Tours help refugee claimants navigate asylum hearings

Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star

On a recent Thursday, 11 asylum seekers streamed into Hearing Room 9 on the fourth floor of the Immigration and Refugee Board’s Toronto headquarters on Victoria St. But not to have their cases heard.

Instead, pen and notepaper ready, the claimants from nine countries paid careful attention to “tour guide” Dan Crawford, as he offered tips that could mean a lot to the success of their asylum claims. […]

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Immigration is again tackling refugee claimants through Provisions in Bill C-43

The Current, CBC Radio

Refugee advocates say the federal government’s omnibus bill includes potentially devastating changes to how Canada supports refugees and refugee claimants worry they could lose access to social assistance.

“Immigration is again tackling refugee claimants through a new omnibus bill” said Loly Rico, co-director of FCJ Refugee Centre to CBC Radio. Loly Rico was interview about the federal government’s omnibus bill that includes potentially devastating changes to how Canada supports refugees.

Provisions in Bill C-43 would allow provinces to impose residency requirements for access to social assistance for refugee claimants and other people without permanent status in Canada.

To hear the interview click here.

One year on, Canada’s refugee system is failing some of the most vulnerable refugees: CCR

The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) today made public its principal observations on Canada’s revised refugee determination system, as we approach the first anniversary of its implementation. On the eve of Human Rights Day, the CCR laments that refugees’ fundamental rights are threatened in Canada.

“The new refugee system is failing some claimants, including the most vulnerable people who have been traumatized by the persecution they have suffered,” said Loly Rico, President. “As Canadians we are proud of our history of welcoming and protecting refugees: unfortunately Canada is now a less welcoming country, and some refugees who need our protection are not getting it.”

On 15 December 2012, major and controversial changes to Canada’s refugee determination system were implemented. The CCR had consistently raised concerns that the new system would fail to offer some refugees the protection they need from Canada.
The CCR has prepared a report on key points in the new system as observed by members, including the following:

  • The short timelines are causing serious problems: they create high levels of stress and many claimants are unable to prepare themselves adequately for their hearing.
  • The short timelines are particularly damaging for vulnerable claimants, such as survivors of torture and people with health problems or disabilities.
  • We have a two-tier system that discriminates against some claimants, who have less access to protection, on arbitrary grounds, notably based on their country of origin.

Overall, the new system suffers from uncertainty and poorly thought-out measures, which may be the result of going from one extreme (too slow hearings) to the other (too quick hearings). The CCR has consistently advocated that the solution lies in the middle (6 month timelines would work for most claimants).
Link to report, New refugee system – one

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Canada: Still a Land of Opportunity?

The Agenda with Steve Paikin, TVO

For many immigrants to Canada, our country offered new hope and a new life. Does that still hold true for new Canadians? As part of the Dude, Where’s My Future? series, The Agenda examines if Canada is still a land of opportunity for immigrants.

We want to congratulate Treisy Rivera for her amazing participation in this interview broadcasted through The Agenda with Steve Paikin. To see the interview click here.

Inauguran instalaciones para nuevo Programa Artístico-Cultural para Refugiados

Óscar Vigil, El Centro News

Con la presencia de políticos y de funcionarios de diversas entidades de asistencia financiera, pero sobre todo con una fuerte afluencia de jóvenes y refugiados provenientes de diversos países del mundo, y principalmente de América Latina, fueron inauguradas recientemente las nuevas instalaciones que albergarán el nuevo Centro Cultural para Refugiados en Toronto.

Las instalaciones están ubicadas en el 208 de Oakwood Avenue, una cuadra al norte de St. Clair Ave. West, en Toronto, en el edificio que ocupa el FCJ Refugee Centre, una institución que tiene más de 20 años sirviendo gratuitamente a los refugiados y nuevos inmigrantes que año con año llegan al país. […]

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La comunidad hispana está afectada por la trata de personas

Óscar Vigil, El Centro News

Lorena acababa de cumplir 20 años de edad cuando encontró lo que parecía ser el camino para realizar todos sus sueños: un anuncio buscando modelos para comerciales de televisión que apareció publicado en uno de los periódicos más importantes de su país.

Llamó al número indicado y le dieron una cita, en la cual le explicaron que uno de los requisitos para trabajar como modelo en esa compañía era la disposición para hacerlo fuera del país. Esto le pareció aún más atractivo. […]

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For migrant workers, injury often means a one-way ticket home

Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star

After Eloid Drummond was hit by a car in Exeter, Ont., and suffered a dislocated shoulder, he was declared “AWOL” by his employer — and Canada — because he refused to quietly go home to Jamaica.

Unable to continue farm work, he was terminated from Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Program, and hence lost his social insurance card and health coverage for his injuries. […]

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