Balanced Refugee Reform Act (Bill C-11) To Be Made Unfair To Refugees In Canada

We recently posted on our blog about how rumours were circulating that the Balanced Refugee Reform Act (Bill-C11) might be facing some changes before it is implemented in June of this year – changes that were initially removed because they were harmful to refugees in Canada, but that may be passable since the Conservative Government has a majority. Now, according to various reports, these rumours may prove to be true after all.

Understanding the Balanced Refugee Reform Act

Essentially, before the bill was accepted, changes were made to make it fairer to refugees. Now, those changes may be removed in the form of an entirely new bill.

Bill C-31 Introduced Change Refugee Rules

The initial bill (C-11) is not actually being changed. Instead, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney introduced an entirely new bill last week to make things tougher on refugees, Bill C-31. This bill is expected to be implemented in the fall, according to the CBC.

This new bill would:

  • Allow the immigration minister to put countries on a safe countries list by himself, without help from human rights experts.
  • Ensure that refugee claims from those safe countries, when denied, cannot be appealed.
  • Claimants from these safe countries would not be allowed to apply again – even on humanitarian and compassionate grounds – for a full year and could be deported from Canada in the meantime.
  • While rejected claimants could ask for a Federal Court review, there would be nothing preventing them from being deported from Canada before their case is decided.

The Previous Bill C-11

When the original C-11 bill was introduced, the Canadian Bar Association, opposition parties and human rights groups called for changes, including the removal of the safe countries list and the one year ban on reapplying. To pass the bill, compromises were made and these recommendations were followed. Now, they’ve just been put back in place under the guise of a new bill.

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Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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