Canada: new law comes into effect today
A new immigration and refugee law comes into effect today, June 28, in Canada. UNHCR welcomes that the law - known as the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act - addresses refugee protection as a separate issue from immigration. We also welcome the new procedure instituted by the law in which all protection needs will be looked at in each case in a consolidated process - including possible protection under the Refugee Convention, the Convention Against Torture and provisions against return to cruel and unusual treatment or punishment. This should enable Canada to assess all protection needs in an efficient manner, without requiring distinct applications and separate determination processes for each option that may be relevant for a particular individual.
UNHCR regrets, however, that the proposed Refugee Appeal Division, which originally was to be implemented under the law, has been put on hold. UNHCR has long urged Canada to introduce a review process - which is a vital part of determining refugee status - in its asylum procedure. We hope that the Refugee Appeal Division will be implemented in the near future. Canada is one of just a few industrialised countries that do not have an appeal on the merits in their refugee determination systems.