On December 10 2009, Bill C-291, compelling implementation of the Refugee Appeal Division, was defeated at third reading. The vote was tied, and the speaker broke the tie by voting against.
|Wyatt Tremblay/Yukon News
For nearly seven years, refugee claimants in Canada have been denied the appeal that Parliament granted them in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Instead their fate is determined by a single decision maker in a system never approved by Parliament. Correcting this injustice is long overdue.
to implement the Refugee Appeal Division without delay and to ensure its implementation by quickly adopting
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act approved by Parliament in 2001 created the Refugee Appeal Division. However in 2002, the government implemented the Act but not the sections that give refugee claimants the right to appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division.
To correct this injustice, the last Parliament voted to force the implementation of the Refugee Appeal Division. Both the House of Commons (in 2007) and the Senate (in 2008) approved bill C-280, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act calling for the implementation of the Refugee Appeal Division. However, the bill did not become law because the House still needed to approve the amendments made by the Senate when the 2008 elections were called.
Since the Refugee Appeal Division was created by Parliament and the last Parliament voted to force its implementation, the current Parliament should adopt Bill C-291, which is the text of the former bill C-280, as amended by the Senate. Bill C-291 should be adopted immediately and without further debate.
Call, meet with or write Members of Parliament in your local riding, urging them to press for rapid passage of Bill C-291, calling for the implementation of the Refugee Appeal Division as provided for the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
You can include this one-pager with your letter or give it to your MP if you meet.
For a guide on how to approach a meeting with an MP, please follow these tips on how to organize a meeting on the RAD
You can also used this suggested model letter to write to your MP.
Messages to give to MPs:
- The bill is important. Providing refugee claimants with their right to appeal may save lives. Wrong decisions at the refugee hearing that go uncorrected can lead to refugees being returned to persecution, torture and even death. Contrary to much popular opinion, there is currently no appeal on the merits for refugee claimants – the limited recourses that are available are incapable of correcting many errors in refugee determination.
- The bill needs to be passed quickly. It is already more than six years since the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act came into effect without implementing the right of appeal for refugees foreseen by the Act. As a result, for six years refugee claimants have been having their fate determined by a single decision maker in a system never approved by Parliament. Correcting this injustice is long overdue.
- The bill was very close to becoming law. All that was left was for the House of Commons to vote on the amendments made by the Senate. It should therefore be a straightforward matter for the House and Senate to pass the same text without further debate and delays.
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A backgrounder on the Refugee Appeal Division
CCR's Refugee Appeal Division webpage
The Parliamentary Standing Committee report, Safeguarding asylum – Sustaining Canada's commitments to refugees (see section on the Refugee Appeal Division, including the recommendation to implement the RAD immediately) – (pp. 9-13).