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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.

Rethinking Poverty 2 Community Forum: Immigrant Perspectives

“If we are to truly rethink poverty, we must acknowledge that poverty and race go hand in hand.”

This statement was spoken this morning by Uzma Shakir, the keynote speaker at the Rethinking Poverty 2 Community Forum. Held at Ottawa’s City Hall, the Forum brought together recent newcomers and providers of immigrant support services to dialogue on immigrant perspectives of poverty.

Language Requirements Counter to Public Justice Values

Two weeks ago, Minister for Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney stated that he believed immigrants should be required to speak English or French before being accepted into Canada, arguing that this would encourage newcomers to integrate more into Canadian society. His statement has since sparked a heated debate about immigration policy in Canada. How do we integrate newcomers into Canada? Is a language requirement fair and necessary for integration?

Supreme Court refuses to hear Safe Third Country case

On February 5, a three-judge panel of the Supreme Court of Canada rejected an appeal application that sought to have the Safe Third Country Agreement deemed unconstitutional. The appeal came from the Canadian Council for Refugees, the Canadian Council of Churches and Amnesty International, who were appealing a Federal Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold the STCA.

Immigration criteria falls short

While we’re finishing up our response to the Fiscal and Economic Statement yesterday, and wondering who our government will be next week, an announcement was made with little fanfare of the new immigration criteria.

New legislation was adopted this spring that allows the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to prioritize certain immigrants for entry into Canada. The move was a departure from the previous system, where selection criteria were set by regulation and every visa application had to be reviewed by immigration officers.

Faith and Diversity in the Public Realm: An Ongoing Dialogue

How can the rights of religious groups to live out their beliefs be respected while also ensuring protection for individual rights? What is the place of faith in public life? How do we accommodate diversity while still maintaining common values? Some of these questions were addressed last Tuesday, October 28th, when CPJ hosted a lecture by Dr. Jonathan Chaplin at the Institute for Christian Studies (ICS) in Toronto.

Safety and Dignity for Refugees in Canada

While people across the globe celebrated World Refugee Day last Friday, refugee advocates in Canada also celebrated the passage of Bill C-280, which calls for the implementation of a Refugee Appeal Division. The creation of this new appeal mechanism will enhance the integrity of Canada’s refugee determination system.

Living out diversity? Neighbours in Canada

At the beginning of April 2008, Statistics Canada released data from the 2006 census. One important finding was particularly highlighted: Canada’s visible minority population is now at 16.2% of the population. While this number speaks to our pride as a diverse country, our history of welcoming newcomers has been marred by times we have not been loving neighbours.

Building an intercultural future

The Bouchard-Taylor Commission, set up to examine accommodation and integration in Québec, released their report on May 22. Outlining ideas centered on the concept of interculturalism, the report’s recommendations have been met with mixed reviews. Ultimately, it seems to create more questions than it answers.

Becoming leaders for change

On May 6, the Maytree Foundation held their 2008 Annual Leadership Conference, with the theme of belonging and its impact on individual and community wellbeing. Citizens for Public Justice joined with leaders from various sectors to discuss issues of identity, citizenship, multiculturalism and reflect on ways to enable marginalized groups to fully participate in society. The keynote speakers and workshop panelists challenged us to think deeply about the complex issues of diversity and what it means to “belong” in Canadian society.

Accountability Backlog in Immigration?

Recently, the Conservative government introduced amendments to the immigration act, claiming they will solve the application backlog. However, these amendments raise troubling questions about an accountability backlog. Giving the minister of immigration centralized power in selecting immigrants without allowing political debate strips transparency and fairness from the system for Canadians and potential immigrants. Justice demands that fairness and compassion be reflected in welcoming immigrants to fully participate in society.

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