Refugee Rights

CPJ works to educate the public — especially churches — on the ever-changing landscape of refugee legislation in Canada. Through research, policy monitoring, and publishing, we bring attention to the impact of legislative change on refugees and claimants, and on the groups who sponsor and support them to come to Canada.

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Uncertain Future for Refugee Claimants After Cuts

Last year, with the passage of C-43 – the omnibus budget implementation bill, the federal government removed the financial penalty for imposing a residency requirement for social assistance. There are exceptions. Canadian citizens, permanent residents, victims of human trafficking with a temporary resident permit, and accepted refugees would not have to meet this requirement. It is those who are not explicitly named who would be most adversely affected, and these are refugees who file their claims in Canada.

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The Invisible Victims

“The Invisible Victims”

 July 2015
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This study demonstrates the severely negative effects that a minimum residency requirement for social assistance would have on refugee claimants in Canada. After conducting a survey of service providers who work directly with refugees as well as gathering personal testimonies from claimants, the report provides ample evidence that the policy would be inadvisable on economic, humanitarian, and legal grounds.

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Transitional Justice in Contemporary World

At the beginning of May, I attended a one-week course at York University on refugees and forced migration. One of the topics discussed was transitional justice. This form of justice moves away from our traditional focus on punishing perpetrators of a crime to prioritizing the emotional healing of the victims. It is restorative in nature…

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Syrian Women

Faith Leaders Defend Syrian Muslim Refugees

From The Catalyst Spring 2015

Near the end of 2014, reports emerged indicating that the Government of Canada planned to prioritize religious minorities when resettling refugees from Syria. This came amid increasing criticism of the government’s failure to meet even its dismal target of resettling 1,300 Syrian refugees by the end of the year. 

In a remarkable display of solidarity, CPJ and the Canadian Council for Refugees brought together 25 Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, and Sikh leaders. They signed on to a statement declaring their opposition to the selection of Syrian refugees according to religion. 

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Refugees, including children, would not immediately be able to access social assistance programs when they arrive in Canada.

Provinces response to refugee social assistance cuts

Provinces not jumping to cut refugee social assistance access Originally published in Embassy News. Late last year, the federal government passed Bill C-43 allowing provinces and territories to restrict access to social assistance.  It is now up to each province and territory to decide whether an individual must reside there for a certain period of…

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Syrian Refugees

Churches left in the dark on changes to refugee policy

In November 2011, a church submitted an application to sponsor a family of eight to come to Canada. At first, things were moving along well. The family was interviewed less than a year later, in July 2012. But now, more than two years since that interview and three years since the application was submitted, not only has the family not arrived, the sponsoring church has not heard anything from the Visa Office or Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

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Syrian Refugees

Letter: Canada to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees

January 2015
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CPJ called for Canada to live up to its ongoing commitment to welcome one out of every 10 of all resettled refugees globally.

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Syrian Refugees

Canada: Only a refuge for religious minorities?

Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, and Sikh leaders in Canada stand up for Syrian Muslims seeking asylum On December 12th, CBC News reported that the government is considering prioritizing religious minorities from Syria when deciding which refugee claims to approve. Such a policy would leave Sunni Muslims, who compose the majority of the Syrian population, without any chance…

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Syrian Refugees

Syrian Refugees: Discriminating by religion is unacceptable

Inter-faith Statement on Syrian Refugees.

December 2014
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Faith groups, including CPJ, responded today to 
reports that the Canadian federal government is only looking to resettle Syrian refugees from the country’s religious minorities. In their statement today on Syrian refugees, faith leaders supported the Canadian Council of Refugees in affirming and insisting that discriminating by religion is unacceptable. 

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Apartment

Protecting the Vulnerable

Brief to the Citizenship and Immigration Committee on Bill C-43

Submission to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration 

November 2014

Download the brief

“Protecting the Vulnerable” outlines the severe impact of these changes on persons with non-permanent status in Canada. It also presents findings from CPJ’s latest report on refugees, “Private Sponsorship and Public Policy” and demonstrates the impact that such cuts will have on refugee-sponsoring churches and organizations

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