Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 1 #9, 3 January 2007
  1. Less Safe than Ever: Submission on US as a Safe Third Country
  2. Refugee Appeal Division (RAD): Answering questions and highlighting human impacts
  3. Iraqi Private Sponsorship Refusals
  4. Arar Commission Recommends Review for RCMP National Security Activities
  5. Recently Released IRB Vulnerable Person Guidelines
  6. Vacancies or Vacuum? : Appointments to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB)
  7. Be It Resolved: Resolutions from the November 2006 Consultation
a) Less Safe than Ever: Submission on US as a Safe Third Country

On 6 December, the CCR released its submission to the federal Cabinet arguing that the United States can no longer be considered a safe third country for refugees. 

The report presents evidence that, since the US was designated as a safe third country, there have been a series of developments that mean that the US fails to meet the safe third country test, according to the definition and the factors established in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.  The Act requires the Cabinet to keep under continuing review whether the US complies with its non-refoulement obligations; its policies and practices with respect to the Refugee Convention and the Convention Against Torture (CAT); and its human rights record.

The complete version of the submission to Cabinet and an executive summary are available, along with a press release, on the CCR website at:

b) Refugee Appeal Division (RAD): Answering questions and highlighting human impacts

The CCR has prepared an information backgrounder in preparation for Parliament’s second reading of Bill C-280, calling for the immediate implementation of the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD), as mandated in the 2001 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).  Second reading of this bill is expected to take place in early February 2007, soon after Parliament reconvenes.

The backgrounder responds to a number of questions about the proposed Refugee Appeal Division, as well as highlighting the devastating human impacts of not implementing the RAD.  Please share the information in this document with your Member of Parliament – take advantage of their presence in your constituency in January to pay her or him a visit – we soon hope to have a set of talking points on the RAD available on the CCR website to take with you on your visit to your MP.

If you haven’t done so already, sign the Amnesty International online petition calling for the implementation of the Refugee Appeal Division at:

Information from the backgrounder can be viewed online at:

Alternatively, a print-friendly copy of the full backgrounder is available at:

c) Iraqi Private Sponsorship Refusals

The CCR has recently posted an analysis of a small number of refused applications at Damascus of privately sponsored Iraqi refugees.  This analysis was undertaken as a result of concerns raised by CCR members relating to what appeared to be a pattern of negative decisions affecting Iraqis whose private sponsorship application was decided at the Damascus visa post.  Many aspects of the negative decisions appeared problematic.   

The CCR intends to follow up on this very preliminary analysis.  We would like to do a more in-depth analysis of refusals, not only of Iraqi private sponsorship cases, but also of other nationalities and regions.  We will be calling for the input of CCR members shortly.

The preliminary analysis can be found at:  

d) Arar Commission Recommends Review for RCMP National Security Activities

On 12 December, Justice Dennis O’Connor released the second report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar.  This report focused on policy changes to prevent a repeat of the mistakes that led to Arar’s deportation to torture.  Of particular interest to refugees and immigrants is the recommendation for an independent review mechanism for a number of federal agencies including Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).  The CCR has long called for an independent, transparent and effective complaints mechanism for CBSA, one of the few – if not the only – agency in Canada with the power of arrest and detention that is subject to no independent review.

For a complete version of the Commission report and its recommendations, please see:

e) Recently released IRB Vulnerable Person Guidelines

December 15th saw the publication of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) Chairperson’s Guideline 8: Guideline on Procedures with Respect to Vulnerable Persons Appearing Before the IRB.

According to the IRB chairperson, under this Guideline, a vulnerable person is defined as an individual “whose ability to present their case before the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) is severely impaired.”  The purpose is to ensure that individuals who are identified as vulnerable under the Guideline are provided with procedural accommodations so that they will not be disadvantaged in presenting their case before the IRB.

The CCR, along with many of its member agencies, has been advocating for more than a dozen years for the IRB to adopt guidelines for survivors of torture.  The new guideline is the result of this advocacy effort.

The complete text of this Guideline is available on the IRB website at:

f) Vacancies or Vacuum? : Appointments to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB)

The alarming number of outstanding vacancies at the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) continue to make the headlines.  The few appointments made by the Conservative government are insufficient to meet urgent needs and they open the door to backlogs, delays in hearings and injustices due to rushed or poor decisions, according to Peter Showler, former IRB chairperson and author of Refugee Sandwich.

For a complete news story, among others, please see:

A release by the CCR on this topic from September 2006 can be found at:  

g) Be It Resolved: Resolutions from the November 2006 Consultation

The CCR welcomed more than 400 participants to its Fall Consultation in Montreal from 23-25 November 2006 on the theme “Taking the Lead: Refugee and Immigrant Youth”, which included the active engagement of youth participants and the adoption of several resolutions. New resolutions included: that the CCR call on CIC to issue “protected status” documents at the time the person is accepted by the IRB; support for increasing meaningful youth engagement and leadership within the CCR; a call for an amendment to the law so that those detained on identity grounds have access to full review of the decision to detain them; and a request to CIC to review concerns around interpretation at interviews at visa posts including allegations of bias.   The text of all resolutions adopted is now available on the CCR website at:



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