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April 5, 2010

Bill C-11: What does this new bill mean for refugees?

An article published in yesterday’s Toronto Star outlines the changes to be made to the refugee system by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s controversial new bill.  Changes included in this bill are much faster processing times for refugee claims which would be facilitated by a safe/unsafe country classification system whereby a list would be generated to differentiate “safe” and “unsafe” countries. Refugee claimants would be pre-screened according to this list, and those from “safe” countries would be processed much faster and appeal prospects for those from “safe” countries are severely affected.

The goal is that all claims are decided within 60 days. This is a huge difference from our current system, which takes an average of 19 months to determine claims. Other changes, such as adding new decision-makers to the process that are not Board members are causing controversial reactions from critics, who are concerned these changes combined with the country classification model will make our refugee system highly politicized and less “fair.”

For more information on the new bill and reactions by critics, click here for the full Toronto Star article.

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