Jason Kenney appears before the Immigration committee in Ottawa, April 26, 2012.
Credits: Chris Roussakis/QMI Agency
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Wednesday the government will amend Bill C-31, Protecting Canada's Immigration Act, to limit how long refugees are detained for review to 14 days, and a second review stretch to six months.
The original bill would have allowed for detention times of up to 12 months without judicial review for large groups of smuggled migrants.
"We've looked at this and we have always said we want to be reasonable," Kenney said. "This does give us the power to ensure the integrity of our immigration system and we think it is the right balance."
The minister said the government has no intention to detain "bona fide refugees," but that the detention provisions are designed for "smuggled migrants" who can't be identified and pose security risks.
"The intention has never been - never been - to maintain refugees in detention. The intention is to have a greater ability to process smuggled migrants who arrive in large numbers," Kenney said.
The government would also not revoke the permanent residency of successful refugee claimants if conditions change in countries or origin unless status was obtained illegally, Kenney assured.
Some legal experts and the NDP suggested the detention period provisions the Tories first proposed breached Charter rights and international laws.