Inland Protection

Work permits

Resolution number: 
21
November 2003
Whereas: 
  1. Most refugee claimants have no financial source other than their own work. They arrive in Canada with no money and have no family or friends in Canada to assist them financially. They are consequently highly vulnerable and desperate;
  2. Refugee claimants cannot receive a work permit without first being medically cleared. It takes a minimum of 2 months from the time a doctor sends the medical results to CIC to the time that CIC actually enters the medical results in the CIC computer system;
  3. Once the medical results are entered into the CIC system and a work permit application is filed with CPC-Vegreville it takes another 2 to 3 months before Vegreville issues the work permit;
  4. Until a work permit is issued, refugee claimants are ineligible for Social Insurance Numbers which, in turn, prevents them from accessing other community services;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Write to CIC to request that CPC-Vegreville be instructed to give the processing of refugee claimants' work permits a priority in order to avoid an extended period of undue hardship and vulnerability; and that the work permits issued be for a minimum of one year.
  2. Write to CIC to request an increase in resources to CPC-Vegreville and to medical services to allow for priority processing of work permit applications.
  3. Send copies of these letters to the relevant provincial authorities.
  4. Request that CPC-Vegreville be instructed to stop the practice of setting an arbitrary date for leaving Canada under the Conditions of Issue.
Working Group: 

Trafficking in women and children - urgent protection

Resolution number: 
20
November 2003
Whereas: 
  1. The CCR passed Resolution 24 in December 2001 and subsequently has held regional workshops and a national conference to explore the issues domestically;
  2. The Conference identified urgent protection for trafficked women and children as a key priority;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Request CIC to develop an immediate protection mechanism leading to permanent residence in Canada to protect trafficked women and children and that the necessary resources and support structures be put in place to sustain the program.
  2. Urge that the Urgent Protection Program be expanded to include trafficked persons and that their immediate family grouping be kept intact since family members left behind may be at risk.
Working Group: 

Trafficking in persons - access to legal status

Resolution number: 
19
November 2003
Whereas: 
  1. Canada is a party to the Palermo Protocol;
  2. CCR passed Resolution 24 in December 2001 and subsequently has held regional workshops and a national conference to explore the issues domestically.
  3. It was identified that a serious barrier exists for trafficked persons, in particular women and children, seeking assistance due to lack of access to legal status in Canada;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Call on the Government of Canada to expand the definition of protected persons to include trafficked persons.
  2. Call on the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to urgently develop a regulatory class.
  3. Call on CIC to give trafficked persons special consideration under H&C, and to accompany this with a regulatory stay.
  4. Insist that these measures not be tied to providing testimony and not be punitive.
  5. Call on CIC to give trafficked persons access to Interim Federal Health (IFH) benefits, work permits and legal aid.
  6. Call on the IRB to address the special circumstances of trafficked persons in the gender guidelines.
  7. Call on the federal and provincial governments to ensure that separated children have guardians assigned to them.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

Statelessness statistics

Resolution number: 
18
November 2003
Whereas: 
  1. IRPA is silent on the issue of statelessness which increases the vulnerability of stateless people;
  2. Current data collection systems of the government are inconsistent and ad hoc on statistics relating to statelessness;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR request that CIC and the IRB review their data management and reporting systems to ensure the accurate and timely collection and reporting of statistics relating to statelessness, in particular:

  • refugee status determination hearings when statelessness was a factor (numbers, country of residence)
  • H&C applications of stateless cases (numbers accepted, numbers rejected, countries of habitual residence)
  • detention of stateless persons (length of detention, reason for detention, country of habitual residence, place of detention, age, gender)
  • removals of stateless persons (including country of habitual residence, age, gender, country removed to).
  • resettlement of stateless persons.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

Bonds required for refugee claimants in Toronto and elsewhere

Resolution number: 
17
November 2003
Whereas: 
  1. The majority of refugee claimants in detention in Toronto and elsewhere are required to pay a bond to be released;
  2. Most refugee claimants do not have friends or relatives to pay the bond;
  3. The bail program in Toronto is very slow and does not accept all claimants.
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR ask CIC and the IRB to release refugee claimants who satisfy their identity requirements, without a bond.

Subject: 
Working Group: 

Detention on grounds of ID

Resolution number: 
16
November 2003
Whereas: 
  1. Many refugee claimants lack identity documents upon arrival;
  2. International standards stipulate that people must not be penalized for lack of ID;
  3. International guidelines on detention stipulate that undocumented refugee claimants should not normally be detained;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call on the government of Canada (CIC and IRB) to adhere to international standards with respect to detention of refugee claimants, and to ensure that refugee claimants not be detained for more time than is required to conduct initial enquiries as to the person's identity. Ascertaining a person's identity should not be dependent on an ability to produce an identity document.

Subject: 
Working Group: 

Access to counsel for immigration detainees

Resolution number: 
15
November 2003
Whereas: 

The increasing use of detention by CIC in provincial jails has resulted in the transfer of immigration detainees to remote areas, where they are effectively denied the right to counsel and cannot even contact counsel due to the requirement to communicate via collect calls from these jails;

Therefore be it resolved: 

That CCR call upon the federal and provincial governments to establish procedures to ensure effective access to counsel for all immigration detainees, including free telephone access and face to face communication with counsel.

Subject: 
Working Group: 

Palestinian refugee claims before the IRB and PRRA

Resolution number: 
21
May 2004
Whereas: 
  1. There is demonstrable confusion within IRB and PRRA regarding the status of stateless Palestinian refugees, and the conditions they have fled.
  2. This lack of understanding has led to inconsistent and ill-informed decision-making.
Therefore be it resolved: 

That CCR, together with other organizations and coalitions working for the rights of Palestinian refugees, raise with the IRB and with PRRA officials the need for better and more consistent information regarding the legal status of Palestinian refugees and the rights violations they face.

Working Group: 

Palestinian refugees under the UNHCR

Resolution number: 
20
May 2004
Whereas: 
  1. In practice, Palestinian refugees are excluded from the mandate of the UNHCR in the host counties.
  2. UNRWA, unlike UNHCR, is not mandated to provide protection and security to Palestinian refugees under its administration.
  3. Palestinian refugees have lived without status or protection, often in refugee camps for over 56 years.
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call on the Canadian government to urge the re-examination of UNHCR ’s responsibility toward Palestinian refugees, suggested by the second paragraph of Article 1(d), the so-called “exclusion clause”, and include the second paragraph in their statutes as a basis for extending human rights protection and inclusivity, thus affirming the intention of the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Working Group: 

Rejected Palestinian refugee claimants from Lebanon

Resolution number: 
19
May 2004
Whereas: 
  1. Palestinian refugee claimants from Lebanon have faced an inconsistent and uninformed decision making process which has resulted in the rejection of some deserving refugees claims.
  2. Registered and unregistered Palestinian refugees from Lebanon face systematic discrimination and human rights abuses.
  3. Palestinians may face persecution by non-state actors.
  4. The stateless Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, often in 56 year old refugee camps, are not accorded the host state’s protection, are denied any possibility of citizenship and receive no direct and inviolable international protection.
  5. Many of the Palestinian refugees from Lebanon have lived in Canada for over two years and in that time established themselves in Canadian society.  
  6. Resolution 12, Nov. 03 called for recourses in Canada for stateless persons.  
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Inform CIC of the well-documented evidence of systematic human rights violations, the recognition by certain IRB members of said violations as persecution and the inconsistent decision-making on Palestinian claims.
  2. Call on CIC to facilitate the H&C process, in light of the unique circumstances faced by stateless Palestinian refugees from Lebanon, to allow the refused refugee claimants to be granted permanent resident status in Canada.
  3. Call on CIC to collaborate with the Palestinian community in Canada to resolve the problems of ID requirements that may be faced by stateless Palestinian refugees.
Working Group: 

Moratorium on removals to the Occupied Territories

Resolution number: 
18
May 2004
Whereas: 
  1. The current military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip violates a plethora of international human rights conventions which Canada has ratified.
  2. Palestinians living under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are facing a humanitarian disaster.
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call on the Canadian government to immediately place a moratorium on deportations to The Palestinian occupied territories, in recognition of the ongoing military occupation and the risk to the life, liberty and security of those living under it.

Subject: 
Working Group: 

Sanctuary

Resolution number: 
17
May 2004
Whereas: 
  1. Everyone in Canada has a Charter right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression.
  2. Everyone in a state which has ratified the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights has an obligation to promote those rights.
  3. The Québec Charter of Rights and Freedoms places a duty on everyone to protect the life of another.
  4. The government of Canada has failed to implement the appeal on the merits for refugee claimants, depriving refused claimants of an important safeguard contained in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
  5. The Canadian government has itself acknowledged problems with the refugee determination system, which it has claimed to have addressed with recent changes to the nomination process for IRB members and the introduction of regulations regarding immigration consultants.
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Recognize that recourse to sanctuary may be necessary to protect asylum seekers whose lives or security would be jeopardized if removed from Canada.
  2. Deplore the recent, first-known, violation of sanctuary in Canada by police acting with force and in apparent close cooperation with CBSA and other government officials.
  3. When sanctuary is necessary, encourage those providing it to inform the CCR membership, so that members may assist in encouraging the government to reconsider the situation that leads to sanctuary.
  4. Take appropriate action to encourage the government to reconsider the situation that leads to sanctuary.
  5. Re-affirm the need for the implementation of the appeal on the merits for refused refugee claimants.
  6. Call upon the Canadian government to continue to respect the historic right of sanctuary.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

Countries with no functioning government

Resolution number: 
16
May 2004
Whereas: 
  1. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations state that the Minister can suspend removals to a country or place where there is a situation of generalized risk.
  2. Where there is no functioning government, civilians are at generalized risk.
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call on the Canadian government to add countries that are without a functioning government, like Somalia, to the list of countries to which Canada has temporarily suspended removals.

Subject: 
Working Group: 

Essential principles

Resolution number: 
15
May 2004
Whereas: 
  1. Essential principles of access to refugee protection, due process, and fundamental justice are increasingly under attack in Canada and in other refugee-receiving countries.
  2. The government has indicated that it intends to reform the refugee determination process in Canada.
Therefore be it resolved: 

That:

  1. The draft Essential Principles, as amended by the Working Group on Inland Protection, be approved in principle as the present position of the CCR.
  2. The Executive of the CCR be empowered to revise and amend the draft Essential Principles, taking into account feedback from the membership, insofar as such revisions and amendments are in accord with the principles and policies of the CCR.
  3. The CCR publicize the Essential Principles and encourage its members to do likewise.
Working Group: 

Official proclamation of Refugee Rights Day

Resolution number: 
17
November 2004
Whereas: 
  1. The Singh decision of 1985 is significant in establishing refugees’ rights to fundamental justice;
  2. NGOs and other refugee advocates commemorate the Singh decision in Canada on April 4, Refugee Rights Day.
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR urge different levels of government in Canada to proclaim April 4 as Refugee Rights Day, by the 25th anniversary in 2010.

Working Group: 

PRRA and international law

Resolution number: 
16
November 2004
Whereas: 
  1. PRRA is not a substitute for an appeal on the merits of the case;
  2. The PRRA process is dysfunctional and demonstrates a lack of respect for international human rights norms and for the Suresh decision of the Supreme Court of Canada;
  3. There is inconsistent application by PRRA decision-makers in the consideration of what constitutes sufficient evidence and expert evidence.
  4. There are insufficient guidelines for PRRA decision-makers with respect to how they are to evaluate evidence.
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Call on CIC to develop guidelines on what constitutes “sufficient” evidence for the purposes of PRRA decision-makers.
  2. Call on CIC to develop guidelines on what constitutes expert evidence or testimony for PRRA decision-makers.
  3. Propose that CIC form a consultative committee with CCR, other NGOs and lawyers to analyze and make recommendations on the PRRA system.
  4. Ask the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration to study the overall effectiveness of the PRRA process in light of Canada’s international human rights obligations.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

H&C decisions and Canadian values

Resolution number: 
15
November 2004
Whereas: 
  1. There is considerable discontent with the current decision-making process with regards to humanitarian and compassionate considerations inside Canada and the lack of respect for fundamental family rights or significant establishment in Canada;
  2. There is great concern that the criteria of the best interest of the child is not being applied in a liberal and just fashion in humanitarian decisions by CIC decision-makers.
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR request that:

  1. The criteria for deciding on humanitarian and compassionate requests in the IP-5 Manual be modified to read “unusual and undeserved hardship” with the addition of “or sufficient family ties.”
  2. The departmental police and guidelines be modified so that, in the absence of significant countervailing factors, the following categories will benefit from a favourable presumption in analysis of humanitarian applications:
    a) Married couples with a valid relationship will not be separated by removal during the processing of the permanent residence.
    b) Applicants with Canadian children will be generally accepted for permanent residence in Canada.
    c) Applicants with over five years in Canada of continuous presence are generally allowed to stay in Canada.
    d) Applicants with children who have become culturally acclimated to Canada and have over three years Canadian schooling should generally be accepted for residence.> e) Applicants whose removal would create significant disruption to a Canadian employer or to other Canadian employees should warrant humanitarian considerations.
    f) Torture or rape victims should not normally be sent back to the country where they suffered rape or torture. Serious risk of re-traumatisation must be an important humanitarian concern.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

Hack criteria – hardship

Resolution number: 
14
November 2004
Whereas: 
  1. PRRA and H&C applications are assessed by the same immigration officer in many cases;
  2. The grounds are to be considered under PRRA are different than H&C considerations.
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR approach CIC to urge that H&C applications be assessed against the wider criteria of hardship, rather than risk as assessed in the PRRA.

Working Group: 

Post secondary education for children of refugee claimants

Resolution number: 
13
November 2004
Whereas: 

children of many refugee claimants, failed refugee claimants and children who are themselves refugee claimants or failed refugee claimants are unable to attend post secondary educational institutions while they or their parent(s) are awaiting a decision on an application to CIC due to the high cost of that education. These children are considered international students.

Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call on the Governments of Canada and the Provinces to permit children of refugee claimants, failed refugee claimants and children who are themselves refugee claimants or failed refugee claimants awaiting decisions on applications to CIC and who are not removable, to attend Canadian schools and post secondary educational institutions at the same fees and requirements as Canadian residents.

Working Group: 

Access to health

Resolution number: 
12
November 2004
Whereas: 
  1. Some of the provincial health insurance plans (such as OHIP in Ontario) do not provide provincial health insurance coverage for “family members” of protected persons who are residing in Canada and who are being processed for permanent resident status simultaneously with the protected person;
  2. It is a waste of resources to have to make a refugee claim for these family members in Canada just so that they will have IFH coverage;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR request all provincial health ministers to ensure that the family members of protected persons are eligible for provincial health insurance coverage.

Subject: 
Working Group: 

Delays in applying for permanent residence

Resolution number: 
11
November 2004
Whereas: 
  1. There are many protected persons who delay in applying for landing beyond the 180 days because of their inability to raise the $550 cost recovery fee, or other valid reasons;
  2. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has not yet satisfactorily responded to the CCR request to eliminate the $550 processing fee for protected persons;
  3. The IP5 Guidelines state incorrectly that protected persons who apply late for landing and are being processed as humanitarian and compassionate cases, must meet all the normal admissibility criteria for immigrants, including medical, financial and identity document criteria.
  4. Protected persons who are being processed as H&C cases and who don’t have “satisfactory identity documents” are being refused landing.
Therefore be it resolved: 

That CCR request CIC to amend the IP5 Guidelines to correct this misunderstanding and to clarify that protected persons continue to be exempt from medical and financial criteria for landing and to benefit from other provisions to facilitate the landing of protected persons including special provisions for identity documents when the protected person is unable to obtain a passport to confirm identity.

Working Group: 

Delaying the day

Resolution number: 
14
June 2005
Whereas: 
  1. The IRB will not conduct any refugee determination hearings until claimants have received security clearances;
  2. IRPA requires that hearings be held expeditiously;

Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR request the IRB to set a strict 6 month time limit for delaying a hearing to allow for the security clearance, so that refugee claimants who are ready to proceed can have their hearings in a timely manner as required by IRPA.

Working Group: 

Protected persons documents

Resolution number: 
13
June 2005
Whereas: 
  1. Protected Persons require Protected Persons Status documents to apply for Canada Student Loans and for Canadian refugee travel documents;
  2. Some Protected Persons, particularly those with landing delays (for whatever reason),are issued Protected Persons Status documents with a validity of six months;
  3. The six month limit prevents both acquisition of loans and the ability to travel outside of Canada:
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR request that Citizenship and Immigration Canada adopt as policy that all Protected Persons Status documents have a validity for a minimum of two years.

Working Group: 

Excluded family members

Resolution number: 
12
June 2005
Whereas: 
  1. IRPA Regulation 117(9)(d) provides for a lifetime exclusion from sponsoring a family member, with no discretion to consider an explanation, however compelling, or to impose a lesser period of exclusion;
  2. Ina significant number of cases, there has been no intention to misrepresent and, in other cases, there are mitigating circumstances that may constitute justification;
  3. The application of this article is having an extremely detrimental impact on many innocent children, in violation of Canada’s obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child to take into account the “best interests of the child” concerned in any decision of a public body;
  4. IRPA provides for a general inadmissibility of two years in cases of misrepresentation and officers have considerable discretion as to whether even that inadmissibility should be imposed;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call for IRPA Reg. 117(9)(d) to be rescinded. Officers should be required to consider all the facts of the case, including intention and any mitigating circumstances, in deciding whether to impose an exclusion, which should in no case exceed the two years provided for generally under IRPA.

Working Group: 

Immigration levels

Resolution number: 
11
June 2005
Whereas: 
  1. Current limits on the numbers of immigrants and refugees who can come to Canada each year and the unequal division of these numbers between economic and humanitarian classes of immigrants have resulted in long waiting periods for the re-unification of families and the admission of sponsored refugees;
  2. The limits on and division of immigrant and refugee numbers appear to be arbitrary and to have been set without public consultation;
  3. It is widely recognized that family reunification is taking too long and the delays in the processing are causing great hardship;
  4. The group with the most pressing need for family re-unification is refugees;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call upon the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to:

  1. Commit to an increase in immigration levels.
  2. Commit to a full and transparent review of immigration levels which review will have a meaningful consultation with NGO stakeholders at all stages of review. Among the topics which should be examined in the review are the benefits of increasing the number of immigrants and refugees admitted to Canada each year; and whether the division of admissions between economic and humanitarian classes is fair or necessary.
  3. Pending the review of immigration levels, increase the number of persons admitted to Canada each year by a sufficient number to allow for overseas family members included in inland applicants to be admitted immediately for processing in Canada.
Working Group: 

Moratorium on removals to Colombia

Resolution number: 
12
November 2005
Whereas: 
  1. There is a situation of generalized risk in Colombia;
  2. The government refused the CCR’s request that it review the situation in Colombia in 2003; 
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call on the government of Canada to immediately place a moratorium on removals to Colombia.

Subject: 
Working Group: 

H&C and medical inadmissibility

Resolution number: 
11
November 2005
Whereas: 
  1. Section 25(1) of IRPA grants the Minister broad discretionary authority to exempt an inadmissible person from any provisions of the Act or Regulations, if there are humanitarian and compassionate reasons for doing so;
  2. The Regulations severely restrict this broad discretionary authority by requiring persons who are approved in principle for landing on H&C grounds to meet all admissibility requirements in order to be landed, including medical admissibility;
  3. A person who receives a positive H&C decision and who is found medically inadmissible is refused landing and may face removal from Canada to a place where their life is at risk, or, if granted a temporary resident permit (TRP) for three years, may then be denied provincial health insurance coverage during the three year TRP period and thus face a risk to their life due to inability to access adequate medical care in Canada;
  4. Applying the criterion of medical inadmissibility to a person who has been granted approval in principle on H&C grounds constitutes discrimination contrary to section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is an improper fettering of the Minister’s discretion under section 25(1) of IRPA;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR request an amendment to the Regulations requiring that a person who is granted approval in principle for landing on H&C grounds be exempt from medical admissibility criteria and be landed without delay.

Subject: 
Working Group: 

Bilingualism

Resolution number: 
5
June 2006
Whereas: 

the CCR has a policy on bilingualism adopted by the executive committee on 2 February 1992;

Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR include, as far as it is possible, at least one panelist intervening in French and offer simultaneous translation for each panel.

Working Group: 

Proposal for the regularization of individuals and families without status

Resolution number: 
4
June 2006
Whereas: 
  1. The CCR is committed by Resolution 1, May 2003 to working for a process of regularization of people without status;
  2. The CCR has been working for many months on a proposal for regularization;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR adopt as policy the Proposal for the regularization of individuals and families without status, as approved by the Working Group on Inland Protection, including the call to:

  1. Provide an opportunity for seasonal agricultural workers to apply for permanent residence, similar to the opportunity provided under the Live-In Caregiver Program;
  2. Introduce an adjustment of status program similar to that introduced in 1972, whereby anyone who was already in Canada by a date (e.g. two years prior) may apply for status.
  3. Eliminate processing fees for humanitarian cases.
Subject: 
Working Group: 

Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture

Resolution number: 
3
June 2006
Whereas: 
  1. There is now an optional protocol to the Convention against Torture which provides for on-site visits to detention centres around the world and which is open to signatures by member states;
  2. This protocol will not come into effect until 20 countries have ratified it and only six have currently ratified it;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR call upon the Canadian government and urge our sister organizations to ask for other governments to ratify the Optional Protocol of the Convention against Torture so that this can come into effect as soon as possible.

Working Group: 

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