Bahareh Esfand arrived in Canada as the wife of a political refugee. Immigration officials wanted to strip her of her permanent resident status because she went back to Iran for a visit with her mother.

Bahareh Esfand arrived in Canada as the wife of a political refugee. Immigration officials wanted to strip her of her permanent resident status because she went back to Iran for a visit with her mother.
Photo Credit: Jason Proctor/CBC

Court disallows leeway on refugee loss of status

Share

Refugee advocates say the Canadian government must act quickly to change a law that obliges it to strip refugees of their status under certain circumstances. A recent court decision prevents immigration officials from considering humanitarian arguments for not applying this so-called cessation of refugee status.

In a dramatic reversal of Canada’s traditionally open attitude toward refugees, former Immigration Minister Jason Kenney promised to crack down on what he called ‘bogus refugees’ in 2012.
In a dramatic reversal of Canada’s traditionally open attitude toward refugees, former Immigration Minister Jason Kenney promised to crack down on what he called ‘bogus refugees’ in 2012. © Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press

Change of attitude, change of law

Historically, Canada has welcomed refugees and encouraged them to stay and make a life here. But the previous Conservative government changed that. It decided that people who came as refugees should be stripped of their status as refugees or permanent residents if they no longer needed Canada’s protection.

So, if they returned to visit the countries they had fled, perhaps because circumstances had changed there, their status could be revoked and they would no longer be allowed to work and remain in Canada.

‘A tremendous shock’

“It has been a tremendous shock and concern to find that retroactively such actions are used to strip them of their permanent residence in Canada,” says Janet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees.

“We’re talking here about people who are very well settled here, people who have Canadian children, Canadian spouses, people who are active working, or running businesses and so on. And all of these people can find themselves faced with a loss of status in Canada.”

Listen

‘Millions wasted,’ says lawyer

The government “has wasted millions of dollars” to fund a search for former refugees “who can be disposed of,” says Mitchell Goldberg, president of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers. These lawyers are also demanding the government act urgently to change the law.

Janet Dench says some long-established former refugees are afraid to apply for Canadian citizenship.
Janet Dench says some long-established former refugees are afraid to apply for Canadian citizenship. © Canadian Council For Refugees

‘System is absolutely broken’

“The system is absolutely broken,” says Dench. It can deprive Canadian families of their breadwinners and Canadian society of established permanent residents. It also is making former refugees fearful of applying for citizenship. The application asks about travel which they worry could provide grounds for the government to apply to revoke their status.

Dench is hopeful the new Liberal government elected in October of 2015 is open to changing the law, but it has a very busy agenda and she is concerned this issue will not get the immediate attention it requires

Share
Categories: Immigration & Refugees, Politics, Society
Tags: , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*