Bill C-31 and Designated Country of Origin: Necessary or Oppressive Legislation?

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Bill C-31: A Paradigm Shift

Historically, Canada has held a world renowned reputation as a nation with a magnanimous humanitarian approach to providing asylum to those individuals subjected to marginalization and persecution in their homeland – regardless of their nation of origin (Ismaili, 2011, p.89 & 92). Indeed, providing sanctuary to refugees, who would otherwise experience significant hardship ranging from blatant discrimination and racism to torture and genocide, has very much become an institutionalized aspect of Canadian society. However, recent changes to Canada’s immigration policy delineated in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and in Bill C-31: An Act to Protect Canada’s Immigration System may have perhaps put this
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The rationale for designating a country as “safe” is largely predicated on historical respect for human rights and whether a nation contains an independent judiciary (“Making Canada’s Asylum,” 2012). Consequently, Bill C-31 contends that certain countries do not generally pose a threat to the safety and security of refugee claimants when this aforementioned criterion is met.

It is hoped that this legislation will create a more efficient immigration process with unfounded DCO refugee claimants returned to their “safe” home country in a more systematic and expedited manner (Designated Countries of Origin, 2013). In addition, it has long been suggested that a more restrictive immigration policy would vastly reduce the economic costs associated with caring for the thousands of refugees residing in Canada under false pretenses (Jiwani, 2011, p.49). Indeed, a major benefit emanating from Bill C-31 is the estimated savings of $1.6 billion in social assistance and education capital (“Making Canada’s Asylum,” 2012). Further money would also be saved on the costs associated with reviewing false refugee claims and on law enforcement expenses associated with the removal of said persons from Canada (Designated Countries of Origin, 2013).

Some have even gone so far as to argue that the dramatic increase in refugees from Third World

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