The Invisible Victims

Cover photo credit: Zoriah, 2009 (Flickr)

The Invisible Victims:

Examining the Impacts of a Minimum Residency Requirement for Social Assistance on Refugee Claimants

July 2015
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This study examines the effects that a minimum residency requirement for social assistance would have on refugee claimants in Canada, as recently permitted by federal legislation. Through a survey of service providers who work directly with refugees as well as personal testimonies from claimants, the report demonstrates that not only would these individuals be unable to support themselves, but the capacity of these organizations to provide services would be greatly impeded as many of them rely on this source of provincial funding. It also discredits the federal government’s claim that the policy would save money for taxpayers and details the domestic and international legislation that it would likely violate.

While there may not be an immediate cause for concern given the provinces and territories’ seeming lack of interest in implementing the policy, the danger lies in the uncertainty that has been created for refugee claimants and the organizations that support them. There are many factors that could eventually lead a province or territory to believe that utilizing this provision would be in its best interests. This report provides ample evidence that such action would be inadvisable on economic, humanitarian, and legal grounds.

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