Last Updated on January 24, 2019
Immigration Minister Chris Alexander is appealing a Federal Court decision that rejects the manner in which the Canadian government’s new Refugee Appeal Division evaluates refugee claims.
In August, a judge ruled that the division of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) has been using too narrow a scope to conduct its work.
In a case involving three failed refugee claimants from Kosovo, Judge Michael Phelan ruled the appeal division has been checking only the reasonableness of decisions by the board to declare whether individuals are refugees — the equivalent of a judicial review. Phelan said the division instead should exercise its full powers as an appeal body to reconsider the facts of a case and substitute a new decision if it disagrees with the appeal division.
Now the federal government is opposing that broadening of the appeal division’s role. The Federal Court certified the government’s appeal last month. A spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada said in an email Friday the government’s appeal is intended to seek clarification on the court ruling, “specifically on the scope of the appeal function of the Refugee Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.”
Critics say the government’s reaction to the ruling is predictable. It’s the second time the government has launched an appeal on a refugee matter in recent weeks. In October, the government also appealed a ruling by Federal Court Judge Anne Mactavish, who found cuts to refugee health care were “cruel and unusual” treatment, and unconstitutional.
Refugee scholar Sharry Aiken of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., said she expects the government to try to take the question of the scope of the refugee appeal process to the Supreme Court if necessary.
The refugee appeal division was promised but never created and when it finally was created in 2012, the government placed several restrictions on who can launch an appeal.
Source: CBC News