CBA, CCR CRITICIZE IMMIGRATION MINISTER FOR FAILING
TO KEEP HIS PROMISE ON REFUGEE APPEAL
OTTAWA – The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) and the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) today reproached the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration for his failure to implement the refugee appeal within a year, as promised to the House of Commons on June 6, 2002. On that date, federal Immigration Minister Denis Coderre told Parliament, “I have already made a commitment to the Canadian Council for Refugees that we will have an appeal system in place in one year’s time.”
“Parliament voted a law that gave refugees an appeal, but the Minister implemented the law without the appeal,” said Kemi Jacobs, CCR President. “Then the Minister promised to bring the appeal in within a year, but a year later there is still no appeal. This shows disrespect to Parliament, to Canadians and of course to refugees.”
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, adopted by Parliament in 2001, creates a Refugee Appeal Division at the Immigration and Refugee Board to hear appeals from refugee determination decisions. However, in April 2002, the Minister announced that the law would be implemented without the refugee appeal, meaning that refugee determinations, on which a person’s life may depend, are made by a single decision-maker, without right of appeal.
Jean-François Harvey, chair of the CBA’s Immigration Section notes that in the Federal Court of Canada case of Dragan, decided in February 2003, Mr. Justice Michael Kelen reproached the representative of the Minister for misinforming the House of Commons Committee on Citizenship and Immigration about the number of visa applications which the Department did not expect to be processed by the legal deadline for processing. The judge also criticized the representative of the Minister for not informing Parliament of this error when it became evident. “We expect the Minister not to misinform Parliament,” Mr. Harvey said.
The Canadian Bar Association is dedicated to improvement in the law and the administration of justice. Some 38,000 lawyers, notaries, law teachers, and law students from across Canada are members.
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 organizations involved in the settlement, sponsorship and protection of refugees and immigrants.
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CONTACT: CBA: Hannah Bernstein, (613) 237-2925, ext. 146
CCR: Kemi Jacobs, President, 416-588-6288 (ext. 202); Janet Dench, (514) 277-7223