Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act

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Bill C-31
House of Commons of Canada
CitationBill C-31
Enacted byHouse of Commons of Canada
Enacted bySenate of Canada
Royal assentJune 28, 2012
Legislative history
Bill introduced in the House of Commons of CanadaBill C-31
Introduced byMP Jason Kenney
First readingFebruary 16, 2012[1]
Second readingMarch 23, 2012[1]
Third readingJune 11, 2012[1]
Conference committee bill passedMay 14, 2012[1]
Bill introduced in the Senate of CanadaBill C-31
First readingJune 11, 2012
Second readingJune 13, 2012
Third readingJune 27, 2012
Conference committee bill passedJune 21, 2012
Status: Current legislation

Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act, or Bill C-31, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Balanced Refugee Reform Act, the Marine Transportation Security Act and the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Act, is an act of the 41st Canadian Parliament, sponsored by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney. It was introduced on 16 February 2012 and received Royal Assent on 28 June 2012.[1]

The following changes were made by the bill:

  • the immigration minister would have the power to choose which countries are safe without a committee including human rights experts
  • rejected refugee claimants from countries on the safe country list would no longer be able to appeal the decision to the Immigration and Refugee Board
  • claimants from countries on the safe country list would have to wait a year before applying for compassionate and humanitarian considerations to become permanent residents and could be deported in the meanwhile
  • claimants from countries on the safe country list would be able to ask for a judicial review by the Federal Court, but could be deported before the court makes a decision
  • biometric identification would be implemented for people that apply for visas to visit Canada

Jason Kenney claimed that the bill is necessary to protect the refugee system, and that it would address the number of "bogus refugees" and claimants from European Union democracies.[2]


Don Davies criticized the bill, saying that it broke the compromise previously reached within the government and that it "puts too much power in the hands of the minister".[2]

Amnesty International, the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and the Canadian Council for Refugees called for the withdrawal of the bill, claiming that it has provisions that would "arbitrarily detain groups of refugees; keep parents, children and spouses apart for years; undermine the fairness of the refugee claim and protection process; introduce the use of biometrics; and authorize the stripping of permanent residence from refugees", and "gives Ministers broad, unfettered and unprecedented powers".[3]

Human Rights Watch also criticized the bill, saying that "[s]ubjecting 16- and 17-year-old children to mandatory, unreviewable detention backtracks on Canada’s commitments to children", and that "[w]e believe it is impossible to make a blanket determination that any country is safe for everyone and would never produce a refugee".[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "House Government Bill C-31". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  2. ^ a b Elliott, Louise; Payton, Laura (15 February 2012). "Refugee reforms include fingerprints, no appeals for some". CBC News. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  3. ^ "Media Advisory: Human Rights Groups Protest Draconian Refugee Bill". Canadian Civil Liberties Association. 15 March 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  4. ^ "Canada: Vote No on Migrant Detention Bill". Human Rights Watch. 16 March 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2012.