OCASI Executive Director Debbie Douglas appeared as a witness before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration to present on Bill S-7, Barbaric Cultural Practices Act on May 6, 2015. The Bill proposes new measures with respect to forced marriage and polygamy, including changes to immigration law.
OCASI is deeply concerned about the Bill – specifically that it will potentially profile certain racialized communities, single out those members for additional scrutiny, and use immigration law to impose a double punishment for certain offences above and beyond what would be imposed on someone born in Canada. We make three recommendations:
a) That the Bill is withdrawn; and
b) That the Government should use all the measures already available to it to prevent violence against women and protect their human rights including:
- make broad and sustained investment in public education and violence prevention programs
- eliminate systemic barriers that prevent women from reporting violence and abuse such as the Conditional Permanent Residency of Sponsored Spouses
- ensure supports for victims of violence including social housing, income support and economic stability
- invest in social supports for immigrant women including settlement services, language training and labour market integration programs.
c) That the government should invest in a national action plan to change attitudes to prevent violence against women, including action to challenge racism and xenophobia.
See link below for the OCASI Submission.