Toronto - Mayor David Miller has proclaimed April 4 as Refugee Rights Day in Toronto to focus attention on efforts to remove barriers to the reunification of refugee and immigrant families and the importance of protecting the human rights of refugees.

“Despite the obstacles they sometimes face, refugees and immigrants strengthen and enrich our city in so many ways,” said Mayor David Miller. “There are many reasons people leave their homelands whether it be in pursuit of a better life for their families or to flee for safety’s sake. We should take this opportunity to understand the conditions around the world that lead to this migration of people and to dispel the myths and stereotypes about refugees.”

Refugee Rights Day recognizes the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling on April 4, 1985 on the “Singh Case” recognizing the right of refugee claimants under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to an oral hearing.

“It has been more than five years since the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act was passed and it is regrettable that the Refugee Appeal Division has not yet been implemented,” said Councillor Janet Davis. “It is time to end refugee claimant decisions by a single decision maker. This is long overdue and the Government of Canada should move quickly.”

To celebrate Refugee Rights Day, two workshops will be held at City Hall in Committee Room 2 on Thursday, April 3 as follows:

  • Workshop 1 - 10 a.m. to noon: refugee artists will share their stories
  • Workshop 2 - 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.: refugee rights in Canada

    In addition, Councillor Janet Davis will present the Mayor’s proclamation at noon and will participate in a news conference with community organizations at 12:30 p.m. in Committee Room 2 about proposed changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

    Community organizations will hold an information fair in the City Hall Rotunda until April 4 on the theme: refugees’ artistic expressions of creativity and resilience.

    Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won more than 70 awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.