On 20 June, people around the world celebrate World Refugee Day. It commemorates the strength and resilience of refugees around the world, as well as the important contributions they make in their new communities. It is also a time to reflect on the 24.4 million refugees and 3.1 million refugee protection claimants globally.
Here in Canada, there are a number of recent developments that are threatening the rights of refugee claimants, and it is important for provincial and federal governments to know that these changes will not go unnoticed. The omnibus Bill C-97 threatens to create a two-tier system of refugee status determination by removing access of some refugee claimants to the independent Immigration and Refugee Board. In Ontario, it appears almost certain that legal aid will be practically eliminated for refugee protection claimants in that province, despite the fact that people depend on such services to navigate the complex legal system.
When it comes to refugee rights, there are many things you can do to demonstrate your solidarity with refugees. To get you started, here are some ideas: