|For Immediate Release|
|17 March 2008|
|Legislative amendments will hurt family reunification for children|
The Canadian Council for Refugees today expressed its dismay at proposed amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act included in the budget bill, C-50, particularly the elimination of the obligation to study humanitarian applications outside Canada.
“These amendments take away the right to have an application for humanitarian consideration examined, even though this is the only option under the immigration law for many people, including some children seeking to be reunited with their parents,” said Elizabeth McWeeny, President of the Canadian Council for Refugees. “Again and again when we point out gaps in the immigration law, Citizenship and Immigration Canada tells us that humanitarian and compassionate applications are the recourse. What kind of a recourse will it be, if visa officers can simply discard the application without even examining it?”
The following are two situations where the law does not provide children with a right to family reunification and humanitarian and compassionate applications are the only recourse:
Canada has an obligation, under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to consider the best interests of the child in any decision taken affecting a child. This obligation is reflected in the provisions in the Act relating to humanitarian and compassionate applications (section 25). With the proposed amendment, visa officers would no longer be required to consider the best interests of the child.
The CCR is also concerned that the proposed amendments eliminate the right to permanent residence for applicants who meet the requirements of the Act, and provide for applications in the economic class to be simply discarded, according to rules that are unknown and will not be subject to parliamentary approval.
For further information, please contact:Colleen French, Communications Coordinator, 514-277-7223 (ext. 1)