The House of Commons and the Senate rushed to adopt Bill C-3 revising the security certificate process that was struck down by the Supreme Court on 23 February 2007. The new legislation provides for the appointment of special advocates, lawyers who will have access to secret information, without being allowed to communicate with the person subject to the certificate. The new provisions are widely considered to violate Charter rights and will likely be challenged in the courts in the coming months.
After the amended legislation came into effect, the Canadian government immediately renewed certificates against five of the six people previously subject to certificates.
The Canadian Council for Refugees continues to actively oppose the security certificate process. For a summary of the CCR’s position on Bill C-3, see: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/C3summary.pdf. The complete text is found at: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/C-3submission.pdf
For an opinion article opposing the legislation, see: http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/302914
For a list of the lawyers named as special advocates by the Canadian government, see: http://news.gc.ca/web/view/en/index.jsp?articleid=381049&categoryid=16
The House of Commons has passed Bill C-37, amending the Citizenship Act. The bill includes new measures that will lead to some children of Canadian citizens being stateless. Specifically, under this bill children born abroad to Canadian citizen parents who were themselves born abroad to Canadian citizen parents will not be Canadian citizens, even if this means that they are stateless.
The bill is mostly intended to resolve some of the situations of "lost Canadians", but these measures will create a new category of "stateless Canadians".
The CCR drew attention to these problems in a submission to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration on Bill C-37. This is available at http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/c-37.pdf
The text of Bill C-37 is available here.
A summary of the legislation is available here.
From 22-24 May 2008, refugee and immigrant rights advocates from across Canada will be gathering in Winnipeg for the Canadian Council for Refugees 2008 Spring Consultation on the theme: Our Past, Our Future: Our Children.
The consultation is an excellent opportunity for all interested to exchange ideas on barriers refugees and newcomers to Canada face before, at and after their arrival in Canada. Further details will be available shortly at www.ccrweb.ca/eng/about/meetings.htm.
The CCR is inviting people who advocate for refugee and immigrant rights to become CCR Regional Promoters.
Those already active with CCR member organizations are ideal participants in this program. Other enthusiastic refugee and immigrants rights activists are also welcome to participate. If you are not already involved with a CCR member organization, we can connect you to one in your area.
The CCR Regional Promoter program is meant for people who want to become more involved in promoting refugee and immigrant rights locally, but who do not necessarily have an in-depth knowledge or familiarity with refugee and immigrant issues and the CCR.
With the help of CCR resources, materials, training and exchanging ideas with fellow program participants, CCR Regional Promoters raise public awareness in local communities of challenges faced by refugees and immigrants. They are also key players in reaching out to organizations, groups and individuals who are not already familiar with issues affecting many refugees and immigrants.
I’m interested! How do I apply?
Information about the program as well as application forms are available on the CCR website at: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/promoters.htm. You can also contact Colleen French at the CCR office (email@example.com) with questions.
April 4, 1985 was a milestone for refugee rights in Canada. On that day, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled, in the Singh decision, that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the right of refugee claimants in Canada to life, liberty and security of the person, and that claimants are therefore entitled to an oral hearing, in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice and international law.
This April 4th reach out to your community about refugee rights. The anniversary of the Singh decision is an ideal opportunity to alert the Canadian public, media and politicians to the advances made in the protection of refugee rights as a result of the ruling, as well as to threats to those rights.
Over the next few weeks, we will be posting updated resources on our dedicated Refugee Rights Day webpage: www.ccrweb.ca/RRDay.htm. We encourage you to use these resources in preparation for and during activities marking Refugee Rights Day on April 4th.
Are you planning an activity on or around April 4th? Let us know and we can pass the word on through the CCR website. Send an email to Colleen French at firstname.lastname@example.org
with the details.
The CCR recently launched the second phase of the Pathways to Gender Justice project. This project aims to build the capacity of the settlement sector to apply a gender-based analysis in settlement programs and services.
In the first phase of the project, the CCR developed and launched the Pathways to Gender Justice Toolkit (http://www.ccrweb.ca/Gender.pdf). The second phase of the project aims at ensuring the most effective use of the Toolkit by developing a template to implement the toolkit, in collaboration with immigrants and refugees and workers at immigrant- and refugee-serving organizations. Yukyung Kim-Cho is the new coordinator of this project and one of her tasks will be to recruit organizations to pilot the template. If your organization would like to participate, you can contact Yukyung at email@example.com starting next week.
The CCR is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year!
The CCR is looking for many hands, to help support us in our celebratory activities aimed at raising the profile of the CCR. Our three main objectives are to:
- recruit new members
- educate the public about refugees and immigrants
Through local 30th anniversary events, we hope to accomplish these tasks. This is where you come in. We’re hoping that each region will take the opportunity to help us celebrate our 30 years by holding an event. Suggestions include hosting a fundraising dinner, hosting a refugee poetry evening or a cultural evening of music and dance, and using an event already planned (like a video screening) and highlighting the CCR’s 30th Anniversary.
We are also still looking for more members to join the National Anniversary Committee. Members will be expected to participate in regular conference calls, assist in recruiting groups and individuals to organize local events, share your history and your expertise in the development of activities and resource materials for events, and assist in developing a speaker bureau.
There are a lot of other ways that you can participate! If you have any questions, or are unsure of how you would like to participate, share some of your ideas with Faith Shamonda, CCR’s 30th Anniversary Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The UNHCR and governments and NGOs of resettlement countries met in Geneva in late February at the Working Group on Resettlement. The CCR, in its role this year as NGO Focal Point, presented a paper on refugees with medical needs, as part of the effort to increase the ability to offer timely resettlement to such refugees. The paper was well-received and an ad hoc group was struck to follow up on the issues raised. The ad hoc group, made up of the UNHCR, IOM, and a number of governments and NGOs, will work towards a further presentation at the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement, to be held at the end of June 2008 in Geneva.
The paper, Resettlement of refugees with medical needs, is available at
- A Practical Guide: Strategies for intervening in family reunification cases
You can now find a practical guide, Strategies for intervening in family reunification cases, on the CCR website at: http://www.ccrweb.ca/documents/frguide.pdf
This guide is provided by the CCR to assist member organizations in serving refugees and immigrants who are confronted with barriers as they attempt to reunite with family members.
The guide addresses:
A. Children overseas separated from refugee parents in Canada;
B. Excluded family members (s. 117(9)(d));
C. Landing of refugees with family members whose files are not finalized;
D. DNA testing;
E. Beginning processing of dependants overseas of protected persons.
- Check out www.trafficking.ca
We know that trafficking happens in Canada and that Canadian law does NOT protect the rights of trafficked persons. Check out our new and improved web resources at www.trafficking.ca, which we have packed with more information and campaign tools to help you convince Parliamentarians to change Canada’s laws so that trafficked persons in Canada are protected.
On the new site you will also find resources to encourage organizations and groups in your community to endorse the CCR's Proposal for Legislative Amendment for the Protection of Trafficked Persons. Join the growing number of groups and organizations supporting the proposal and taking action!
Do you have an event coming up and you’re looking for information on the CCR’s campaign to Protect the Rights of Trafficked Persons in Canada? Check out the 'Resources' section of the new site for copies of the Proposal, Frequently Asked Questions about the Proposal, pamphlets, news releases, and much more! Printed copies are also available for order.
Please note that we are seeking for endorsements of our Proposal for Legislative Amendment for the Protection of Trafficked Persons, particularly from organizations outside the immigrant and refugee serving sector. Notification of endorsements should be sent to Colleen French at: email@example.com
Register your organization as an organization that aids and abets refugees and that supports the CCR’s ‘Proud to Aid and Abet’ campaign. In doing so, you are making a commitment to promote the campaign in your local area and/or networks and to recruit additional campaign supporters.
To register, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and the CCR office will send your organization campaign buttons, stickers and other promotional materials.