Vol. 145, No. 22 — October 26, 2011
SOR/2011-222 October 6, 2011
IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION ACT
Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations
P.C. 2011-1162 October 6, 2011
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, pursuant to subsection 5(1) and sections 14 and 89 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (see footnote a), hereby makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.
REGULATIONS AMENDING THE IMMIGRATION AND
REFUGEE PROTECTION REGULATIONS
1. Paragraph 70(2)(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (see footnote 1) is replaced by the following:
- (c) the Convention refugees abroad class and the country of asylum class.
2. The heading “CONVENTION REFUGEES ABROAD AND HUMANITARIAN-PROTECTED PERSONS ABROAD” before section 138 of the Regulations is replaced by the following:
CONVENTION REFUGEES ABROAD, HUMANITARIAN-PROTECTED PERSONS ABROAD AND PROTECTED TEMPORARY RESIDENTS
3. The portion of the definition “urgent need of protection” in section 138 of the Regulations before paragraph (a) is replaced by the following:
“urgent need of protection”
« besoin urgent de protection »
“urgent need of protection” means, in respect of a member of the Convention refugee abroad or the country of asylum class, that their life, liberty or physical safety is under immediate threat and, if not protected, the person is likely to be
4. Subparagraph 139(1)(f)(ii) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:
- (ii) in the case of a member of the Convention refugee abroad class, financial assistance in the form of funds from a governmental resettlement assistance program is available in Canada for the foreign national and their family members included in the application for protection, or
5. Section 146 of the Regulations is replaced by the following:
Person in similar circumstances to those of a Convention refugee
146. (1) For the purposes of subsection 12(3) of the Act, a person in similar circumstances to those of a Convention refugee is a member of the country of asylum class.
Humanitarian-protected persons abroad
(2) The country of asylum class is prescribed as a humanitarian-protected persons abroad class of persons who may be issued permanent resident visas on the basis of the requirements of this Division.
6. Sections 148 and 149 of the Regulations are repealed.
7. Paragraph 295(2)(b) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:
- (b) a person who makes an application as a member of a humanitarian-protected persons abroad class and the family members included in the member’s application.
8. Paragraph 299(2)(c) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:
- (c) a person who is a member of the Convention refugees abroad class or a member of a humanitarian-protected persons abroad class, and their family members;
9. Paragraph 300(2)(c) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:
- (c) a person who is a member of the Convention refugees abroad class or a humanitarian-protected persons abroad class, and their family members;
10. Paragraph 303(2)(e) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:
- (e) a person who is a member of a humanitarian-protected persons abroad class, and the family members included in their application.
11. Paragraph 305(2)(d) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:
- (d) a person who is a member of the Convention refugees abroad class or a humanitarian-protected persons abroad class;
12. Schedule 2 to the Regulations is repealed.
COMING INTO FORCE
13. These Regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.
REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT
(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)
Resettlement is the process of bringing a refugee to Canada to live as a permanent resident. Globally, the need for resettlement increases each year. Canada’s resettlement program receives far more applications than the resettlement spaces available. To partly address this issue, the Government of Canada committed, as part of the measures to reform Canada’s refugee protection system through the Balanced Refugee Reform Act, to increase the number of resettled refugees by 2 500 persons. As a second step, the Government is also streamlining the resettlement program to focus on priority populations where Canada can work with partners, like the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), other resettlement countries and private sponsors of refugees. Geographically, the resettlement program will continue to operate globally, with significant resources devoted to refugees in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America.
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (hereafter referred to as the Regulations) describe three refugee classes which are used to resettle refugees to Canada from abroad. The three classes are the Convention refugee abroad class, the country of asylum class and the source country class.
Canada’s principal refugee resettlement class is the Convention refugees abroad class, which primarily relies on the UNHCR to identify and refer refugees for resettlement in Canada. The source country class is a complementary refugee class, which allows Canada to also resettle persons who are not under the protection mandate of the UNHCR. The UNHCR’s mandate to identify persons for resettlement extends only to Convention refugees, who must reside outside their country of origin. The source country class is for persons who are inside their country of origin.
To be eligible for the source country class, section 148 of the Regulations states that applicants must be seriously and personally affected by civil war or armed conflict, have been detained without charges, or punished for an act that in Canada would be considered a legitimate exercise of civil rights pertaining to political dissent or trade union activity, or have a fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. In addition, the applicant must live in a country that has been designated as a source country in Schedule 2 of the Regulations.
There are currently six countries designated in Schedule 2: Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador, Guatemala, Sierra Leone and Sudan. This list has not changed since 2002. Previously designated countries include Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Croatia, and Liberia. To be designated as a source country, section 149 of the Regulations states that the country must be a place where persons are in a refugee-like situation, applications can be processed without endangering the embassy staff or the applicant, and the intervention would be in line with Canada’s overall humanitarian strategy and the work of the UNHCR.
In 2009, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) conducted a review of the source country class to determine whether it continued to be an effective part of the resettlement program. The source country class was intended to be a flexible tool for humanitarian intervention, capable of responding to a variety of populations and situations. However, the review found that the class can only be used successfully in a narrow range of humanitarian situations in a small number of countries around the world.
Three key issues were identified that prevent the class from meeting its objective:
1. Many persons of concern to Parliamentarians and Canadians are not eligible for resettlement under the source country class because they do not live in a designated source country. Changing the schedule of designated source countries requires a regulatory amendment which makes the class impractical for responding in a timely way to humanitarian crises. The schedule has only changed four times since 1997, with the same six countries remaining listed for over 10 years (see Table 1). This suggests that the class lacks the flexibility originally intended.
Table 1: Designated source countries by year
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Sudan
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Sudan, Colombia, Cambodia, Liberia
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Sudan, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo
El Salvador, Guatemala, Sudan, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone
2. Under subsection 150(1) of the Regulations, all applications for resettlement must be accompanied by a referral from a referral organization (defined in section 138 as the UNHCR or another organization with which the Minister has entered into a memorandum of understanding under section 143) or by an undertaking from a private sponsor. There is one exception to this rule outlined in subsection 150(2), which states that
A foreign national may submit a permanent resident visa application without a referral or an undertaking if the foreign national resides in a geographic area that the Minister has determined under subsection (3) to be a geographic area in which circumstances justify the submission of permanent resident visa applications not accompanied by a referral or an undertaking.
Granting this exception is often referred to as granting direct access and subsection 150(3) lists the following factors which the Minister may use in making his determination to grant direct access:
- (a) advice from referral organizations with which the Minister has entered into a memorandum of understanding under section 143 that they are unable to make the number of referrals specified in their memorandum of understanding for the area;
- (b) the inability of referral organizations to refer persons in the area;
- (c) the resettlement needs in the area, after consultation with referral organizations that have substantial knowledge of the area; and
- (d) the relative importance of resettlement needs in the area within the context of resettlement needs globally.
Since there is no international organization like the UNHCR mandated to identify and refer for resettlement persons who are inside their own country, direct access was established for all source countries. Using direct access was not the original intent when the source country class was created. CIC had intended to use a referral organization. However, there were no organizations willing to refer source country class applicants without funding and no funding was available.
Direct access was granted in the six source countries to accommodate applications from source country class nationals. However, the provision is also being used by non-nationals residing in the source countries who would normally be required to have a referral or a private sponsor since Canada cannot restrict the application of direct access based on nationality. As a result, any foreign national living in a source country may use the direct access provision to apply for resettlement without a referral. This was not the intent when direct access was granted in these countries.
Further to this, with direct access any number of applicants can apply each year. In some countries, processing capacity has been overwhelmed. Between 2005 and 2009, the Canadian embassy in Colombia received on average approximately 4 700 applications annually, representing 13 250 persons. This is more than the upper range previously set for all resettled refugees in Canada’s annual immigration plan and represents over 90% of the increased range announced as part of the measures to reform Canada’s refugee protection system (the upper range was previously set at 12 000 persons and will be increased to 14 500 persons by 2013). The same problem was experienced in Bosnia. From 1998 to 2001, the embassy received approximately 6 236 applications representing 18 685 persons. This represented significantly more than the upper range set for all resettled refugees, which, at that time, was 11 300 persons. Canada has no secure, affordable alternative to direct access for applicants in their own countries.
3. Without referral organizations to work with potential applicants, in some source countries vulnerable persons of concern are unable to access the application or the mission. Some do not have access to regular mail, telephone or internet service. They may lack the skills required to read and fill out an application in English or French, or the ability to physically go to a visa office. In other cases, potential applicants may not even be aware that they are eligible for Canada’s resettlement program and so they do not apply.
These problems reflect the reality that Canada’s resettlement program is most effective when CIC works with partners like the UNHCR, other resettlement countries and private sponsors. By repealing the source country class, the resettlement program will be streamlined to focus on partnerships that can deliver protection to those who are most in need, within the fixed resources that have been provided for Canada’s resettlement program. Because resettlement levels are fixed under CIC’s annual levels plan, the resources dedicated to the Government Assisted Refugee (GAR) and Privately Sponsored Refugees (PSR) programs will remain unchanged.
CIC has two objectives in repealing the source country class:
(1) Responsible management: As part of the federal government’s responsibility to constantly monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of its policies and programs, the Regulations are periodically reviewed to verify that they are achieving their objectives. The repeal would allow CIC to manage application intake by eliminating the need to offer direct access in the designated source countries and would make it easier for CIC to allocate adequate resources to process resettlement applications.
(2) Working with partners: The Government would focus the resettlement program on priority refugee situations where Canada can work with partners like the UNHCR, private sponsors and other resettlement countries. As a discretionary measure, the Minister may also choose to offer admission to Canada to vulnerable persons who do not qualify for the refugee classes by using subsection 25(1), 25.1(1) or 25.2(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
The amendments would remove the source country class by repealing sections 148 and 149 and Schedule 2 from the Regulations, along with any other references in the Regulations to the source country class.
The source country class was intended to be a flexible tool for humanitarian intervention, capable of responding to a variety of populations and situations. However, it has only proven to be effective under certain conditions in particular countries. The number of applications submitted and the acceptance rates for the class have both varied significantly depending on the country and year in question. For example, in Croatia, over 2 100 applications were submitted while the country was designated, but in Cambodia and Liberia, no applications were submitted while the countries were designated. Since being designated, fewer than 100 applications have been submitted in both Sierra Leone and Sudan. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador and Guatemala, fewer than 375 applications have been submitted per country since being designated.
In most countries, because so few applications are received each year, acceptance rates vary significantly from year to year. In some countries, one acceptance or refusal can result in a 100% or 0% acceptance rate. In Colombia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the only two countries where several thousand applications are/were submitted annually, average acceptance rates are low at 13% and 23% respectively. In some years, acceptance rates fell as low as 4% in both countries.
Taken together, the low approval and application intake rates suggest the class has not been very effective or efficient. Without the assistance of a referral organization only a small number of applicants are able to apply in most countries, while in others so many ineligible persons are able to apply that the number of applications and expressions of interest becomes administratively burdensome, with negative impacts on other areas of visa processing. These problems are structural in nature and reflect the reality that it may not be possible to construct an efficient and flexible regulatory class for persons in their own countries. As such, the Government is proposing to repeal the class so that resources can be focused on populations where Canada can work with partners like the UNHCR, private sponsors and other resettlement countries.
Consultations with the UNHCR have suggested that repealing the class could benefit the organization and persons in need of humanitarian protection by making available more resettlement spaces for UNHCR-referred refugees. Improving CIC’s planning and resource allocation would also improve forecasting for the number of UNHCR referrals required to meet the levels established in the Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration. This would bring more predictability into UNHCR’s role as a referral organization and better enable CIC and UNHCR to work together to meet the increased resettlement levels committed to under the Balanced Refugee Reform Act.
Benefits and costs
Because resettlement levels are fixed under CIC’s annual levels plan, the resources dedicated to the GAR and PSR programs will remain unchanged. Funding for the source country class comes from the funding set aside for the Refugee Program in the Main Estimates and following a repeal, the money would remain within the Refugee Program.
Due to the fact that the administrative cost to issue a visa in the source country class is slightly higher than the cost to issue a visa in the Convention refugee and country of asylum classes, the proposed changes are estimated to result in savings of approximately $15,600 annually, which would be absorbed by CIC’s visa offices overseas to meet demand in other areas of visa processing.
Additional pressure may be put on the private sponsorship community and certain ethnic communities in Canada, in particular the Eritrean and Colombian communities. They may be asked to sponsor refugees who would have previously applied for resettlement through direct access and been eligible for government assistance. The cost to sponsor a single refugee is approximately $11,800. These communities may also face pressure to sponsor relatives abroad through the family class.
CIC has undertaken consultations in person and in writing with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), the Province of Quebec and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT).
In January 2011, the UNHCR indicated that it can refer enough applicants to fill all resettlement spaces that would be made available if the source country class is repealed. The proposed repeal of the class and the transfer of resettlement spaces to UNHCR-referred refugees would be consistent with UNHCR’s appeals for more resettlement spaces for Convention refugees.
In the past, the Province of Quebec has received a large number of source country class refugees from Colombia. Since 2009, the Province has been adapting its settlement and integration programs to accommodate refugees from other countries. The Province has agreed to work with CIC to identify other refugee populations that could also be resettled to Quebec. Further discussions in January 2011 confirmed this position.
In 2009 and 2010, the CCR was consulted about possible changes to the source country class. In the context of program improvement and redesign, they indicated that they believe the source country class is not benefitting those who need it most. They suggested expanding the program to a global one, while narrowing the eligibility criteria to limit the number of applications submitted. They expressed concern about the impact that repealing the class might have on Colombians in need of protection.
DFAIT has not identified any significant foreign policy considerations with the proposed regulatory change.
Following pre-publication of these amendments in the Canada Gazette, Part Ⅰ, on March 19, 2011, comments were received from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), the Government of Ontario, the Canadian Bar Association, the Barreau du Québec, Sponsorship Agreement Holder Representatives to the NGO-Government Committee on the PSR Program, the Mennonite Central Committee of Canada, the Refugee and Immigrant Advisory Council, the Christie Refugee Welcome Centre, and two private citizens.
Comments have centred mainly on revising the class to address current inefficiencies rather than repealing it. Some comments suggest the inefficiencies could be addressed by allowing only applications referred by private sponsors and referral organizations. Others have suggested opening up the class globally rather than relying on a restricted list. It was also suggested that the eligibility criteria could be narrowed to focus only on threatened human rights activists and persons lawfully residing in a source country for more than 12 months. Comments were also received suggesting the class should be made to work on an urgent basis and all application processed in a matter of days or weeks. Some comments have noted that the regulatory change to repeal the class appears to counteract recent measures taken by the Canadian government to address issues with human smuggling. Comments have also requested that, should the repeal take place, alternative arrangements are made for those who would have otherwise had access to the class. CIC has responded to the stakeholders’ comments below.
The class should be reformed instead of repealed.
Many stakeholders have suggested that the class be reformed instead of repealed. Their suggestions for reforms were evaluated and found to be unfeasible. CIC did consider a number of options to reform the class and only proposed its repeal after determining that none of the reforms would address the challenges identified in the review of the class.
Make the class universal/global.
Canada’s resettlement program receives far more applications than the resettlement spaces available. If the source country class were made universal and applicants could apply from anywhere in the world, the number of applications received would far exceed the resources available to process them. This would negatively impact Canada’s ability to focus its resettlement spaces on UNHCR-referred Convention refugees who have been forced to flee their country of origin to escape persecution.
A universal or global class would also compel Canada to consider applications from persons residing under oppressive regimes that will not permit their resettlement to Canada. In some countries, attempting to resettle nationals could have negative consequences for the resettlement of Convention refugees because Canada cannot operate the resettlement program without the cooperation of host governments. Foreign governments may refuse to allow Canadian visa officers to enter the country, they may refuse to grant access to applicants, or they may refuse to issue exit permits to applicants who are issued a visa. While CIC appreciates stakeholders’ concern that the source country class be made available to persons regardless of where they are located, CIC is unable to do this without jeopardizing other elements of Canada’s resettlement program.
It was also suggested that if the class were made universal or global, restricting eligibility to nationals from visa-required countries would potentially reduce the number of applications received from ineligible persons. Given that CIC does not receive a substantial number of resettlement applications from persons residing in visa-exempt countries, it is unlikely that this would limit the number of applications to the extent necessary that a universal or global class would be a feasible option. A universal or global class would still jeopardize other elements of the resettlement program for the reasons stated above.
The list of countries designated for a temporary stay of removals under section 230 of the Regulations could be used to identify potential source countries.
In the majority of countries designated for a temporary suspension of removals, CIC cannot operate the resettlement program for security reasons or because the host government would not agree to cooperate with Canada in allowing their nationals to be resettled. This recommendation is also inconsistent with the comments received from all other stakeholders recommending that the list of designated countries be eliminated in favour of a global or universal class.
Applicants should be required to apply to the visa office responsible for the country of nationality or habitual residence unless they arrived with a lawful status of 12 months or more.
Section 150 of the current Regulations does require applicants to apply to the visa office serving their area of residence. In the case of source country class applicants, they must be residing in their country of nationality or habitual residence and must apply to the visa office serving that country.
The eligibility criteria of the class should be narrowed to focus on threatened human rights activists.
Protecting and promoting human rights abroad is a fundamental pillar of Canadian foreign policy. An important part of promoting human rights abroad is ensuring that local proponents of human rights, including human rights activists, can carry out their work in safety within their own countries. Resettling human rights activists as a defining program goal does little to advance this objective. Furthermore, given the often high profile nature of these types of cases, it is more prudent for CIC to use low-key ad hoc mechanisms, such as the discretionary provisions in subsections 25(1) and 25.1(1) to remove human rights activists from their country where immediate threats to their lives have been made.
Make the class more responsive to applicants in Africa.
CIC is proposing the repeal of the source country class in part because no feasible options for making it effective in Africa have been identified. Approximately 30% of the refugees resettled to Canada in 2011 will be resettled from visa offices in Africa, suggesting that where the source country class has failed other classes are working well.
Retain the class and limit it to privately sponsored refugees.
CIC did consider maintaining the class and limiting it to privately sponsored refugees, but determined that this would not be an effective solution to the challenges identified. On average, sponsors are engaged in less than 7% of the applications CIC receives for the source country class. Additionally, the Private Sponsorship of Refugees program is already over-subscribed with large inventories and long wait times at some missions. Placing an additional demand on the program by making the source country class a private sponsorship only class would place unnecessary pressure on an already overburdened program. The Government already partners with private sponsors of refugees in the Convention refugee abroad class, as well as the country of asylum class. The privately sponsored refugee levels are being raised by 2 000 persons per year by 2013 to reflect the Government’s increased cooperation with sponsors.
Make the class work on an urgent basis by resettling applicants within a matter of weeks or days, not months.
Processing applicants on an urgent basis is extremely resource-intensive and only a small number of persons (up to 100) can be processed on this basis per year. Urgent processing procedures are restricted to cases in which the applicant is in immediate danger of being killed, subjected to violence, torture, sexual assault, arbitrary imprisonment or refoulement. If all source country class applicants were processed on an urgent basis, regardless of the risks they face, CIC would no longer have the resources to maintain resettlement at its current level.
Make use of civil society organizations to identify members of the class. The government has had successful relationships in the past for this purpose and should do so again.
The informal referral system using civil society organizations is no longer used because of fraud and security issues. Some organizations experienced fraud by applicants and attempts were made by illegally armed groups to infiltrate others. Members of these groups hoped to avoid prosecution and/or detention for war crimes and other criminal acts by gaining access to the resettlement program through these organizations. Under the urgent protection program, some organizations referred persons who were not in urgent need of protection, simply to advance those cases in the processing queue. Moreover, some organizations with whom CIC cooperated in finding appropriate source country class applicants came under threat due to these activities. Many organizations are willing to refer cases; however, it is not clear to CIC that they are able to do so without compromising their security and the integrity of CIC’s programs.
Applicants should be referred by trusted international organizations that are able to appropriately identify persons.
Referral organizations can quickly become the target for thousands of requests for assistance. None of the international organizations recommended by stakeholders are able to take on the responsibility of acting as a referral organization globally for source country class applicants without significant funding or without compromising their ability to meet their existing mandates. In the case of the UNHCR, the organization does not have the mandate to identify and refer for resettlement persons who are in their own country. In countries where the UNHCR works with internally displaced persons they are limited to providing specific types of assistance which do not include referrals for resettlement. In some cases, referring internally displaced persons for resettlement could jeopardize their relationship with the host government and reduce physical access to persons in need of humanitarian assistance.
Canada is retreating from its humanitarian traditions.
Canada has increased the number of people who will be protected by resettlement to Canada. By 2013, Canada will be resettling between 11 200 and 14 500 persons annually, or 1 out of every 9 refugees resettled globally. Canada is a leader in refugee resettlement and will continue to be. The source country class is being eliminated because it was found to be an ineffective and inefficient protection tool.
The class does not work because CIC has failed to update the list of designated source countries.
The review of the class conducted in 2009 examined the issue of why the list of countries has not been updated. The conclusion reached is that there are very few countries in which CIC can operate this class. To be eligible for designation as a source country, a country’s residents must be in a refugee-like situation as a result of armed conflict, civil war, or fundamental violations of human rights. At the same time, the country must be safe enough for CIC staff to work and make routine visits without endangering themselves, the applicant or other embassy staff. Given the nature of conflict and humanitarian situations, very few countries can simultaneously satisfy these two criteria. Additionally, the program can only operate successfully in countries where the government is willing to allow Canadian officers to enter, access applicants, and permit successful applicants to leave. In many places around the world where there are situations of concern to Canadians this is not possible.
People at risk will be forced to cross the border and rely on human smugglers.
CIC does not have any evidence to suggest that the source country class has prevented the outflow of refugees or that its repeal will increase outflows. In Colombia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, refugees cross international borders despite the existence of the source country class. CIC also does not have evidence to link the source country class to reductions in people smuggling.
Persons who are forced to flee over a border often live in precarious situations.
While this is true, it can be argued that internally displaced persons may also live in precarious situations. The proposed repeal is to address basic questions of effectiveness and inefficiency in the source country class.
Individuals at risk in their own country will no longer have access to resettlement.
The elimination of the source country class does not mean that immigration for humanitarian purposes will no longer be offered to persons who are in their own country. Other tools will be employed to offer admission to Canada for individuals in refugee-like situations on a case-by-case basis. The enhanced flexibility of these tools will allow Canada to focus more of its efforts on applicants who are in urgent need of protection.
CIC already uses these mechanisms regularly to quietly remove persons from within their own country who are in urgent need of protection, and may be killed, subjected to violence, torture, sexual assault or arbitrary imprisonment. These persons are often referred to Canada by foreign governments who are unable to provide protection and by trusted international partners, working with the United Nations. Among those referred are human rights activists, women at risk, union leaders and persons who are severely persecuted based on their sexual orientation, religion or ethnicity. These are exceptional cases which CIC considers on a case-by-case basis.
The need for a flexible tool for humanitarian interventions still exists.
The discretionary authority of subsections 25(1), 25.1(1) and 25.2(1) is the most flexible tool available for addressing the diverse situations of persons in need of humanitarian assistance around the world. This includes natural disasters, international crises, or specific instances of religious or other forms of persecution. Using these tools, Canada can respond on a case-by-case basis to individuals and groups in need of protection, regardless of where they are located. This allows CIC to respond to the unique needs of different populations, especially in regards to settlement support mechanisms which are of particular concern to provincial governments.
Persons accepted under section 25 of the Act do not benefit from the legal and program benefits available to resettled refugees including transportation loans, specialized resettlement services, revenue support, and fee exemptions.
Transportation loans, start-up loans, and loans to help defray the Right of Permanent Residence fee are available to persons who are admitted using subsection 25(1), 25.1(1) or 25.2(1). This is provided for in paragraph 289(a) of the Regulations. Specialized resettlement services through the Resettlement Assistance Program are also available for persons admitted using subsection 25(1), 25.1(1) or 25.2(1), if they are found to be in urgent need of protection and would meet the Convention refugee definition if not for the fact that they were unable to leave their country of origin. Although fee exemptions do not automatically apply for persons admitted using subsection 25.1(1) or subsection 25.2(1), application fees can be waived where circumstances warrant. In some cases, the Government may also waive the Right of Permanent Residence fee.
Colombians are still in need of protection.
Canada continues to provide protection to Colombians and is increasing the resettlement of Colombian refugees identified by the UNHCR in Ecuador, specifically vulnerable women and children.
Arrangements should be made to ensure that those who applied before the repeal of the class are still eligible for resettlement once it comes into force.
Applicants who applied before the repeal of the class may make a request for humanitarian and compassionate consideration under section 25.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. CIC will consider these requests on a case-by-case basis.
Implementation, enforcement and service standards
The following administrative transitional measures will be used for applications already received by CIC prior to the coming into force of the repeal of the Regulations:
— Applications that have been approved in principle at the time of the repeal will be processed to completion under the source country class. Applicants who meet all the relevant criteria will be issued a visa.
— Applications that have not been approved in principle will be assessed under the remaining refugee resettlement classes. Applicants who meet all the relevant criteria will be issued a visa.
Unsuccessful applicants who feel they are in need of international protection will be counselled to contact the UNHCR.
A Web notice will be posted on CIC’s Web site to notify potential applicants that the source country class has been repealed.
Refugee Affairs Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
365 Laurier Avenue W
S.C. 2001, c. 27