For immediate release
21 March 2006

Canadian Council for Refugees Criticizes Canada’s Treatment of Non-citizens in Report to United Nations Committee

MONTRÉAL – The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) today published its report to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights criticizing Canada for its failure to respect the basic rights of non-citizens.

“We think of Canada as a country that respects human rights, but in fact we often fall short,” said Elizabeth McWeeny, CCR President.  “Along with aboriginal peoples, refugees and immigrants are those whose rights are most frequently violated in Canada.”

The CCR report highlights family separation as one of the key problem areas for Canada.  Immigration policies and practices keep children separated from their parents for years, sometimes for ever, despite Canada’s obligation to protect families.  Among the barriers to family reunification are regulations which exclude certain family members, deny family reunification to those who are poor and to separated refugee children, and impose family separation on live-in caregivers and seasonal farm workers.

The report notes that discrimination against non-citizens underlies the problems highlighted and in itself represents a violation of the right to non-discrimination.  The report also documents how some non-citizens are denied government benefits and services, such as the National Child Tax Benefit Supplement, leaving children in poverty.  Another topic highlighted is Canada’s failure to respect the rights of temporary workers to organize and bargain collectively.

The CCR report was prepared for the UN’s examination in May 2006 of Canada’s compliance with obligations under the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, one element of the International Bill of Human Rights.

The report can be found at and supporting background information at


Janet Dench, Executive Director, (514) 277-7223 (ext. 2)

Tanya Chute Molina, KAIROS, (416) 463-5312 (ext. 252) on the rights of temporary workers

Geri Sadoway, Parkdale Community Legal Services, (416) 531-2411 (ext. 229) to organize an interview with a person directly affected by points raised in the report

The Canadian Council for Refugees is a non-profit umbrella organization committed to the rights and protection of refugees in Canada and around the world and to the settlement of refugees and immigrants in Canada. The membership is made up of over 170 organizations involved in refugee sponsorship and protection and in newcomer settlement. The CCR serves the networking, information-exchange and advocacy needs of its membership.

6839 Drolet #302, Montréal, QC, Canada H2S 2T1 TEL.: (514) 277-7223 FAX : (514) 277-1447