Policy Statements: Refugee Rights

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Want to understand how Christian values can translate into policy that protects the rights of refugees in Canada?

Read CPJ's statements and letters defending the rights of refugees and newcomers in Canada.

Canadians take pride in our country’s multiculturalism. To truly embrace it, we need a new approach to how we treat those who seek refuge within our borders. Public justice means enacting policies that promote refugee resettlement and supporting refugees after they arrive in Canada.

CPJ calls on the federal government to: 

Reconsider Canada's Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States

CPJ maintains a longtime position on the discriminatory nature of the Safe Third Country Agreement. This pact denies most refugee claimants the opportunity to seek asylum legally in Canada, once they have done so in the United States.

Given the current unfriendly immigration policy developments in the United States, CPJ believes that refugees may not be given a fair hearing on their cases. This is why we call on the immigration minister, Hon. Ahmed Hussen, to reconsider the Safe Third Country Agreement.

Our federal government must ensure that refugee claimants have equal access to social assistance regardless of where they reside, their method of arrival, or the stage in their application process.

Learn more:

Address Refugee Poverty

Many refugees are vulnerable to poverty in Canada because they lack employment and language skills, among other factors. Our government must acknowledge poverty as it relates to refugees, in order to address it in a targeted way. Providing a general anti-poverty measure for refugees will fail to capture the complex interconnected factors that make them more susceptible to poverty in Canada.

CPJ calls on the Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development, Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos, to ensure that the forthcoming Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy adopts a rights-based approach that melds refugees' experiences with poverty into actions taken to address the social issue. 

Learn more:

Resettle and Support Syrian Refugees

CPJ supports the government's resettlement of over 40,000 Syrian refugees.

The Syrian crisis is the greatest humanitarian challenge of our time. CPJ joined other organizations to call on the Canadian government to ensure that Syrian refugees were resettled without discrimination based on religion. 

We recognize the responsibility of citizens, institutions, and governments to do their part in supporting these refugees after they arrive in Canada.

Learn more:

Speed Up Application Processing for Refugees from Other Conflict-prone Regions

We also acknowledge that there are refugees from other parts of the world who are also vulnerable to all forms of atrocities. Many refugees from various global regions have been waiting for many years to have their applications processed. 

CPJ urges the federal government to commit to resettling refugees with the kind of political and financial urgency given to Syrian refugees in the heat of the crisis. This includes our call to devote $385 million in 2018 to accelerate the processing of private refugee sponsorship applications.

Learn more:

Consult with Refugee Sponsors

One way faith communities welcome newcomers is through sponsoring and resettling refugees. CPJ Churches and faith communities have identified major challenges to refugee sponsorship including long wait times; processing delays; and a lack of government consultation.

Refugees, private sponsors, and others who work directly with refugees have a wealth of knowledge and experience in regards to policy that welcome and support refugees in Canada.

It is critical that our government continues to seek and consider input from stakeholders when developing or making alterations to refugee policy.

Learn more:

Syrian Refugees: Discriminating by religion is unacceptable

Inter-faith Statement on Syrian Refugees.

December 2014
Read the Statement
Faith groups, including CPJ, responded today to 
reports that the Canadian federal government is only looking to resettle Syrian refugees from the country’s religious minorities. In their statement today on Syrian refugees, faith leaders supported the Canadian Council of Refugees in affirming and insisting that discriminating by religion is unacceptable. 

Protecting the Vulnerable

Brief to the Citizenship and Immigration Committee on Bill C-43

Submission to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration 
November 2014
Download the brief
"Protecting the Vulnerable" outlines the severe impact of these changes on persons with non-permanent status in Canada. It also presents findings from CPJ's latest report on refugees, "Private Sponsorship and Public Policy" and demonstrates the impact that such cuts will have on refugee-sponsoring churches and organizations

Budget 2013: Fulfilling our Collective Responsibility

Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance Pre-Budget Consultations
August 2013
Download the brief 
While CPJ has publicly raised questions about the integrity of the pre-budget consultation process, we believe that now, more than ever, the voice of public justice needs to be heard in Ottawa, and that continued engagement with our elected officials is a far better choice than disengagement or apathy.

Promoting the Common Good: 2012 pre-budget submission

Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance Pre-Budget Consultations
Economic recovery is important, but it needs to include all Canadians. Three years after the 2008-09 recession, many people, including youth, new immigrants, Aboriginal people, single-parent families, and people with disabilities are being left behind.


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