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Refugee Rights News

Want to know what CPJ staff have been saying on refugee rights

Keep up-to-date with the latest news and views from CPJ on refugee rights.

Easing barriers for Syrian refugees

In the past few months, an increasing number of Canadians have called for government action in response to the urgent Syrian refugee crisis.

While communities and individuals are stepping up to assist by participating in private sponsorship, barriers remain, both in terms of the numbers of refugees coming to Canada and in the supports available once they arrive.

What Election 2015 Means for Public Justice

In this election, CPJ focused on democratic reform, poverty in Canada, climate justice, and refugee rights. On all four issues, our members hope to see Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take quick action to fulfill his party’s commitments. But we will also push his new government to fill in the gaps in its platform.

Uncertain Future for Refugee Claimants After Cuts

Last year, with the passage of C-43 – the omnibus budget implementation bill, the federal government removed the financial penalty for imposing a residency requirement for social assistance. There are exceptions. Canadian citizens, permanent residents, victims of human trafficking with a temporary resident permit, and accepted refugees would not have to meet this requirement. It is those who are not explicitly named who would be most adversely affected, and these are refugees who file their claims in Canada.

Churches Well-placed to Advocate for Refugees

From The Catalyst, Summer 2015

Canada is known for its welcoming policy for newcomers, but with over 50 million displaced people around the world, private sponsors are taking on more work as the federal government starts backing away. Churches or church-connected organizations represent 72 per cent of Sponsorship Agreement Holders. This puts them in a position to advocate to the government on behalf of refugees.

Transitional Justice in Contemporary World

At the beginning of May, I attended a one-week course at York University on refugees and forced migration. One of the topics discussed was transitional justice. This form of justice moves away from our traditional focus on punishing perpetrators of a crime to prioritizing the emotional healing of the victims. It is restorative in nature and assumes a shift from one state to another; from violence to peace. This concept has become more and more significant as the end of civil conflicts worldwide have necessitated that perpetrators and victims find a way to live together once again.

Allow All Elderly Immigrants to Access Social Assistance

Immigration policies should allow elderly immigrants the financial freedom to access social transfers (provided, of course, that they match the eligibility criteria) without solely relying on their children or grandchildren. This independence can allow for the formation of deeper relationships without the financial stress of this undertaking contract.

Faith Leaders Defend Syrian Muslim Refugees

From The Catalyst Spring 2015

Near the end of 2014, reports emerged indicating that the Government of Canada planned to prioritize religious minorities when resettling refugees from Syria. This came amid increasing criticism of the government’s failure to meet even its dismal target of resettling 1,300 Syrian refugees by the end of the year. 

In a remarkable display of solidarity, CPJ and the Canadian Council for Refugees brought together 25 Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, and Sikh leaders. They signed on to a statement declaring their opposition to the selection of Syrian refugees according to religion. 

Provinces response to refugee social assistance cuts

Provinces not jumping to cut refugee social assistance access

Originally published in Embassy News.

Late last year, the federal government passed Bill C-43 allowing provinces and territories to restrict access to social assistance.  It is now up to each province and territory to decide whether an individual must reside there for a certain period of time before they can access social assistance, and they may do so without losing federal funding for it.

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