Immigration and Settlement

Canada Child Benefit Eligibility

Resolution number
2
Whereas
  1. The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is an important federal program that provides essential income supports to families, and a critical tool for addressing child poverty in Canada;           
  2. The specific eligibility criteria for the CCB regarding the immigration status of parents renders many refugee and migrant families ineligible to receive the benefit, including:
  • Refugee claimants awaiting a determination of their claim;
  • Children who cannot leave Canada for reasons beyond their control, such as those whose parents are from countries where Canada has issued a moratorium of removal because of dangerous conditions;
  • Children who are Canadian citizens, but whose parents do not fall within the limited immigration eligibility categories;
  1. Excluding children and families from accessing the CCB based on the immigration status of the parents stands in contravention to numerous articles within the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Canada has ratified.
  2. Denying refugee and migrant families access to the CCB based on the immigration status of the parents carries many detrimental consequences for the children who are impacted, including challenges associated with health, child development, income security and housing stability, among others.  
Therefore be it resolved

the CCR Call on the Government of Canada to reform the Income Tax Act to eliminate the current exclusions based on immigration status so that every parent in Canada who is considered a resident for income tax purposes is eligible to receive the Canada Child Benefit.

Subject

Housing Eligibility

Resolution number
1
Whereas
  1. Housing is a human right.
  2. Homelessness and lack of safe and adequate housing has a profound and detrimental impact on children and adults, and long-term consequences for their health, mental health and wellness.
  3. When immigration status is used as eligibility criteria for shelter, housing, related supports, housing rights and entitlements, refugee claimants, migrant workers, international students and other with precarious immigration status or no immigration status are excluded.
  4. The immigration status bar has a disproportionate impact on racialized people, especially racialized women, who are over-represented among those who are low-income and in need of shelter, housing and related supports.
Therefore be it resolved

the CCR calls on the Government of Canada, and Provincial and Territorial governments to eliminate any and all exclusions to shelter, housing and supports based on immigration status so that all those in need of shelter and housing are eligible to access this basic resource.

Subject

Equity for International Students

Resolution number
4
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.

Housing

Resolution number
3
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.
Subject

Eliminating barriers to Canadian citizenship

Resolution number
5
Whereas
  1. The Citizenship Act requires “adequate” knowledge of English or French, and of Canada and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship; these requirements are translated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to require:
    1. up-front proof of Canadian Language Benchmark Level 4/ Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) niveau 4, and
    2. achieving a score of at least 15/20 on the citizenship exam which can only be written in English or French;
  2. Women, refugees, and sponsored spouses’ applications for Canadian citizenship are disproportionately refused because of these particular requirements;
  3. There are several known factors that impede additional language acquisition including: trauma; low literacy in one’s first language; lack of access to formal education; first language distance from English/French, and socio-economic needs;
  4. The current “compassionate waiver” framework from these requirements emphasizes the need to prove a permanent medical condition through completion of a Medical Opinion Form;
  5. Challenging citizenship refusals requires obtaining leave from the Federal Court, and therefore the need to hire a lawyer;
  6. The citizenship fee has tripled in the past 5 years, and is now $630 for adults.
Therefore be it resolved

that the CCR call upon the Canadian government to:

  1. Ensure the administration of the citizenship regime conforms with the Act to:
    1. Reduce the language and knowledge requirements to the “adequacy” required;
    2. Ensure broad compassionate discretion in the assessment of waivers from language and knowledge requirements, and eliminate the Medical Opinion Form.
  1.  Amend the Citizenship Act to:
    1. Remove the English/French language requirement for writing the citizenship exam
    2. Revert to the ability of citizenship applicants to challenge a refusal in Federal Court as of right, given the importance of the rights at stake.
    3. Eliminate the fee.
Subject

Poverty Reduction

Resolution number
4
Whereas
  1. People with precarious immigration status disproportionately experience poverty, homelessness and underhousing, food insecurity and income insecurity;
  2. Federal, provincial and territorial poverty reduction legislation, policies and strategies implicitly  exclude migrant workers and people with precarious immigration status by not naming them;
Therefore be it resolved

that the CCR call on federal, provincial and territorial governments to explicitly include all residents of Canada in poverty reduction measures, including migrant workers, refugee claimants and other residents with precarious immigration status.

Subject

Disaggregated Data

Resolution number
3
Whereas
  1. The CCR has two resolutions on poverty Racialization of poverty (Res.: 1 , Nov 2016) and Poverty circumstances of Government-Assisted Refugees (Res.: 2 , Nov 2005)
  2. Federal, provincial and territorial government legislation and policies should be based on sound evidence (including, but not limited to demographic and user data) that is representative of the experiences of all residents of Canada;
  3. Publicly available census and other administrative data is not representative of all residents of Canada;
Therefore be it resolved

that the CCR call on federal, provincial and territorial governments to:

  1. Collect and make publicly available full access to disaggregated data;
  2. Ensure that legislation and policies that impact on poverty are informed by disaggregated data.

Criminality and Double Punishment

Resolution number
1
Whereas
  1. Some people commit crimes in Canada. Those who are citizens have one punishment. Those who are permanent residents or protected persons face additional punishments, including:
  • criminal inadmissibility (with or without a right of appeal);
  • loss of permanent resident status and deportation;
  • prohibition on applying for citizenship for a certain period of time.
  1.  People who arrived in Canada as minors, people from racialized communities, and persons living with mental health issues, and who never obtained citizenship, are disproportionately affected by this differential treatment, and may face deportation despite having lived in Canada for most of their lives; 
  2. Discretionary relief on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, while important, is not an adequate remedy;
Therefore be it resolved

that the CCR take the position that criminal inadmissibility should not apply to permanent residents and protected persons in Canada who have lived in Canada for at least three of the past five years. 

Vicarious Trauma for frontline workers

Resolution number
1
Whereas
  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.

Racialization of poverty

Resolution number
1
Whereas
  1. The gap between rich and poor in Canada is widening generally, and disproportionately impacts racialized group members;
  2. Inequalities with respect to economic status, health, learning outcomes and more are deep and persistent among members of racialized groups;
  3. These are products of structural and systemic racism and exclusion;
Therefore be it resolved

that the CCR call on all levels of government in Canada to:

  1. Work to expand fair access to institutions and opportunities;
  2. Promote economic equity and justice;
  3. Seek investments in opportunity and advancement;
  4. Work to ensure that racial equity and racial justice efforts are adequately funded and effectively resourced.