Refugee council calling for fairer processes

Loly Rico
Loly Rico

The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) is calling for further changes to provide equal access to citizenship and fair process to the Citizenship Act – Bill C-6.
“We need to bring down barriers to citizenship, especially for already disadvantaged groups such as refugees, the elderly and women,” said Loly Rico, CCR president.
“In line with Canada’s international obligations, we encourage the government to craft a new citizenship regime to which all applicants will have equal access without discrimination.”
The CCR is calling on Parliament to amend the bill, adding that while Bill C-6 contains many good measures to strengthen citizenship, other changes are also needed to remove barriers and end second-class citizenship.
It has suggested the bill be amended to create a right to apply for citizenship for youth under 18 who do not have a parent or legal guardian in Canada; create a system to exempt people from citizenship fees if they can’t afford them and provide better accommodation for applicants with disabilities.
It further states that the amendments should also aim to prevent long wait times by requiring the government to process applications within a reasonable time; stop the use of citizenship applications to launch a process to strip status from former refugees (through cessation) and provide better procedural rights for loss of citizenship based on fraud or misrepresentation.
“Restore Canadian citizenship to second generation-born abroad to Canadian citizens. In the alternative, at least give citizenship for those who would be otherwise be stateless,” the CCR states.
Bill C-6 mostly reverses changes made under the previous Bill C-24, which took effect in 2015. The CCR said it welcomes the changes that will give refugees and other newcomers earlier access to citizenship, which will lead to better integration.
Bill C-6 also rightly re-affirms the equality of all citizens by eliminating provisions allowing for dual citizens to lose their citizenship in cases of “treason” or “terrorism” and requiring applicants for citizen to have “intent to reside in Canada”, added the CCR.