Refugee Rights

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As Canadians we are at our best when we treat refugees fairly and with respect and compassion. We must return to the better parts of our tradition of welcoming refugees.

Human Rights Day Statement: What About Refugee Rights?

Historically, Canada has been known for its excellence in refugee protection. In 1986, the UN’s annual Nansen Refugee Award was given to the “people of Canada” in honour of outstanding service to the cause of refugees. Canada remains the only country-as-laureate in the award’s 60-year history.

Canada has received global recognition for the successes of our private sponsorship of refugees program. Many country representatives from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States have visited Ottawa to learn more about Canada's private sponsorship program.

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.

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.

In 2013, CPJ helped get Canadian church leaders involved in the Human Rights Day Statement on refugee rights, a powerful letter signed by 47 prominent Canadians urging the government to return to its strong tradition of refugee protection.

In April 2017, we released A Half Welcome, our report on private sponsorship issues in Canada which highlights refugee sponsorship agreements holders' top concerns with federal government policy.  

With our latest report, Reclaiming ProtectionCPJ calls for an overhaul to the Safe Third Country Agreement, 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.

CPJ provides timely analysis and research on refugee rights. Contact Joe Gunn for more information.

Refugee Research Research

Research on Refugee Rights

CPJ's research highlights the concerns of refugees, advocates, and sponsorship agreements holders in Canada.

Released on World Refugee Day in 2018, Reclaiming Protection includes the first-hand accounts of refugee claimants and amplifies the call for an overhaul to the Safe Third Country Agreement.

A Half Welcome, CPJ's 2017 report on private sponsorship issues in Canada, highlights refugee sponsorship agreements holders' top concerns with federal government policy.  

Refugees Policy Statements

Policy Statements on Refugee Rights

Read CPJ's statements and letters defending the rights of refugees and newcomers in Canada.

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.

Refugee Rights Take Action Take Action

Want to take concrete steps towards defending the rights of refugees?

Use our advocacy resources to call for just refugee policies in Canada, including an end to the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the U.S. and the removal of travel loan repayment for resettled refugees. 

Refugee Rights News News

Want to know what CPJ staff have been saying on refugee rights

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. Read more

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