The Canadian government has started a pilot project that it hopes will help provide incentive for failed refugee claimants to leave the country.
The project is based on similar initiatives in Europe, and involves offering a resettlement package worth up to $2,000 if a failed refugee applicant agrees to leave Canada voluntarily. The program began this month and is currently only operating in and around the city of Toronto.
However, claimants are only legible to receive the money if they agree not to appeal their case in Federal Court. This stipulation has some immigrant advocates questioning the ethical implications behind such a project.
“It essentially amounts to a bribe to give up rights to have your risks assessed,” says one Toronto lawyer. “There is a certain lack of respect for the process of the Federal Court. … To essentially bribe someone not to [appeal] is to me disturbing.”
Officials with the Canadian Border Services Agency have not addressed such concerns directly, but say that already people have expressed interest in the program. They say that in the long term, the program will save taxpayers’ money, as the failed claimants will not be collecting social assistance and the cost to remove someone forcefully can be nearly $15,000.
Applicants who do wish to appeal their cases will still receive assistance, only a smaller amount. The resettlement assistant program is administered by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the funds go toward education and vocational programs.
Source: Globe and Mail