September 14, 2010
H&Cs and TRPs – What Now?
The Balanced Refugee Reform Act. 2001, c. 27 Bill C-11 received royal assent on June 29th, 2010 and it makes significant changes to the process for making a claim for refugee protection from inside Canada. But what it also does is limit the scope and accessibility of humanitarian and compassionate applications (known as section 25 applications) and temporary resident permits (known as section 24 applications).
Years ago in Immquest I wrote the H&C; program has become like an old friend who stays too long when he visits and your points of commonality have diminished over the years. You do not want to offend your friend because you have known him for years even though he would not be a friend if you met him today. A reluctantly invited holdover from the past that is tolerated but not embraced.
The Canadian Bar Association among other groups like the Refugee Lawyer’s Association found hard against these changes and to Immigration Canada’s credit they did soften their stance. I wrote then and still believe now that I would caution against underestimating the importance of section 25 or section 114 as it was, and section 24 because it infuses life and humanity in an increasingly technical and sterile compilation of rules, regulations and manuals.
It is not simply the exception to the rule, as it is perceived in 2010, it is the relief where the law does not speak to sometime competing objectives. Where there is a disconnect between our international humanitarian tradition and the application of laws.
We cannot compartmentalize the ebbs and flows of international crisis, conflict and need and have the faith on one end and some would argue on the other end, the audacity and arrogance, to believe that we can predict every outcome and have the law speak to same with clarity. We have a responsibility to protect our resources and our citizenry but that responsibility must be tempered by the ability to address deficiencies within our own economy and immigration programs. In the end, officers and practitioners alike should welcome the ability pursuant to sections 24 and 25 respectively, to reasonably overcome legal requirements where humanity and compassion so dictates.
After all, our product is human.