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Proposed Changes to the System of Refugee Determination

by Andrew Z. Wlodyka

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration released a White Paper in January, 1999, called "Building on a Strong Foundation for the 21st Century." This report, among other proposals, called for reforms to the way that Convention Refugees are selected and that risk assessments are done for failed refugee claimants before their removal from Canada.

The question of refugee determination has resurfaced in the public eye recently with the arrival of our coast by boat of refugee claimants from China. A key proposal is to provide for a consolidated method of decision making by the Convention Refugee Determination Division. A single member panel of this Division would make three types of decisions, namely, refugee determination, risk assessment and risk related humanitarian and compassionate review in one course of one hearing. Presently different persons make such decisions. This causes considerable delay.

Secondly, applicants who come from countries that are not refugee producing would be given priority in scheduling. The Minister's representative would also be granted easier access to the Convention Refugee Determination Division to vacate refugee status obtained by misrepresentation or fraud or to bring on cessation proceedings to establish that someone is no longer a refugee.

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This page last updated: October 4, 1999
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