Changes to Canada’s Refugee System:

Designated Countries of Origin for Asylum Claimants

On December 14, 2012, the Citizenship and Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, announced the list of Designated Countries of Origin (DCO) for the new refugee system. The list includes 27 countries which do not normally produce genuine asylum claimants. Only two countries are outside the European Union area. The stated purpose of the amendments in the refugee system is to expedite processing of foreign nationals in need of refugee protection with lower resources being used on bogus asylum claimants.

Jason Kenney announced the first list of the designated countries of origin under the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act. The Act has provided the authority to the Minister to designate additional DCOs that respect human rights and offer state protection to their citizens.

The claims of the asylum seekers from DCOs will be heard by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) within 30-45 days. The claims of all other claimants will be heard in 60 days compared to existing waiting period of 600 days.

The failed claimants from DCOs will not have access to the Refugee Appeal Division and can only seek appeal to the Federal Court to review the negative decision.
The DCO claimants with negative decision could be removed from Canada while the application for review before the Federal Court is pending as there is not automatic stay of removal unless they ask the Federal Court for stay of their deportation.

The Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act has come into force on December 15, 2012. For more details, see the Summary of the Changes to Canada’s Refugee System following passage of the Balanced Refugee Reform Act in June 2010 and the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act in June 2012.