settlement working group:

*  monitor the Settlement Renewal process;

* further develop these principles and draft others which address gaps in the current set;

* develop standards which relate to these principles;

  1. The CCR forward this document immediately, followed by any subsequent principles and standards, to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration for inclusion in the legal agreements between the Federal Government and partners as determined through the Settlement Renewal process;
  2. The CCR communicate these principles to all the participants of the Settlement Renewal workshop.

NATIONAL PRINCIPLES

National principles must be upheld by national standards.  These standards still need to be developed along with mechanisms which ensure compliance.

1.   Client eligibility

a) Settlement/integration services should be available to immigrants/refugees based on need rather than on immigration status or length of time in Canada;

2.   Eligibility of Service Deliverers:

b) Services which are mandated by provincial, regional, or local governments (health care, primary‑secondary education, administration of justice) should not be funded as settlement and integration services;

c) Not‑for‑profit, community‑based organizations with proven track records, and a primary mandate in delivering settlement/integration services should be given funding priority;

d) Service-providers should have expertise and skills in the field of settlement and integration;

3.   Rights of clients:

e) Providers of settlement and integration services must respect and protect fundamental rights of clients (eg. confidentiality, legal, etc.);

f) Services should be delivered in a manner that is culturally and linguistically appropriate and free from racism and other forms of discrimination;

g) Organizations collecting and using data must meet standards of appropriateness, confidentiality, validity, etc. and must be accountable to the clients whose information is being collected;

4.   Comprehensiveness of services:

h) Where appropriate and practical, clients should be able to choose from among service-providers the approach to service-delivery that best meets their needs;

i) Settlement/integration services should:

-  meet national standards,

-  reflect changing needs of the local community,

-  meet the self-defined needs of the individual immigrant/refugee;

5.   Accessibility of services

j) Services should be made accessible by identifying and removing systemic barriers;

6.   Priority-setting and funding allocation process

k)Where established, local or regional advisory bodies should identify local settlement and integration priorities.  These non-partisan bodies should be composed of community members with expertise in the provision of settlement services and reflect the ethno-racial composition of the client group;

7.   Humanitarian Obligations

l)Settlement Renewal should not reduce the federal government's national obligations to international responsibility-sharing and offering a safe haven to refugees.  The rights and needs of refugees must be integrated and guaranteed priority in the provision of settlement and integration services;

8.   Accountability

m) Allocation of settlement funds should be utilized solely for settlement/integration services;

n) Methods for ensuring accountability should be appropriate, realistic and cost effective. They should:

-reflect accountability methods already in place;

-not constitute "undue scrutiny" in comparison with practices for other comparable service sectors;

9.   Enduring Federal Role

o) A strong federal role must include a commitment to continue to fund settlement services at a rate not less than the 1994/95 funding level.

Whereas:
  1. Consultations on resettlement policy and practices have been launched by the UNHCR;
  2. EXCOM Conclusion 19(p) of October 1995 states "The Executive Committee reiterates the continued importance of resettlement as an instrument of protection and its use as a durable solution to refugee problems in specific circumstances; welcomes the initiative in commissioning an evaluation study and the UNHCR consultation on resettlement; and encourages UNHCR to continue the process of dialogue with interested Governments and non-governmental organizations to strengthen its activities in this connection, and to provide regular reports to the Executive Committee";
Therefore be it resolved:

that the CCR:

  1. Endorse EXCOM Conclusion 19(p);
  2. Invite American NGOs involved in resettlement and the UNHCR for a regional meeting to prepare for the upcoming international tripartite (NGO, government, UNHCR) resettlement consultation to be held in Geneva;
  3. Seek government support to enable Canadian NGO participation at this tripartite consultation.
Whereas:
  1. Some refugee women in need of resettlement fit the special criteria of the Women at Risk Programme (in general women in urgent need of resettlement (Stream A) or women who require longer term settlement assistance (Stream B));
  2. The CCR has called for the expeditious processing of Stream A cases;
  3. The CCR has affirmed the use of the Joint Assistance Initiative (formerly Joint Assistance Programme) for Stream B cases;
  4. Citizenship and Immigration officials have indicated that refugee women fitting the Stream A of the Women at Risk Programme have been processed as government-assisted refugees (CR1) because CR1 refugees can be processed more quickly than Women at Risk cases;
  5. When Stream A Women at Risk cases are processed as CR1s they are not counted in Women at Risk Programme statistics;
  6. Citizenship and Immigration Canada has not followed up on its review of the Women at Risk Programme nor responded to the recommendations adopted by the CCR in November 1994;
Therefore be it resolved:

that the CCR:

  1. Express to Citizenship and Immigration Canada its deep disappointment at the lack of attention to reform of the Women at Risk programme.
  2. Call on the Department to:

            a) Distinguish in its Women at Risk statistics between Stream A and Stream B cases;

            b) Continue to process expeditiously women with urgent protection needs through CR1 channels, but categorize them as Women at Risk Stream A for the purpose of statistics, where they meet the Women at Risk definition;

            c) Continue to process Women at Risk Stream B cases as a subset of the Joint Assistance Initiative, categorized for statistical purposes as Women at Risk Stream B;

  1. Reaffirm its former Women at Risk resolutions, with a particular emphasis on the call to negotiate the use of Reception Centres for the initial reception and (for CR5) matching of Women at Risk.
Whereas:
  1. Resolution 15 of May 1992 established a task force to inquire into problems being experienced by refugees with respect to family reunification;
  2. The Task Force on Family Reunification's report was released in August 1995;
  3. The CCR remains deeply concerned over the barriers to speedy family reunification for refugees;
Therefore be it resolved:

that the CCR:

  1. Endorse the report in principle;
  2. Call on the government to respond immediately to the concerns raised in the report;
  3. In particular endorse and call for swift action on the following recommendations:

R1.Spouses and dependent children of refugees in Canada should be granted a “derivative status” immediately upon positive determination of the refugee claim, on the basis of which they could proceed to Canada.  All processing of their permanent residence applications, including medical examinations, would be conducted in Canada, in parallel with the refugee's application.

R6.As a matter of principle, the benefit of the doubt with respect to family relationship should be given to refugees applying to sponsor their families.  Visa officers should be encouraged to use flexibility in assessing evidence of relationships and should take into account the delays and costs involved in requesting further proofs.

R14.Where spouse and children of a refugee claimant in Canada are themselves clearly in need of protection, they should not have to wait until the refugee claim is determined and the applications for permanent residence can be processed.  In such cases, visa officers should be directed to issue visas allowing the family to travel to Canada on an urgent basis.

R15.Where children of a refugee or refugee claimant in Canada are without adult care-giver, visa officers should be directed to take a proactive approach to ensure that the children have proper adult protection.  Where such protection is not available, arrangements should be made for them to join the parent in Canada without delay.

R16.Where women in need of protection in third countries have a clear connection to Canada and are likely to benefit by being united with real or de facto family members in Canada, they should be granted asylum in Canada.

R18.Additional visa post resources should be devoted to Africa.  This should be done by reallocating existing resources from regions with relatively light workloads.

R19.Serious consideration should be given to sending “flying teams” of visa officers on a temporary basis to areas where there is a need for additional resources.

R20.For refugees, eligibility of a child for landing based on the 19 year age limit should be determined as of the date of filing of the refugee claim by the parent in Canada, where the child is identified in the parent claimant's PIF.

R23.The present 19 year age limit for dependent children should be treated as a rebuttable presumption rather than an absolute limit.  Where it can be demonstrated that an unmarried child over the age of 19 is dependent on a Convention refugee in Canada, such child should be eligible to be included on the refugee's landing application.

R27.Children who are de facto members of a family unit that is applying for landing in Canada should be included in the family unit notwithstanding that such child may not have been legally adopted by the family.  A de facto adopted child should not be permitted subsequently to sponsor his or her natural parents for landing as members of the family class  (except where the natural parents who have been presumed dead are subsequently located and wish to be reunited with their child.)

R29.The special programs should be revived and updated to allow refugees in Canada to sponsor members of their extended family who find themselves in desperate situations.

R31.The government should take measures to ensure that family reunification for refugees is not obstructed or delayed by the existence of the various fees for landing.

R32.The government should give priority to finding some resolution for the thousands of refugees unable to be landed for lack of satisfactory identity documents.

  1.  Urge its members to study and endorse the report and raise its recommendations in correspondence with the government.
Whereas:
  1. Citizenship and Immigration Canada is currently studying the process by which humanitarian and compassionate reviews are done;
  2. CIC is also studying the process for assessing the risks a rejected refugee claimant may face should she/he be removed from Canada;
  3. One proposal which is receiving serious consideration by CIC is to have CIC officials make decisions about claimants' refugee claims, humanitarian and compassionate applications and risk assessments prior to the matter being referred to the IRB;
Therefore be it resolved:

that the CCR:

  1. Oppose refugee claims being determined at any stage by way of administrative process;
  2. Support the proposition that refugee claims should be determined by the IRB, an independent quasi-judicial body;
  3. Support the proposition that decisions about humanitarian and compassionate claims and risk assessment should be made after a determination of a person's refugee claim;
  4. Support the proposition that the IRB is the best available body to make the initial decision about the risks a person may face should that person be removed from Canada or to deal with a re-opening for changes of conditions.
Whereas:
  1. The CCR has already on numerous occasions expressed its concerns relating to the manner in which removals are effected and has adopted various resolutions calling on the government to address those concerns;
  2. The public revelation that an immigration officer committed forgery with a view to speeding removal has prompted the Department to ask Roger Tassé to assess removals procedures;
  3. The subsequent arrest of two other immigration officers on charges of forgery only confirms the fundamental nature of the problem;
Therefore be it resolved:

that the CCR, in addition to other previously adopted recommendations:

  1. Call on the Department to:
    • Establish accountability mechanisms, including civilian oversight or an ombudsman, for the Enforcement Branch of the Immigration Department;
    • Protect the deportee's identity vis-a-vis the country to which they are being deported;
    • Respect the principle of family unity by ordering that removals never be effected when the removal would lead to family separation;
  2. Endorse the following recommendations of the assessment of the CIC-RCMP task force, dated May 25, 1995:
    • that the Department develop a Code of Conduct and Discipline for investigators;
    • that the Department undertake a pro-active recruiting campaign to attract women and visible minorities to the enforcement function;
    • that the Department design and implement a community based approach to the issue of illegal immigration;
    • that all persons employed in the enforcement function receive cross cultural training.
Whereas:
  1. Citizenship and Immigration Canada is currently reviewing its procedure on Port of Entry interviews with refugee claimants with a view to standardizing them;
  2. Notes of the Port of Entry interviews are now automatically sent to the CRDD;
  3. Refugee claimants' situation on arrival is one of great vulnerability;
  4. Claimants are questioned by immigration officers without the presence of legal counsel, sometimes over many hours, in situations of great stress and fatigue;
  5. Interpreters are not always provided or they are provided over the phone;
  6. There have been instances of rude and insensitive behaviour and attempts to discourage claimants from making claims or negative comments on the merits of the claim;
Therefore be it resolved:

that the CCR call on Citizenship and Immigration Canada to:

  1. Establish a joint committee to review procedures on the taking of Port of Entry notes and their use by the IRB;
  2. Cease asking questions about the basis of the refugee claim;
  3. Give officers a code of conduct, guidelines and training to ensure that the claimant is treated with respect during the interview;
  4. Indicate in the guidelines that nothing is to be said or done that would cast aspersions on the merits of the claim or might discourage the claimant from making the claim;
  5. Allow the presence of lawyers or other support persons such as family, friends or NGOs where their presence would not unduly delay the interview;
  6. Provide copies of the interview notes to the claimant at the end of the interview and where possible record the interview;
  7. Institute an accessible, transparent and accountable complaints procedure.
Whereas:
  1. The B.C. government has passed two orders-in-council denying social assistance to newcomers and certain classes of refugees and immigrants;
  2. Effective November 1st 1995 immigrants who do not have a Minister's Permit or who are not in the refugee determination process or who are eligible for deportation will not be eligible for any form of social assistance;
  3. Effective December 1st, 1995, all newcomers to the province of B.C. including refugee claimants are not eligible for any form of social assistance for their first 90 days in the province;
Therefore be it resolved:

that the CCR write immediately to the B.C. Minister of Social Services, Joy Macphail, to demand the immediate repeal of these regulations and to remind her of:

  1. Canada's international obligations to refugee claimants;
  2. The length of time rejected refugee claimants remain in Canada prior to deportation;
  3. The social and economic plight of newly arrived refugee claimants.
Whereas:

Canada has a record of failure to honour United Nations human rights covenants and conventions in its treatment of the indigenous peoples of Canada by uprooting those peoples from their lands and denying them due process, even under Canadian law;

Therefore be it resolved:

that 

  1. The CCR seek a dialogue with the appropriate representatives of the indigenous peoples of this land in order to consider collaboration with them for the purpose of ensuring that indigenous peoples and uprooted peoples both benefit fully from the United Nations human rights covenants and conventions;
  2. The Working Group on Protection invite volunteers to establish a subcommittee to pursue this resolution.
Whereas:
  1. Canada, through its government, its parliament and its courts, has habitually neglected United Nations Covenants and Conventions of justice in its treatment of non-citizens who came to Canada seeking protection;
  2. Specifically, it has neglected to enact legislation in Parliament to embody in Canadian law the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Covenant on Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention against Torture;
  3. As a consequence, habeas corpus and other elements of due process guaranteed to Canadians by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms are often denied by Canadian civil servants and Canadian courts to non-citizens who came to Canada seeking protection;
  4. Further, such non-citizens have no simple and effective legal means of enforcing such rights;
  5. As a further consequence, many such people have been deported from Canada in violation of one or more of the above UN Covenants and Conventions;
  6. The Immigration Act and court decisions based on it are inconsistent with Canada's obligations under UN human rights treaties;
Therefore be it resolved:

 that the CCR:

  1. Call upon the Parliament and Government of Canada forthwith to incorporate all the above United Nations Covenants and Conventions into Canadian law, and in particular into the Immigration Act and Regulations, directing all Canadian civil servants and courts to enforce them;
  2. Write to the Ministers of Justice and of Citizenship and Immigration and the chair of the parliamentary committee on Human Rights and Disabled Persons advising them of the problem and urging them to establish a mechanism to monitor Canada's compliance with its international human rights treaty obligations and to make an annual report to parliament (such a report to include such matters as the status of international cases submitted from Canada and any legislative or other measures taken);
  3. Request all Chief Justices to organize training sessions for judges on the interpretation and application of Canada's international human rights treaties, with international participation.
Whereas:
  1. Canada is a member of the Organization of American States which has developed a human rights instrument, the American Convention on Human Rights;
  2. Canada has entered economic agreements with the U.S. and Mexico and plans to enter a joint asylum granting agreement with the U.S.;
  3. Mexico has ratified, and the U.S. has signed, the American Convention on Human Rights;
  4. The Convention offers enhanced protections for non-citizens with respect to certain rights, notably family rights and procedural rights;
Therefore be it resolved:

that the CCR:

  1. Urge Canada to ratify the American Convention on Human Rights;
  2. Invite the Network on International Human Rights to hold discussions with a view to increasing awareness of the functioning of the OAS human rights system and thereby encouraging such ratification.
Whereas:

 the consequences of migration include serious abuses and injustices for migrant workers, especially migrant women and children;

Therefore be it resolved:

that the CCR call on the Canadian government to ratify the Convention on the rights of all migrant workers and their families.