Evidence of meeting #38 for Citizenship and Immigration in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was refugees.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Delphine Nakache  Assistant Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, School of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa, As an Individual
  • James Bissett  As an Individual
  • Chantal Tie  Working Group Chair, Inland Protection, Canadian Council for Refugees
  • Loly Rico  Vice-President, Canadian Council for Refugees
  • Marc Sougavinski  Director General, Centre de santé et de services sociaux de la Montagne
  • Marian Shermarke  Clinical Advisor, Centre de santé et de services sociaux de la Montagne
  • Donald Galloway  Co-Chair, Legal Research Committee, Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers
  • Lesley Stalker  Member-at-large, Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

Thank you.

But I understand that the problem with Hungary, the issue we have, will not be resolved under Bill C-11. That is the very purpose for which we're here.

The government and I—which may come as some surprise to Ms. Tie—are actually interested in helping true refugees. I'm interested in getting more refugees here to Canada. That's why we increased the number by 2,500, which remains part of our strategy to control the numbers.

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

I'm sorry. That's your time.

Madame Groguhé.

May 3rd, 2012 / 10:45 a.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé Saint-Lambert, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

As I have only five minutes, I will proceed as follows. I will ask each group a question, and I don't care who takes the floor, as long as I obtain an answer.

I will begin.

Regarding the time frames set out in Bill C-31, in your note, you identify the issues associated with reducing those time frames. Could you describe those issues in more detail by relying on your experience with asylum seekers?

10:45 a.m.

Working Group Chair, Inland Protection, Canadian Council for Refugees

Chantal Tie

I think we can both answer that.

I've been practising immigration and refugee law for 33 years. I cannot imagine being able to prepare a case in 45 days. The first thing we do is obtain documentation to verify what the person is saying. It is not possible to obtain that in 45 days, even if I met the person the day they arrived, which is impossible. All of the legal aid societies have joined together in saying that the timelines proposed are impossible to meet. So people will not get counsel.

If some people think that preparing refugee claims is simple, they are dreaming. It is not simple: It takes a long time to establish trust with somebody and to actually find out what really happened.

10:45 a.m.

Vice-President, Canadian Council for Refugees

Loly Rico

One of the things we believe is that the timelines will affect the most vulnerable communities. That's why I'm inviting the committee to see Bill C-31 with a gender analysis. If we see it with that, we will see that the timelines are affecting women, as it doesn't have that gender analysis.

I can bring you the example of a woman who has been in a domestic violence situation. She comes with her husband, the abuser. All the interviews are with the abuser. Later on, she'll learn what her rights are here in Canada. With the timelines we have, she won't be able to go and explain her story and be protected, because she could even be deported back with the abuser.

The other thing is with the eligible community. Sometimes they come so traumatized that for them it is more difficult to express and say all that has happened to them. That's when we have the problem with the timelines.

10:45 a.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé Saint-Lambert, QC

I will now address the CSSS and PRAIDA representatives.

According to you, once the reasons for seeking asylum no longer apply, the loss of permanent residence status negates the importance of refugees taking root, as suggested in the Geneva Convention regarding naturalization. One of the witnesses pointed that out.

Could you quickly elaborate further on that? You have a minute and a half.

10:50 a.m.

Clinical Advisor, Centre de santé et de services sociaux de la Montagne

Marian Shermarke

The loss of permanent residency because of a change in circumstances in the country of origin is a major concern for us. We don't understand why someone who has lived their life and had children here should lose that residency. The measures added to this bill make no sense. We have a hard time understanding why someone who has been traumatized, who has settled here, someone who feels safe and contributes to the host society should lose their permanent residence status.

Thank you.

10:50 a.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé Saint-Lambert, QC

I am addressing the third group.

How are the Bill C-31 provisions on the detention of designated foreign nationals different from the detention provisions included in the current legislation? Why are those differences significant from the legal standpoint?

10:50 a.m.

Co-Chair, Legal Research Committee, Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers

Donald Galloway

Sorry, I may have missed something, but as I understand the question, you're asking me about the differences between the law now and the law that is being proposed.

I emphasize two things. One is the language of the Supreme Court: “prompt and independent review”. “Prompt”—2 days, 7 days, 30 days. “Independent”—a branch of the immigration division of the IRB. Proposed? A minimum of a year—in some cases—final determination of refugee claims, a process that is lengthy is problematic in that it doesn't lead to quick ends—

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

Thank you. Unfortunately, we all have to go to vote, so we're cutting short this meeting. I apologize for that, but those are the rules of this place.

On behalf of the committee, I want to thank all of you for coming today and making your presentations and participating with the committee. Thank you for your assistance.

Members of the committee, there is a bus waiting for us. Do not dawdle.

The meeting is adjourned.