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CBA urges government not to pass amendments to Bill C-50

CBA urges government not to pass amendments to Bill C-50
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For Immediate Release
May 12, 2008

OTTAWA The Canadian Bar Association is urging Parliament to remove and not pass amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act contained in Bill C-50, the Budget Implementation Act, 2008.

“The Bill represents a major step backwards in the evolution of Canadian immigration law, by returning to a time when visas were given out on a discretionary basis, without sufficient objective criteria,” says Stephen Green of Toronto, executive member of the CBA’s National Citizenship and Immigration Law Section. 

While the CBA agrees that the current backlog of immigration applications and the need for labour in some occupations are urgent, the measures in Bill C-50 are not necessary to address these problems.  The government already has the authority to send out teams to reduce the backlog, to establish processing priorities, and to streamline processing for temporary foreign workers to address immediate labour market needs.

“In other words, the amendments are not necessary to meet Canada’s immigration goals,” says Stephen Green.

The CBA is also concerned that the amendments could lead to an erosion of the rule of law – a principle whereby everyone, including governments, are subject to the law, and the law itself must be fair and free from the influence of arbitrary power. 

“Bill C-50 essentially places legislative power in the hands of the Minister, without Parliamentary oversight or stakeholder input,” says Stephen Green. “This lack of transparency and Parliamentary oversight risks eroding the rule of law.”

The CBA submission to the Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration is available on the CBA website.

Stephen Green will appear before the Commons Committee on Monday, May 12, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. in Room 269, West Block.

The Canadian Bar Association is dedicated to improvement in the law and the administration of justice. Some 37,000 lawyers, law teachers, and law students from across Canada are members.

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CONTACT:  Hannah Bernstein, Canadian Bar Association, Tel: (613) 237-2925, ext. 146; E-mail: hannahb@cba.org.

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