Changes To Bill C-31

The Vancouver Sun recently reported that the federal government is bowing to pressure put on it by opposition parties to amend some of its provisions in a bill aimed at curbing bogus refugee claims.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney

taken from Google images by The National Post

Bill C-31 is being reviewed on a clause by clause basis and the government has agreed to make changes to the bill that deals with ‘irregular arrivals’. Often associated with human smuggling, the government agreed to change the part of the bill that would have seen these refugee claimants spend up to a year in detention without a review of their case.

Critics have argued the detention provisions, among others, are inhumane and a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other international treaties. Under the amendment, those individuals would be guaranteed an initial review within 14 days and another within six months.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said:

“We believe this strikes the right balance, it ensures there will be a review of detention by the independent quasi-judicial Immigration and Refugee Board.”

The government also has agreed to clarify that smuggled migrants who are ruled to be bona fide refugees will not face detention and it will amend certain language in the bill that some fear could have the unintended consequence of revoking a refugee’s permanent residence due to improved circumstances in their country of origin.

The NDP immigration critic Jinny Sims doesn’t think the changes have gone far enough to address the fundamental flaws of the bill.

“The bill concentrates power in the hands of the minister while it punishes refugees and won’t address the problem of human smuggling,” she said at a news conference. She said the NDP wants the government to “abandon” the costly bill and warned it would result in numerous legal challenges and force the government to “go back to the drawing board.”


Kenney is keen on getting his omnibus bill passed before the predecessor legislation is set to take effect. He said the government isn’t “prepared operationally” to implement the Balanced Refugee Reform Act, which would be replaced by the new bill.


If you are interested in immigrating to Vancouver, please contact one of our immigration lawyers and we will be happy to answer any questions you might have.


Content Source:
The Vancouver Sun

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