Procedural Issues Associated with Implementing the Agreement Between the United States of America and Canada for Cooperation in the Examination of Refugee Status Claims from Nationals of Third Countries. Statement of Principles
The Parties intend to act according to the following principles:
1. Opportunity for Third Party During Proceedings. Provided no undue delay results and it does not unduly interfere with the process, each Party will provide an opportunity for the applicant to have a person of his or her own choosing present at appropriate points during proceedings related to the Agreement. Details concerning access to proceedings will be set out in operational procedures.
2. Proof of Family Relationship. Procedures will acknowledge that the burden of proof is on the applicant to satisfy the decision-maker that a family relationship exists and that the relative in question has the required status. Credible testimony may be sufficient to satisfy a decision-maker in the absence of documentary evidence or computer records. It may be appropriate in these circumstances to request that the applicant and the relative provide sworn statements attesting to their family relationship.
3. Standard for Determining Eligibility for an Exception to the Agreement. The United States will use the preponderance of evidence standard to determine whether an applicant qualifies for an exception under the Agreement. Canada will use the balance of probabilities standard to determine whether an applicant qualifies for an exception under the Agreement. These standards are functionally equivalent.
4. Review. Each Party will ensure that its procedures provide, at a minimum: (1) an opportunity for the applicant to understand the basis for the proposed determination; (2) an opportunity for the applicant to provide corrections or additional relevant information, provided it does not unduly delay the process; and (3) an opportunity for the applicant to have a separate decision-maker, who was not involved in preparing the proposed determination, review any proposed determination before it is finally made.
5. Record of Interview and Eligibility Determination. Upon request and subject to national law, Canada and the United States will share all written materials pertaining to whether an applicant qualifies for an exception under the Agreement. Subject to national law, this information will also be available to the applicant.
6. Requests to Reconsider Exception Determinations. Each Party will have the discretion to request reconsideration of a decision by either Party to deny an applicant's request for an exception under the Agreement should new information, or information that has not previously been considered, come to light.
7. No Reconsideration of Positive Determinations. Neither Party will reconsider any decision that an applicant qualifies for an exception under the Agreement.
8. Timeframe for Return Under the Agreement. Returns to the country of last presence under the Agreement must take place within 90 days after the original refugee status claim is made.
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