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More Proposed Changes to Refugee Claims

Published: Apr 16, 2019
To reduce the number of people who are making refugee claims, the federal government has proposed two changes. These changes are not yet law and may possibly not be enacted or if enacted, may come into force in a different form.

First: Canada is negotiating with the United States of America to change the Safe Third Country Agreement so that all people who arrive at the Canada/US border will be barred from crossing into Canada unless the person is a minor or have certain close relatives in Canada. Will this include people who were in the United States of America and only made their refugee claims sometime after entering Canada?

Second: anyone who made a refugee claim on or after April 8, 2018 will be barred from having their claim decided in a refugee hearing if they had previously made a refugee-type claim to a country with which Canada has an information sharing agreement (at present the United Kingdom, United States of America, New Zealand, and Australia). These people may only file a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment with very limited procedural rights or other safeguards (Bill C-97).

Further, the Ontario government slashed funding to the provincial government program that provides free legal assistance for some refugee claimants. The Province of Ontario has cut all of its funding for refugees and immigrants. Legal Aid Ontario announced April 15, 2019 that it will no longer pay for any refugee or immigration applications, appeals, or hearings except for the preparation (in some cases) of initial refugee claim forms.

You often only have one chance to succeed when making an immigration application. We believe at Eisenberg & Young LLP that it is still possible to successfully apply for citizenship, temporary worker and permanent resident status in Canada. We continue to strongly recommend, given the complexity of the present and ever-changing immigration system, that you do not apply without first obtaining professional help.

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