Social Policy 2 Proposal
Analysis Of The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act In Canada
My analysis of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act will be analyzed through two lenses the Social Worker's Lens and the Inclusion Lens. I am studying to be a social service worker currently and as a social service worker and as well in addition to looking through the lens of a social worker the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act does not reflect dignity, respect, or equality for individuals that have migrated to Canada. Through my research of the Act I have found that it does not meet the needs of the target population.
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is an extremely selective legislation for an act that is in place to govern the matters concerning immigration and refugee protection in Canada. The Federal government is responsible for this Act. Individuals that are fleeing their country due to political violence whom are in fear of their life as well as individuals seeking to live in a more prosperous and resourceful country such as Canada, are selected based on three criteria. The first criteria is based upon how an individual can contribute to the country economically, the second is based on the country's obligation to portray humanitarianism by protecting those who are in danger and in need of protection, and the third criteria is to promote trade, commerce, cultural and economic health by admitting visitors, students, and temporary workers.
Looking at this criteria through the lens of a social worker these criteria does not promote respect or integrity for immigrants that are applying for protection or status in the country. If an individual who is applying for refugee status in Canada does not meet one or any of the criteria they could be denied an opportunity to live where they would not have to fear for their safety or remain in a country where there is less advantages to living a free life. Why I say that this criteria for eligibility to be granted access into Canada is not conducive to a social workers lens is because of the fact that not everyone applying for status in Canada has access to an acceptable amount of finances, nor obtains sufficient education to apply for status on these grounds.. The above mentioned criteria reflects elements of exclusiveness exercised when selecting who has the right to protection and safety in Canada. As a result the fact that an individual applying for protection in Canada from a low financial background or an individual who's education level does not meet standards will not have the same access to consideration for entry into Canada as an individual who meets the criteria of the selection process. Safety according to psychologist Abraham Maslow is a basic human need which is universal however the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act determines an individual's safety based on these criteria and does not incorporate humanitarianism.
Using an Inclusive lens to view and analyze the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act it shows how the Act lacks an inclusive approach in various ways. Bill C-31 reflects a great deal of how much an inclusive approach was not utilized when this legislation was put into place. The fact that it only took a three member panel to write a report containing 172 recommendations speaks volumes as to how much an inclusive approach was not a consideration when the Act was put into place. Despite the fact that based on the 1996 Canadian census which revealed that nearly five millions Canadians were not born Canadians and the fact that it was found that immigration is a factor that will keep the Canadian economy growing, permanent residents have no inclusion in any decision making that affects their lives in any way. I placed a call to Immigration Canada to confirm that permanent residents have no rights to vote no matter how long they have been in the country. Permanent residents are permitted to work and inevitably pay taxes in the country yet are denied inclusion in decisions such as voting for those who will have an impact on their lives. Permanent residents contribute to the economy when they pay their taxes just as Canadian citizens make contribution however are denied participation in any decision making such as voting for whom they would like to be appointed to govern their lives. An element in the inclusive lens is affirmation which entails systemic decision making voting falls under the category of making decisions and reverting back to the elements of exclusion permanent residents are denied their human rights with such a restrictive policy such as not having rights to vote in place Looking at this factor through the lens of a social worker its clear to see how this does not enhance equality or respect for permanent residents.
Another factor that needs attention is the policy in place for individuals who sponsor their families these individuals are to ensure that whom ever they sponsor must not seek financial assistance from the government when in some cases unexpected loss of employment can occur especially in the time that we are living in. Stipulating that whom ever an individual sponsors does not give this target population access to resources such as Ontario works and in some cases disability that are accessible to Canadian citizens at any time. This adds to the inequality between this population compared to Canadian citizens.
In the description of the elements of an inclusive lens of those elements are the affirmation of human rights . In the Canadian Bill Of Rights an Act for the Recognition and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in part 1 number 2 section "e" states; "that no law of Canada shall be construed or applied so as to deprive a person of the right to a fair hearing in accordance to the principles of fundamental justice for the determination of his rights and obligations". The Bill of Rights does not state that permanent residents are exempt of this clause yet permanent residents are denied access and opportunity to federal court review and additionally deported from Canada without a chance to appeal to a federal court. This factor reveals just how much the Immigration Act does not value those that are affected by their legislation as equal to themselves and Canadian citizens. The matters of Immigration and Refugee Protection are governed by the federal government and it is very ironic that the individuals governed by the federal government are denied access to a federal court for review of their fate. Through an inclusive lens this is a denial of human rights through such a restrictive policy an element of exclusion.
Through a social workers lens Bill C-31 is a far cry from considering equality in it's policies in conjunction with the fact that a Canadian citizen has no limits or boundaries to their rights of an appeal upon conviction or a guilty finding no matter what the nature of the crime may be. While at the same time a permanent resident is not privy to the same legal rights as a Canadian citizen which is a bold definition of inequality. As well these factors reflect how the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act does not meet the needs of this target population.
One of the most fearful policy that a permanent residence must face is how easily they can be deported with no consideration to the danger that awaits them upon returning to their country of birth or their access to resources and family in particular for those permanent residents that have been in Canada since childhood. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act has subject permanent residents to a tremendous amount of vulnerability and an extremely meager amount of social protection by providing them with this limited amount of security regarding their status in Canada. The Act was put into place to ensure that this target population be free from fear yet clearly being vulnerable to being sent back to a country where there is no family ties or in the event that an individual could be facing the possibility of execution in some cases, the policy and procedures in place on how easily a permanent resident can lose their residency in Canada contradicts the Act itself being put into place to ensure and practice safety for their lives.
Before I provide my recommendations to how equality, and a humanistic approach should be incorporated into the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act I would like to address further how this Act contradicts itself. One of the criteria used in the selection process for entry into Canada is an individual's capacity and ability to contribute to the economical growth in Canada. Permanent residents do actively contribute to the economy when they pay taxes by working in Canada yet these individuals have no social protection and are some what segregated because they are labeled as "Foreign Nationals". To label these individuals indicates that when the policy was implemented that these individuals were excluded from the right to live equally to Canadian citizens and most importantly a factor that is important through the lens of a social worker which is dignity for all humanity. To be referred to as "Foreign Nationals" indicates that these individuals are treated as a separate group by the government and not valued in the same scope that a citizen would be valued and treated according to the Bill Of Rights as well as the Human Rights Code in Canada this is a form of discrimination against these individuals.
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act as mentioned above is a selective legislation which should be universal based on the targeted population that it serves those who are in fear of their lives and those who seek a better life. A large majority of the individuals that claim refugee status make their claim in regards to their safety and their lives being in jeopardy if they remain in their country of birth. I recommend a more inclusive approach be embedded in the process of making the policies for this Act. The first change that I recommend be the three member panel that made 172 recommendations. The panel should be much larger in numbers as well composed of members that include individuals whom have migrated to Canada. I recommend this due to the fact that individuals that have migrated to Canada have actual experience with having to leave their country for what ever reasons and can testify how certain policies are barriers to maintaining their dignity as well a hindrance to giving them a sense of belonging in Canada. I would recommend as well that the panel also be composed of members from organizations outside of government such as advocacy groups that have a commitment to creating social justice, and promoting equality for everyone in Canada. In the text book Connecting Policy to practice in the Human Services field in chapter 7 it states that having professional organizations can be a vehicle to change in the sense that an outside force may not have the same biases as an inside force. Having a panel that consist of members in the community, as well as members from professional organizations such as advocacy groups would enhance a more inclusive approach to making policies and procedures within the Immigration Act primarily because their focus is on equality and humanity as opposed to economy and selection.
McKenzie, B. D., and Brian Wharf. Connecting Policy to Practice in the Human Services. Don Mills, Ont.: Oxford UP, 2010. Print
In addition to changing the three member panel I recommend that permanent residents be granted the right to vote in Canada. Currently permanent residents have no voting rights in the country regardless of whether or not they are paying taxes nor how long they have been permanent residents. After three consecutive years of paying taxes I recommend that permanent residents be permitted to vote. Without the right to vote permanent residents have no choice in their lives as to who they choose to be their political leader, In other countries living without the right to be included in the election process is classified as communist for permanent residents they are living in Canada under communist terms because of the fact that tax dollars go towards the expense of elections and actually pay the salary of those in political roles therefore they should have the right to have an input on matters that in the end affect their lives as well.
Permanent residents do not have the opportunity to contest deportation orders through federal court which is not inclusive in the sense that through an inclusion lens this is a denial of their human rights through restrictive policies. The irony of this stipulation is that it is the same federal government that governs matters concerning these individuals yet they are prohibited from appealing to a federal court. I recommend that this policy be changed and that permanent residents be allowed to have an appeal hearing through the federal court when a deportation order is issued. In addition to this recommendation I recommend that before a deportation is rendered that any individual who is at risk of losing their life, or has been in the country since childhood not be deported unless their presence in Canadian society has been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt to be life threatening such as murder and other crimes that put the public at grave risk.
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is a legislation that affects people's lives in so many different ways such as the safety of lives, the well being of lives, and the integrity of human beings. Incorporating making policies and procedures within this Act should be done through a social workers lens and an inclusion lens for the fact that both lenses view outcomes based on equality, integrity, dignity, and respect for everyone in society. Being an immigrant or a permanent resident or a refugee does not make that individual less of a human being or make them less entitled to the right to live in a hazard free environment and in having to go through the process of being selected as worthy of that opportunity goes against what our country represents which is outlined in the Bill Of Rights, our Human Rights Code, as well as our national anthem which says: "God keep our land glorious and free".
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act should be modified with the above recommendations to promote a universal Canada not only in name and prosperity as well as in nature. This can not be achieved over night however through education those who view life and social matters through a social workers lens and an inclusion lens can teach others or perhaps prompt others to want to be a part of doing their share to help make a change.
I now conclude my analysis of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in Canada.