SUMMARY OF BILL C-43 AND AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL’S CONCERNS WITH THE PROPOSED LAW
Bill C-43, the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, was tabled in the House of Commons in June 2012. The Bill follows Canada’s practice of preferring exclusion or deportation over extradition or prosecution. It proposes amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act allowing the Minister, on his or her own initiative, to declare that any foreign national may not enter Canada for a period of three years if – in the Minister’s opinion – it is justified on the basis of public policy considerations. Bill C-43 eliminates humanitarian relief and appeal procedures for certain kinds of criminals and suspected criminals, which facilitates their removal but also hinders efforts to hold them accountable for their conduct.
The curtailment of Ministerial and humanitarian and compassionate relief, coupled with a denial of access to appeals of deportation orders may expose individuals to a risk of torture and other serious human rights violations once they are removed from Canada. Moreover, Canada has obligations under international law to prosecute or extradite individuals suspected of being responsible for serious crimes that are subject to universal jurisdiction – including terrorism – even when those offences are not linked to Canada in any direct way. Bill C-43’s singular focus of the proposed amendments on exclusion and deportation increases the possibility that individuals will not be held accountable for serious crimes under international law.
Consequently, in our Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, Amnesty International called for the Bill to be amended to ensure that provisions with respect to exclusion and deportation do not undermine Canada’s obligations to ensure that individuals seeking entry to or present in Canada, who may have committed serious crimes under international law, are either extradited to a country where a fair investigation and trial would occur or are investigated and prosecuted in Canada. Amnesty International further recommended that amendments curtailing access to humanitarian and compassionate relief, as well as to an appeal process, be withdrawn.
STATUS OF BILL
Bill C-43 was passed and received Royal Assent in June 2013.
Amnesty International’s Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, Accountability, Protection and Access to Justice: Amnesty International’s Concerns with respect to Bill C-43 (October 2012)