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
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
If you haven’t done so already, sign the Amnesty International online
petition calling for the implementation of the Refugee Appeal Division
Information from the backgrounder can be viewed online at: www.ccrweb.ca/RADpage/RADpage.htm
Alternatively, a print-friendly copy of the full backgrounder is
available at: www.ccrweb.ca/RAD%20backgrounder.pdf
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: www.ccrweb.ca/IraqiPSRrefusals.pdf.
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: http://www.ararcommission.ca/eng/PolicyReviewDec12-English.pdf
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
The complete text of this Guideline is available on the IRB
website at: http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/references/policy/guidelines/vulnerable_e.htm.
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: http://www.canada.com/topics/finance/story.html?id=b555d3b3-af6f-498a-9cfd-909e7fc8811d&k=3151
A release by the CCR on this topic from September 2006 can be found at: http://www.ccrweb.ca/releaseIRBapptsept06.html
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
The text of all resolutions adopted is now available on the CCR website