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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.

What do Canadians think of immigration?

In 2009 Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney promised significant reforms to Canadian immigration policy before the end of the year. In the last months of 2009, several small changes were introduced, including improvements to the Live-in Caregivers program and better recognition of foreign credentials. We are still awaiting the major changes.

But before the changes are announced, Minister Kenney and the government should consider what Canadians really think about immigration.

“Welcoming Communities” and public engagement

On Monday, January 25 I attended an all day seminar hosted by Metropolis called “Welcoming Communities: How could Canadian communities be more welcoming?” The focus of this seminar was on efforts from a variety of sectors to welcome newcomers into Canadian communities.

An important element in making newcomers feel welcome is engaging the general population. Public education and awareness campaigns or proactive efforts to connect newcomers with Canadian residents are important. Education can help people understand one another while addressing concerns surrounding growing diversity and multiculturalism in Canada. Both government and non-government sectors need to be involved.

More baby steps in immigration reform, but is it enough?

In the past month, Citizenship and Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney has been announcing a series of small changes to Canada’s immigration policies. The most recent changes concern the Live-in Caregivers program. This program is just one of many within Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) Program, allowing qualified individuals to provide care to children, elderly people or people with disabilities within a private home.

On Saturday Kenney announced what he called “significant improvements” for Live-in Caregivers (LiCs) in Canada.

“Discover Canada”: A new guide for prospective citizens

Yesterday Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney released a new study guide for prospective Canadian citizens. Entitled Discover Canada: The rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship, the guide is much more extensive regarding Canadian history, and the forming of our country than the old guide.

Much of the historical emphasis, especially pre-Confederation history, is on the role of Aboriginal peoples, as well as the various English and French groups. But the expanding diversity and ethnic and cultural backgrounds among many of the more recent immigrants is also mentioned as well as the role of such immigrants in shaping Canada.

Does arrival in Canada doom newcomers to poverty?

A sign of faithfulness to God was always understood by the people of Israel and later by Christians as compliance with the Biblical injunction to care for the widows, orphans and aliens. Today, this Biblical reference can refer to the approximately 250,000 immigrants who come to our shores each year, plus refugee claimants, and over 200,000 temporary and seasonal workers.

The Auditor-General weighs in on Canada’s immigration

Last week Auditor-General Sheila Fraser tabled her fall report in Parliament, part of which critically evaluated Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) Program. Fraser criticized the management of the program, and specifically the federal government’s failure to ensure the safety of workers or to monitor the status and location of workers. These criticisms generated responses from very different points of view.

One point of view included concerns for improving the well-being of people entering Canada through the TFW program, while another called for the overhaul of the system with a refocus on highly skilled workers within immigration policy.

Language as a bridge to the integration of newcomers

Last week I attended an all-day seminar on the integration of newcomers and the issue of language skills within immigration policies. The seminar was hosted by Metropolis Canada, a network for policy research on topics relating to immigration, diversity and citizenship, and Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Panellists and other participants included public servants, academics and practitioners.

Ride for Refugees: We made it!

Last Saturday several thousand Canadians across the country got out on their bikes in the Ride for Refugees to raise money and build awareness about the struggles of refugees, both within Canada and abroad.

Across Canada, over $500,000 was raised and donations are still coming in!

Ride for Refugees: Gear up your bikes for October 3rd

On October 3, 2009, over a dozen cities across Canada are gearing-up (pun intended) for the 6th Annual Ride for Refugees through International Teams Canada. The Ride is a cycling event for everyone (no racing experience necessary!) and aims to raise awareness and support for refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), both abroad and in Canada.

Millions of people around the world are forced to live away from their homes, often in very poor conditions, due to war, violence, political oppression, and discrimination. International Teams Canada estimates that there are almost 70 million refugees and IDPs around the world.


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