CCRs 10 areas of concern about proposed changes to the IRPA

The Canadian Council for Refugees has developed a useful fact sheet that outlines “Ten reasons to be concerned about proposed amendments to Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) in Bill C-50″.

Excerpts from the fact sheet:

1. Arbitrary power. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration can introduce “instructions” without Parliamentary oversight..Having the rules for who gets in made and changed by ministerial fiat … lacks transparency and makes the immigration selection process vulnerable to inappropriate political pressures.

2. Applicants’ legal rights eliminated. The proposed amendment in IRPA s. 11 from ‘the visa shall be issued’ to ‘the visa may be issued’ (means) the applicant will no longer have the same legal basis to demand that the processing be finalized in a timely manner.

3. Overseas humanitarian and compassionate applications. The amendments eliminate the right to have an overseas application for humanitarian and compassionate consideration examined. This includes … family reunification.

4. Intentions are not law. The government has made a number of statements about how they intend or don’t intend to use the new powers… Expressions of current intention are no protection against future uses of the powers.

5. The amendments do not belong in the budget bill. IRPA amendments should (be) dealt with through separate legislation, studied by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration and debated.

6. Lack of explanatory information. The government has failed to provide adequate information.

7. Failure to produce draft instructions. … draft instructions have not been made public.

8. Lack of consultation. The proposed amendments were introduced without the normal prior consultation with stakeholders.

9. There are other ways of addressing the backlog. … the proposed amendments will not … resolve the existing backlog, since they only affect applications made after 27 February 2008.

10. The immigration program needs to value immigrants. Canada needs to consider immigrants as full participants in society, not simply as disposable units to fill currently available jobs.