Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

June 15, 2010 23:55 ET

CIC: The Balanced Refugee Reform Act Moves Closer to Becoming Law

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 15, 2010) - Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney welcomed today final House of Commons approval for Bill C-11, the Balanced Refugee Reform Act.

"We are confident that this bill will resolve the problems that are crippling our broken asylum system," said Minister Kenney. "The Balanced Refugee Reform Act has received support from all parties in the democratically-elected House of Commons."

"I am pleased that these important changes are now moving to the Senate for consideration," he added. "The Government has listened to the concerns of Canadian taxpayers, refugee advocates and parliamentarians and has taken action to design a stronger piece of legislation that, if it becomes law, will make our refugee system faster and fairer."

The Balanced Refugee Reform Act, as amended, would give all failed asylum seekers, regardless of where they come from, a right of appeal to the new Refugee Appeal Division the government intends to create at the independent Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. That said, failed asylum seekers from designated countries of origin would have their appeal heard much faster under the amended version of the legislation.

Further, in recognition that some claims for refugee protection are clearly fraudulent, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada would also be able to fast-track the appeals of asylum seekers determined to have made manifestly unfounded claims. Neither they, nor claimants from designated countries would have automatic stays at the Federal Court, thus allowing for speedier removal from Canada. This would discourage people from using Canada's asylum system as a way to jump the immigration queue. It would also disincentivise those who make asylum claims so they can prolong their stay in Canada, where they have access to a work permit and social assistance.

These changes would mean that failed claimants from designated countries would be ready for removal in about 120 days, far less than the years it takes now.

Bill C-11 and all of its proposed amendments continue to exceed Canada's international and domestic legal obligations to asylum seekers, and will improve Canada's refugee system. The Balanced Refugee Reform Act will provide faster protection to those fleeing persecution, and faster removal from Canada of false asylum seekers. If passed, the Bill would be implemented no later than 24 months following Royal Assent.

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