Starting in 2018, those coming to Canada fleeing religious persecution in their home country could claim refugee status under the Less Complex Claims (LCC) program. LCC is an expedited process that allows certain people to be recognized by Canada as refugees without a hearing. This is a good initiative, doing away with bureaucratic processes where they have been determined to be unnecessary. There was, however, a glaring gap in the program’s coverage.
Atheists being persecuted for their non-belief were not eligible to apply to the LCC program.
In response to this injustice, Secular Connexion, in partnership with CFIC, Humanist Canada, and the Canadian Secular Alliance (and with support from other Canadian humanist organizations), launched a petition with the House of Commons, calling for the government “to ensure that non-believers are included in the list of people eligible for any special refugee status.” (You may recall previously reading about this here.)
The petition was presented to the House of Commons on February 8, 2022, and the government tabled its response on March 24, 2022.
The response by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship explicitly stated that LCC applies to “claims from those who have chosen to be disassociated from a religious denomination or community, or those who hold no religious conviction, including non-believers.”
This is a significant policy change that makes Canada’s expedited refugee acceptance program more just and inclusive.
Bravo to Secular Connexion, CFIC, Humanist Canada, and Canadian Secular Alliance for making Canada a fairer, more moral country.