Canadian law firms like MyDefence.ca occasionally have to deal with legal matters regarding refugees, which is why the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers was formed.
They’ve recently spoken out against the Canada Border Services Agency resuming the removal of foreign nationals considered inadmissible, calling the decision unsound and detrimental to public health. They sent a letter to the CBSA on December 2, 2020, which also asked for the return of the prior policy until Canada can control the COVID-19 pandemic better and public health authorities consider it safe to resume international travel.
The prior policy of the Agency, which the CARL asked for, was implemented back in March 2020, which restricted removals to particularly severe inadmissibilities, or any inadmissibilities due to criminality and organized criminality, human rights violations, or security, as per s. 34 – s. 37 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, SC 2001, c 27, which was noted by the law firms like MyDefence.ca as well as the Association.
The Association says that this particular policy is preferable since it strikes a good balance between the protection of Canadians via removals for severe indamissbilities and the protection of foreigners via the deferral of other removals. The timing of the decision to resume the removal of inadmissible foreign nationals due to the fact that Canada was being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic at that time.
Association President Maureen Silcoff stated that it worries and boggles them as to why the CBSA would choose these times, of all times, to return to normal operations with removals. They added that the Agency hasn’t put forward any material that would properly explain or justify the change in policy, with the reasons that they put forward, according to the Association, were not grounded in evidence.
With the PM and Global Affairs Canada putting out recommendations against international travel, which they state is still unsafe for Canadians and non-Canadians alike, the Association notes how dangerous it is for the policy to require taking the risk of international travel and the like. They state that it is dangerous for deportees, especially for those of advanced age or who have any pre-existing conditions.