Borderlines Podcast Episode 2 – Jennifer Bond on Refugee Resettlement and Ensuring that Legislation is Charter Compliant

In the 2nd episode of Borderlines, Jennifer Bond joined Peter Edelmann and I to discuss refugee resettlement and ensuring that legislation is Charter compliant.

Jennifer Bond is a professor at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law, and is also a Special Advisor to Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship.  Jennifer sat on the founding national executive of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers and is founder and current co-director of the University of Ottawa’s Refugee Assistance Project, a multi-year, national initiative aimed at mitigating and researching the access to justice implications of Canada’s new refugee legislation. She is also the Faculty Coordinator of the University of Ottawa’s Refugee Hub, supervisor of the Refugee Law Research Team, and a member of the Public Law Group.

00:26 – 21:31- We discuss international refugee resettlement law. Specific topics include whether countries are obligated to resettle refugees, Canada’s commitment to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees, and the role private sponsorship programs in the global refugee resettlement effort.  Jennifer also explained the security screening that Canada undertakes when it resettles refugees, and how this security process compares to Canada’s other immigration streams.  Finally, we asked Jennifer for her take on what we discussed last week, which is whether in the wake of the BREXIT vote and the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, the aslyum crisis in Europe, the potential rise of protectionism and isolationism in the United States with the election of Donald Trump, and now the recently failed coup in Turkey, Canada can continue to buck global trends and remain a nation that loudly and publicly announces its intentions to continue to welcome a record number of immigrants and refugees.

21:31 – 35:50 – We discuss Jennifer’s 2014 paper titled “Failure to Report: The Manifestly Unconstitutional Nature of the Human Smugglers Act,” as well as the ongoing case involving the whistleblower Edgar Schmidt, who sued the Department of Justice for allegedly failing to report to Parliament whether new laws might be so inconsistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms they would trigger constitutional challenges.  Mr. Schmidt’s website can be found here.  The Federal Court recently dismissed Mr. Schmidt’s lawsuit, and the decision can be found here.



35:50 – 39:47 – Peter and I discuss the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration’s current exploration of
Immigration Measures for the Protection of Vulnerable Groups.  I pose the question of how history will judge us if, in the interests of not being seen to favour one group of refugee claimants over others, that group faces a similar result to the Jewish people during World War 2.

39:47 – 42:50 – Peter Edelmann and I discuss the recent misrepresentation decision in Lamsen v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration).  There, the Federal Court affirmed that a visa application must be considered in its totality and that applications cannot be compartmentalized, particularly when making a finding of misrepresentation carries such serious consequences.

42:50 – 46:20 – The Government of Canada is currently proposing changes to NEXUS eligibility and what will lead to the cancellation of a NEXUS card. After providing an overview of the changes, we discuss how Canadians may soon be privileged travellers domestically within the United States.

46:20 – 49:30 – We wrap up by discussing the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision in Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., and what it means for the ongoing standard of review debate.

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