The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has published its concluding observations on Canada. In addition to strong criticisms regarding Indigenous Peoples and racialized people, as well as recommendations on ethnic profiling, employment discrimination and discrimination in the education system, there is a section on immigration and refugee issues, addressing immigration detention, STCA, migrant workers and access to health care. Many thanks to Janet and the CCR.
Situation of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers
- The Committee is concerned that:
(a) There is no legal time limit on the detention of migrants. Nearly one third of migrants were held in provincial prisons, leading to deaths in some cases.
(b) Migrant children are detained.
(c) There is a lack of data provided to the Committee on persons in immigration detention.
(d) As a result of the restrictions in the Safe Third Party agreement, there is a reported sharp rise in asylum seekers attempting to enter the State party through irregular border crossings, under dangerous or life-threatening conditions.
(e) Although the temporary foreign worker program conducts inspections, temporary migrant workers are reportedly susceptible to exploitation and abuses, and are sometimes denied basic health services, and employment and pension benefits to which they may make contributions.
(f) There is a lack of access to health care for undocumented migrants (art. 5). 34.
In light of its general recommendation No. 22 (1986) on article 5 of the Convention on refugees and displaced persons, and No. 30 (2004) on discrimination against non-citizens, the Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Undertake planned immigration detention reforms. Ensure that immigration detention is only undertaken as a last resort after fully considering alternative non-custodial measures. Establish a legal time limit on the detention of migrants.
(b) Immediately end the practice of detention of minors.
(c) Provide statistical data to the Committee in its next periodic report on the persons detained in immigration detention, reason and length of detention of migrants, disaggregated by age, gender, nationality and ethnicity.
(d) Rescind or at least suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States of America to ensure that all individuals who attempt to enter the State party through a land border are provided with equal access to asylum proceedings.
(e) Reform current policies and measures to ensure protection of temporary migrant workers from exploitation and abuse as well as grant them access to health services and employment and pension benefits. Implement protective policies for migrant workers. Reconsider the decision not to ratify the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. Expedite the consideration for the adoption of International Labour Organization Convention No. 189 (2011) concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers.
(f) Ensure that all persons have access to healthcare, regardless of immigration status, without discrimination.
See the whole concluding observations at: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CERD/Shared%20Documents/CAN/CERD_C_CAN_CO_21-23_28714_E.pdf