In May 2012, the Barbra Schlifer Clinic, METRAC, and LEAF presented a written submission on Bill C-31: The Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Immigration.
The submission argued that Bill C-31 contained provisions that would result in the arbitrary detention, intimidation, failure to protect, and ultimate re-victimization of highly vulnerable people seeking asylum in Canada – people who were also positioned to ultimately contribute significantly to Canada once settled. The Schlifer Clinic, METRAC, and LEAF were particularly concerned about the impact of Bill C-31 on women survivors of violence, and children.
The three organizations’ main concerns included that Bill C-31 would:
- Impose unreasonably short deadlines on asylum-seekers, thereby preventing legitimate claims from being properly presented
- Designate certain countries as “safe” when in fact they are not safe for women
- Lead to the deportation of women survivors of violence prior to an individualized risk assessment
- Severely limit access to vital humanitarian and compassionate applications, often the last resort for women refugees and their children
- Impose one year of automatic detention on certain refugee claimants which could re-traumatize those fleeing violence
- Prevent family reunification for at least five years for certain refugees, endangering women and children left behind who were waiting for sponsorship
- Allow the permanent residence of legitimate refugees to be withdrawn at any time, creating a sub-class of new Canadians who can never fully settle and feel safe
- Conflict with Canada’s obligations under the Charter and its obligations under international law
Read the press release announcing our submission here.
Download the submission, available in English and French, below.2012-04-24-Submission-Bill-C-31-English-1