Apply for a 2024 Migration + Tech Monitor Fellowship

November 11, 2023

Opportunity available! The Refugee Law Lab’s partner organization, the Migration + Tech Monitor, administered by RLL Associate Director Petra Molnar, is now accepting applications for its 2024 MTM Fellowship program. People on the move are often left out of conversations around technological development. Like other historically marginalized communities, their lives serve as testing grounds for experimental new projects. The MTM wants to change this, by putting affected people in the driver’s seat. The MTM offers funded fellowships to people who are externally or internally displaced, who migrated or are on the move at the moment, and to members of communities that live under occupation. The MTM supports projects in research, journalism, culture, education, and tech-in-use and looks forward to brand new ideas too.

Launch of Canadian Legal Data Dataset

July 20, 2023

The Refugee Law Laboratory is excited to publicly share our bulk legal datasets with the full text of Canadian court cases. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first open-access and open-source dataset that provides easy programmatic access to the full text of thousands of Canadian court decisions. For the moment, the dataset includes cases from the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Federal Court. In the coming months, we plan to expand the dataset to include other Canadian courts and tribunals.

The dataset is available here.

Launch of Deportation Data Repository

November 10, 2022

The Refugee Law Laboratory is pleased to launch its latest project: the Deportation Data Repository. The repository includes statistics and documents obtained through Access to Information Requests relating to deportation of people with a refused refugee claim in Canada. Most documents are from Canada Border Services Agency, with some from Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada. The repository is maintained by Refugee Law Lab affiliated researcher Kathryn Tomko Dennler.

The repository is available here.

Press Release: Law Profs & Consumer Advocates to Investigate Racial Profiling of Air Passengers

November 23, 2021

York University’s Refugee Law Laboratory is delighted to announce that it has received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to work with Air Passenger Rights, Canada’s independent nonprofit consumer advocacy group for air travellers, and University of New Brunswick law professor Benjamin Perryman, to undertake a joint research project about the Canadian government’s use of racial profiling to prevent some people from travelling to Canada.

The full press release is available here.

Launch of Refugee Law Lab Reporter

July 5, 2021

We are excited to announce the launch of the Refugee Law Lab Reporter. The RLLR publishes positive decisions from the Refugee Protection Division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board. We publish these decisions because the vast majority of Canadian refugee decisions published elsewhere involve refugee claims that were denied at first instance. The disproportionate publication of refugee decisions that involve negative first instance decisions distorts jurisprudence, prevents lawyers from drawing on positive examples in their arguments, and makes it difficult for scholars to study refugee adjudication.

Check out the RLLR here.

Refugee Law Lab Receives Grant to Build Free Legal Analytics App

February 12, 2021

The Refugee Law Lab is delighted to announce that we have received funding from The Law Foundation of Ontario to build a legal analytics app for refugee lawyers and others interested in Canadian refugee law decision-making.

The app, which will be free to use and which will be built on open-source technology, will provide access to insights drawn from patterns in data on all levels of Canada’s refugee determination process.

We are looking forward to working with staff lawyers from Legal Aid Ontario’s Refugee Law Office who will serve as beta testers for the app.

And we are grateful for support we have received from the Canadian Association for Refugee Lawyers, the Refugee Lawyers Association of Ontario, the Canadian Bar Association (Immigration Law Section), and the Junior Refugee and Immigration Lawyers Network.

One of the Lab’s researchers, Jon Khan, is already hard at work on the project, and we expect others to join the team shortly.

Check back soon for updates!

Report: Technological Testing Grounds: Border tech is experimenting with people’s lives

November 9, 2020

A new report from the Refugee Law Laboratory and EDRi (European Digital Rights) investigates how new technologies are increasingly being used at the border and to manage migration. Technological Testing Grounds is based on over 40 conversations with refugees and people on the move and shows that much of this innovation occurs without adequate governance mechanisms and does not account for the very real impacts on people’s rights and lives.

The investigation supplements an upcoming report on xenophobic discrimination and emerging digital technologies for immigration enforcement by the Ms. Tendayi Achiume, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. Both reports find that many countries are exploring technological experiments for the purposes of border enforcement, decision-making, and data mining. From drones patrolling the Mediterranean to Big Data projects predicting people’s movement to automated decision-making in immigration applications, these innovations are justified as necessary to bolster border enforcement. However, these high risk technological experiments exacerbate systemic racism and discrimination and can lead to significant harm within an already discretionary system.

The report’s findings are brought to life with original photography by the Refugee Law Lab’s Filmmaker-in-Residence, Kenya-Jade Pinto

Read the report here:

Refugee Law Lab Releases Annual Data on Canadian Refugee Decision-Making

August 12, 2020

The Refugee Law Lab has released 2019 data on Canada’s refugee determination system. The data, which has been prepared annually by Refugee Law Lab Director Sean Rehaag, reveals significant differences in patterns in decision-making by different decision-makers – with some granting refugee protection in the large majority of cases they hear, and others seldom granting protection.

Access the data here:

The Refugee Law Lab plans to release more detailed analysis and more granular data drawing on this and other datasets involving Canadian refugee decision-making in the coming months. For updates about our research, consider joining our listserv by writing to:

Petra Molnar Appointed as Refugee Law Lab Associate Director

July 22, 2020

The Refugee Law Laboratory is delighted to welcome Petra Molnar as Associate Director.

Petra is a lawyer and researcher specializing in technology, migration, and human rights. She is currently working with EDRi, Homo Digitalis, and other partner organizations on a project looking at the impacts of migration control technologies on the lives of people on the move, funded by the Mozilla and Ford Foundations. Petra also works on issues around immigration detention, health and human rights, gender-based violence, and the politics of refugee, immigration, and international law. Her work has appeared in numerous academic publications and the popular press, including the New York Times. Petra is also the co-author of “Bots at the Gate,” an internationally recognized report on the human rights impacts of automated decision-making in immigration and refugee systems. She holds a Master of Arts in Anthropology from York University, a Juris Doctorate from the University of Toronto, and an LL.M in International Law from the University of Cambridge.

We are excited to be working with Petra and we are looking forward to seeing where she helps us take the lab!

CRS Receives SSHRC Insight Grant to Create Refugee Law Laboratory

July 7, 2020

The Centre for Refugee Studies is thrilled to announce that we have received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant to establish the Refugee Law Laboratory. CRS Director and Osgoode Hall Law School Associate Professor Sean Rehaag will serve as the Director of the Lab. We are looking forward to sharing more details soon.