5. Referral to services post-eligibility

Nov 2010
Whereas:
  1. Bill C-11 will create very tight timelines;
  2. Claimants will need assistance in understanding and preparing for the process;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR call on CIC and CBSA to adopt as a standard operating procedure the referral of claimants to appropriate and willing community agencies, such as an immigrant serving agency or legal aid, in a city or area of choice of the claimant, immediately after eligibility has been determined.

Working Group:

10. Exclusion of claimants at the POE

Nov 2006
Whereas:
  1. There have been many documented cases where CBSA officers at the Port Of Entry (POE) have issued removal orders against people seeking refugee protection in Canada before they were able to state their intent to claim refugee status.
  2. The consequence of this is to deprive a claimant of access to the Immigration and Refugee Board.
  3. There is no stay of removal pending an application for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) once a removal order has been issued.
  4. As a result there are documented cases of people being removed without any risk assessment.
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR call on the government to issue regulations or guidelines that would require POE officers to ask persons subject to removal if they fear persecution in their country of origin or of habitual residence before issuing a removal order.

    

Working Group:

8. Eligibility interview interpretation

Dec 2000
Whereas:
  1. Citizenship and Immigration Canada does not consistently provide refugee claimants with interpreters at eligibility interviews;
  2. The notes which are produced by Citizenship and Immigration Canada at eligibility interviews are given great weight at hearings before the Convention Refugee Determination Division;
  3. The lack of interpretation at an eligibility interview can and does create confusion and misunderstanding between refugee claimants and Citizenship and Immigration Canada officials;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR urge that Citizenship and Immigration Canada provide an accredited interpreter at all eligibility interviews.

 

Working Group:

9. Unaccompanied minors entering Canada

Nov 1997
Whereas:
  1. The Ports of Entry at the US border have not in the past allowed unaccompanied minors to enter Canada to make refugee claims without a guardian to receive them;
  2. Due to the work of VIVE Buffalo and CIC P.O.E. at Niagara, an agreement has been reached to allow unaccompanied minors to enter Canada rather than be returned to the US;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR request that the Department implement a National Policy allowing entry of unaccompanied minors on the same basis as the Buffalo/Niagara agreement.

Working Group:

6. Port of entry

Jun 1997
Whereas:
  1. Section 44 of the Immigration Act prevents a person from making a claim if they have been issued an exclusion order;
  2. Senior Immigration Officers were given the power to issue exclusion orders under the former Bill C-86;
  3. Some Senior Immigration Officers (SIOs) have not been ensuring that persons concerned are aware that they must claim refugee status or they are ineligible and barred from later making a refugee claim;
  4. Many refugees believe wrongly that they must be admitted to Canada before they can make a refugee claim;
  5. Due to poor interpretation, inadequate or poor explanation or undue pressure persons at risk have been removed or detained;
  6. There have been many incidents such as the recent case of stowaways in Halifax where the SIO appears to have failed to ensure that the applicants knew of their right to claim refugee status;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR:

  1. Write the Minister and explain how Section 44 is being abused by SIOs and request an amendment to ensure that a person may be able to make a refugee claim even if an exclusion order has been issued;
  2. Write to the Director General of Enforcement, CIC, and demand that he issue guidelines to SIOs that ensure that refugee claimants are cautioned that they must make their claim before they issue an exclusion order and that they make sure that the person concerned has a full and fair opportunity to make an informed decision.

 

Working Group:

7. New mail-in system for refugee claimants at ports of entry in Ontario

Jun 1997
Whereas:
  1. The Pilot "Mail-In" Project first implemented by CIC at Pearson Airport about 6 months ago is being implemented in Fort Erie and Niagara Falls, Ontario as of May 15, 1997;
  2. There is no public knowledge of any evaluation regarding its value nor was there any consultation or discussion with NGOs or organizations working with refugees previous to its initial implementation or extended implementation in Fort Erie and in Niagara Falls;
  3. Refugee claimants no longer have the same access to assistance from Canadian legal counsel nor Canadian refugee support workers familiar with Canadian law and process;
  4. American refugee support workers are being overwhelmed with paperwork, lack needed resources and are unfamiliar with the Canadian system and the after-effects of what may be written on these forms;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR:

  1. Request a public evaluation of the project at Pearson International Airport involving NGOs, legal workers and organizations working with refugees which would include the following:

    a)the criteria on which the decision was made to extend this project to Niagara Falls and Fort Erie;

    b)the consideration of the extent to which Canada Immigration considers this policy to be beneficial to refugee claimants;

  2. Oppose the extension of this "write-in" process to ports of entry in other provinces of Canada.
Working Group:

18. Port of Entry Interviews

Nov 1995
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.
Working Group: