The Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act (formerly Bill C-31), which became law in June 2012, has many severe impacts on a person’s experience in the Canadian refugee determination system.
Timelines to submit a refugee claim and to prepare for the subsequent refugee hearing have been significantly shortened for certain refugee claimants. The new timelines do not provide enough time for newcomers to seek legal advice, to complete their applications accurately and completely, or to gather evidence to prove their claim. This could lead to a person not having a fair opportunity to explain or prove their case. As a result, refugees facing real danger in their countries of origin could be refused protection in Canada.
Limits to rights of appeal:
Some newly-created legal categories of refugee claimants, including individuals from DCOs and DFNs,are barred from making an appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division. The Refugee Appeal Division is a new decision-making body whose purpose is to hear appeals from claimants whose claims have been denied, in order to review the case and correct mistakes. Those refugee claimants prevented from making such an appeal do still have the opportunity to apply to the Federal Court to review their cases, however the new Act permits them to be deported before their application is heard by the Court.
Limits on humanitarian & compassionate applications and pre-removal risk assessments:
Humanitarian and compassionate applications and pre-removal risk assessments are and have been vital safeguards to ensure that refugee claimants who were denied refugee protection will not experience undeserved or disproportionate hardship, and will not be placed at risk upon return to their country of origin.
The pre-removal risk assessment is designed to ensure that a person being removed from Canada is not being sent back to a country where he or she would be face persecution, torture, cruel and unusual treatment or death.
A humanitarian and compassionate application is a request by an individual for an exemption from the normal requirement to apply for permanent resident status from outside of Canada. A decision-maker considers whether the applicant would experience “unusual and undeserved or disproportionate hardship” if he or she were required to leave Canada and apply from abroad.
Under the new Act, refugee claimants who receive a negative decision from the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) become ineligible to make an application for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds for 12 months, or from making an application for a pre-removal risk assessment for 12 months.
For more information, see the following websites: