20 November 2003


Winnipeg. The Canadian Council for Refugees today released its first report card on Canada’s refugee and immigration programs, which finds that overall Canada is moving backwards in its treatment of refugees and immigrants.

"In the face of increased concerns about the erosion of rights of refugees and immigrants, we felt that an assessment of Canada’s refugee and immigration programs was timely," said Kemi Jacobs, President of the Canadian Council for Refugees. Canada receives approximately 220,000 new immigrants and refugees annually, and is responsible for protecting their rights and providing various services and supports for them. The report card evaluates the government’s policies and programs in ten areas of concern to the Canadian Council for Refugees, assigning one of the following grades: "significant progress", "limited progress" or "deterioration". In no area was there found to have been significant progress.

The CCR does note initiatives that show a concrete effort by the government to improve policy and live up to its international obligations:

However, because of measures that limit the effectiveness of protection and the reunification of families, the CCR finds that overall there is only limited progress in these areas.

The report card identifies overall deterioration in a number of areas. Four deserve highlighting:

"While Canada’s immigration programs are widely respected internationally, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels and assume that Canada is meeting its obligations to refugees and immigrants. Our report card clearly shows that conditions for immigrants and refugees in Canada have deteriorated significantly in many important areas; organizations like the CCR must work strategically to both prevent further erosion of conditions, and to advocate for change of those policies which have the most direct negative impact" said Jacobs.

Click here for the full report card.

For more information, please contact:

Janet Dench, Executive Director, CCR (514) 277-7223 (ext. 2)

The Canadian Council for Refugees is a non-profit umbrella organization committed to the rights and protection of refugees in Canada and around the world and to the settlement of refugees and immigrants in Canada. The membership is made up of over 175 organizations involved in refugee sponsorship and protection and in newcomer settlement. The CCR serves the networking, information-exchange and advocacy needs of its membership.