OTTAWA, May 30, 2013 /CNW/ - The Minister of Citizenship, Immigration
and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, announced today that the list of
Designated Countries of Origin (DCOs) is expanding to include Chile and
With these designations, effective May 31, 2013, 37 countries now appear
on the designated countries list.
As part of the improvements to Canada's new asylum system that came into
effect on December 15, 2012, the Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act included the authority to designate countries of origin. DCOs are
democratic countries that offer state protection, have active human
rights and civil society organizations, and do not normally produce
"Canada's new asylum system is providing protection to genuine refugees
more quickly, while removing unfounded claimants from the country
faster," said Minister Kenney. "The ability to designate countries is a
key part of the new system, which has proven to be successful as claims
from designated countries of origin have decreased by 91 percent when
compared to the same time period over the last six years."
Under the new asylum system, all eligible claimants from designated
countries continue to receive a full and fair hearing on the individual
merits of their claims at the independent, quasi-judicial Immigration
and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) within 30-45 days. Claimants from
non-designated countries receive a hearing within 60 days. Failed
claimants from designated countries may still appeal to the Federal
Court to review a negative decision; however, they do not have access
to the newly-created Refugee Appeal Division at the IRB.
To be considered for designation, a country must meet objective criteria
related to the number of finalized asylum claims that Canada receives
from that country. For countries with 30 or more claims in any
consecutive 12-month period during the three years preceding
designation, quantitative criteria are used. At least 60 percent of
claimants from the country must have withdrawn and abandoned their own
claims, or at least 75 percent of claims from a country must have been
withdrawn, abandoned or rejected by the IRB.
In the case of countries with low numbers of asylum claims (namely, no
consecutive 12-month period with 30 or more finalized claims during the
three years prior to designation), objective qualitative criteria are
used, including the existence of an independent judicial system,
recognition of basic democratic rights and freedoms, and the existence
of civil society organizations. A country must meet these criteria to
be considered for designation.
Many developed democracies use a similar authority to accelerate asylum
procedures for the nationals of countries not normally known to produce
refugees. These states include the United Kingdom, Ireland, France,
Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium and Finland,
among others. Most EU states also have accelerated procedures for the
nationals of other member states.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, has
recognized that "there are indeed Safe Countries of Origin and there
are indeed countries in which there is a presumption that refugee
claims will probably be not as strong as in other countries." He has
also recognized the legitimacy of providing expedited processing for
asylum claimants from those generally safe countries.
The Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act is expected to save provinces and territories at least $2 billion over
five years in social assistance and education costs.
For more information on DCOs, please visit the following:
* Making Canada's Asylum System Faster and Fairer
* Overview of Canada's Refugee Programs
* Designated Countries of Origin
* Summary of Changes to Canada's Asylum System
* Processing of Asylum Claims
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Photos of Minister Kenney available at: www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/photos/high-res/index.asp.
Building a stronger Canada: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)
strengthens Canada's economic, social and cultural prosperity, helping
ensure Canadian safety and security while managing one of the largest
and most generous immigration programs in the world.
SOURCE: Citizenship and Immigration Canada
For further information:
For further information (media only), please contact:
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Citizenship and Immigration Canada