The omnibus Budget Implementation Act (Bill C-97) includes drastic changes to Canada’s refugee system.
The most important proposed change would bar every refugee claimant who has made a claim in a country with whom Canada has an information-sharing agreement from having their refugee claim heard by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) in Canada. There are no exceptions to this bar. Presently, Canada has such agreements with the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand but the list could grow.
As a result of this proposed change alone, thousands of refugee claimants will be barred from having their refugee claim heard by the IRB.
Amendments like this one will have a significant impact on the human rights of refugee claimants and should not be rushed through Parliament as part of Bill C-97. These amendments should only be considered in a stand-alone bill so that Parliament can hear from experts in the field and properly appreciate the legal, policy and moral implications of these significant changes.
Below are some of the false assumptions and misconceptions being circulated about the proposed new bar on certain refugee claimants being able to access the IRB.