Refugee Rights

Canada is a world leader in immigration and refugee intake. In 1986, the people of Canada were awarded the UN’s Nansen Refugee Award for their outstanding service to the cause of refugees. Canada’s private sponsorship of refugees program has been benchmarked and emulated by several countries including Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

Yet there is much work to be done to ensure that refugees rights and fully respected in Canada, and around the world.

CPJ conducts policy analysis and public justice framing on a range of refugee rights issues to educate the public—especially churches—on the ever-changing landscape of refugee legislation in Canada. Through high quality research, policy monitoring, and publishing, we bring attention to the impact of legislative change on refugees and claimants, and on the groups that privately sponsor them to come to Canada.

We speak out against policies that disregard the rights and pre-migration experiences of refugees and newcomers to Canada. We also engage with parliamentarians to bring a public justice and human rights framework to the issues. CPJ communicates our analysis and framing through public presentations, writing, advocacy and workshops to audiences ranging from public officials, to the media, leaders in church and society and CPJ supporters.

With Reclaiming Protection, CPJ called for an overhaul to the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), a policy that allows the Canada Border Services Agency to refuse most refugee claims made at the Canada-U.S. border. By rescinding the policy, Canada can better uphold its international obligations to refugees, as well as the rights of refugees to receive due process. In 2020, we collaborated with STAND-Canada to release Slamming the Door, a report on the legal challenges to the STCA and the overall US-Canada diplomatic relations.

In April 2017, CPJ released A Half Welcome, our report on private sponsorship issues in Canada which highlights refugee sponsorship agreements holders' top concerns with federal government policy. In 2020, CPJ published Continuing Welcome: A Progress Report on A Half Welcome. It tracked progress on these concerns and ongoing gaps in Canada's refugee sponsorship program.

CPJ provides timely analysis and research on refugee rights. Contact Stephen Kaduuli for more information. CPJ is a member of the Canadian Council for Refugees, a national umbrella organization committed to the rights and protection of refugees and other vulnerable migrants in Canada.

(CPJ does not provide refugee resettlement services. The Government of Canada maintains a list of Sponsorship Agreement Holders for private refugee sponsorship.)

Research

CPJ conducts research a range of issues that explore the ever-changing landscape of refugee policy in Canada. Our research highlights the concerns of refugees, advocates, and sponsorship agreements holders in Canada.

Policy Statements

Canadians take pride in our country’s multiculturalism. To truly embrace it, we need a new approach to how we treat those who seek refuge within our borders. Public justice means enacting policies that promote refugee resettlement and supporting refugees after they arrive in Canada.

Church Resources

Want to help your church engage with refugee issues in Canada and beyond? Use these resources to highlight current issues involving refugees today, create discussion points, engage in direct action, and gain a deepened understanding of the Biblical call to welcome the stranger.

Take Action

CPJ and the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue have prepared an online action to support the recommendations in Continuing Welcome. Join us in encouraging Canada to continue deepening its commitment to welcoming refugees.

News

Keep up-to-date with the latest news and views from CPJ on refugee rights by reading the articles written by CPJ staff and citing CPJ’s work.