OTTAWA – Buried in the Harper government’s latest massive, omnibus budget bill is legislation that could restrict the ability of refugee claimants to access social assistance.
The move follows the government’s decision to limit refugee claimants’ access to universal, public health care.
That measure was struck down by Federal Court Judge Anne Mactavish, who said it constitutes “cruel and unusual” treatment, puts lives at risk and “outrages Canadian standards of decency.”
The government is currently appealing that ruling.
On social assistance, the government has essentially adopted as its own a private member’s bill introduced last month by Conservative backbencher Corneliu Chisu.
It is proposing to amend the legislation governing federal transfer payments to provinces for social programs. That legislation currently forbids provinces from imposing a minimum residency requirement before a refugee claimant can become eligible for social assistance.
The budget implementation bill would lift the prohibition on minimum residency, which…
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