Saturday, May 22, 2010

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary on Refugee Reform Act

The Library of Parliament recently published a legislative summary of Bill C-11: An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Federal Courts Act (Balanced Refugee Reform Act):
"The bill makes a number of changes to Canada’s in-land refugee determination system. Some of the more significant changes include: the provision that the first-level refugee determination decision-maker is a public servant and is no longer appointed by the Governor in Council; the implementation of a refugee appeal division for some claimants; changes to humanitarian and compassionate provisions; and limited access to Pre-Removal Risk Assessments and Temporary Resident Permits. The bill also increases the number of Federal Court judges (...)"

"In 1985, the Supreme Court of Canada decided in Singh v. the Minister of Employment and Immigration that the Charter protects refugee claimants; this decision has been instrumental in setting the standards for procedural fairness that must be met in such cases."

"In this context, governments strive to operate a refugee determination system that is fair and upholds Canada’s legal obligations, while at the same time minimizes the risk of abuse and is reasonably efficient and cost-effective to administer. Asylum seekers whose claims for protection are deemed eligible are offered the opportunity of a hearing by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), a quasi-judicial federal body. Following an initial interview before an immigration officer, claimants for refugee protection proceed to a hearing before a panel of the Refugee Protection Division of the IRB. Unsuccessful claimants are removed from Canada; however, they may apply for a judicial review and a stay of their deportation order to the Federal Court of Canada."

"The IRB currently faces a number of challenges in finalizing a large volume of refugee claims. Some, such as the upward trend in asylum claims lodged in industrialized countries over the last number of years and increasingly complex or mixed migration flows, are global in scope. Others are particular to the Canadian context, and include the delay in appointments and reappointments to the IRB over the 2004 to 2008 period, the backlog of 63,000 pending refugee protection claims, and the amount of resources available to the IRB to administer claims."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:04 pm

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