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Who Belongs? Rights, Benefits, Obligations and Immigration Status

September 24, 2010 - September 25, 2010

The David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights is co-sponsor, with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, of a two day conference at the Faculty of Law on September 24th and 25th, 2010.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is undertaking a research project on the status of immigrant in Canadian society. Immigration status – whether it be citizenship, permanent resident status, visitor status, temporary workers status, “no status” – plays an important role in how rights, benefits and obligations are allocated. Rules regarding voting rights, access to social services, employment and property ownership often make distinctions on the basis of immigration status. What are the consequences of such distinctions? Are they appropriate?

The aim of the project is to explore the consequences of the differential access to rights and benefits on the basis of immigration status. Particularly, the following questions will be explored: What is the current situation with respect to immigration status distinctions made in different sectors such as voting rights, employment, professional affiliations, membership on boards, investment rules and access to social services? How has the concept of citizenship evolved through the years and internationally? How does it relate to First Nations’ concepts of citizenship? How should we conceptualize distinctions on the basis of immigration status in light of mobility and equality rights? Is discrimination on the basis of immigration status a proxy for racial discrimination? What is the experience of Human Rights Commissions on this issue? How does the temporary foreign workers program operate within our immigration law framework? Is it compatible with the values that sustain it? What impact do current bilateral treaties on the recognition of education credentials have on the treatment of immigrants in Canada? What should be the government’s position with respect to illegal immigrants‘ access to health, education or other social services? Should we revisit the restrictions on the right to vote, on employment rules in civil service, on participation on management boards?



September 24, 2010
September 25, 2010