Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism speaks during the Annual Conference of the Canadian Network of National Association of Regulators in Ottawa Nov 8, 2012. Andre Forget/QMI Agency
OTTAWA — The government says it's set to begin fast-tracking the removal of bogus asylum seekers and speed up the process to approve legitimate applicants.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says the regulations contained in the Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act (PCISA) will come into force Dec. 15.
"Our changes will make Canada's asylum system faster and fairer," Kenney said at a news conference. "For too long, Canada's generous asylum system has been vulnerable to abuse."
Under the changes, asylum claimants will receive a hearing within 60 days after their claim is referred to the Immigration Refugee Board, compared to the average of nearly two years it takes now.
Most failed applicants from countries known for refugees will be able to appeal IRB decisions at the newly created Refugee Appeal Division.
For those who arrive from countries that don't normally produce refugees, their claims will be expedited, but still receive the same individualized hearing all asylum claimants currently receive.
These asylum claims from "safe" countries will be processed within 45 days.
"We're spending far too much time and taxpayers' money on bogus claims, and on generous tax-funded health and social benefits," Kenney said about the thousands of claimants who aren't legitimate refugees.
Failed claimants will be removed from Canada within one year of their final IRB decision, compared to the 4.5 years it now takes.
The government estimates the PCISA will save provinces and territories $1.6 billion over five years in social assistance and education costs.