Panel Discussion: Assessing Bill C-49: An Act to Prevent Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System

In response to a few hundred Tamil asylum seekers who arrived in Canada onboard two ships over the past year, the government has introduced Bill C-49. In addition to modifying the definition of human smuggling and the penalties imposed on human smugglers, the Bill seeks to discourage asylum seekers from coming to Canada without valid visas. It does so by allowing the government to designate as irregular any group of asylum seekers who come to Canada, and then imposing penalties on asylum seekers, regardless of whether they subsequently obtain refugee status. The penalties include: mandatory unreviewable detention, limits on appeal rights, and five year bars on obtaining permanent residence (during which time refugees cannot bring family members to Canada and cannot leave the country). An expert panel will offer an assessment of these and other aspects of Bill C-49, focusing on the following topics: Sharry Aiken, Queen’s University: Provisions targeting smugglers; Peter Showler, University of Ottawa: Mandatory unreviewable detention of designated asylum seekers; Sean Rehaag, Osgoode Hall Law School: Bar on obtaining permanent residence for 5 years; Audrey Macklin, University of Toronto: Impact beyond designated asylum seekers; and James Milner, Carleton University: Global political implications. A discussion with audience members will be held following the presentations. en

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