Making Canada’s asylum system faster and fairer: Chile & S Korea included in list

On Thursaday, Minister Jason Kenney announced that the list of Designated Countries of Origin (DCOs) is expanding to include Chile and South Korea.

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 refugees.

“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 At least 60 percent of claimants from the country must have withdrawn and abandoned their own claims, or at least 75 percent of claims from a country must have been withdrawn, abandoned or rejected by the IRB.