On February 14, 2013, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, added an additional eight (8) countries to the Designated Countries of Origin (DCO) list that was created through the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act of 2012.
The countries that were added are: Mexico, Israel (which excludes Gaza and the West Bank), Japan, Norway, Iceland, New Zealand, Australia and Switzerland.
With these additions, there are now a total of 35 countries that appear on the DCO list, which already included the United States, Croatia, and many countries in the European Union. These 35 countries have been determined by Minister Kenney to “offer state protection, [and] have active human rights and civil society organizations”.
Individuals whose countries of origin appear on this list will see the processing times for their refugee determinations quickened significantly. Such individuals will see their claims heard by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) within 30-45 days of the submission of their initial Basis of Claim form. Individuals from all other countries can expect a hearing within 60 days of the date they submit a Basis of Claim form.
Furthermore, failed claimants who are from one of the 35 countries on this list will not be allowed to appeal their decisions to the Refugee Appeal Division of the IRB, though they will remain able to seek Judicial Review in the Federal Court.
In considering which countries are appropriate for the DCO list, Minister Kenney considered a number of objective criteria including: the number of refused, withdrawn and abandoned claims from individuals from a given country in a consecutive 12-month period; and whether the country maintains an independent judicial system, recognizes democratic rights and freedoms, and allows for the existence of civil society organizations.
A full list of the 35 DCO countries, as of February 15, 2013, can be found below:
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- Slovak Republic
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
For additional information, please contact Green and Spiegel.