Emphasizing Fairness and Effectiveness: Policy recommendations: Best Practices for Ensuring Additionality and Fostering Refugee Agency in Complementary Pathways for Refugees in Canada and Beyond 

Written by Andrew Fallone and Roberto Cortinovis (CEPS)  / October 2023

This Policy Brief argues that complementary pathways must not be relied upon to such a great extent that they supplant or substitute state-led refugee resettlement programs. The selective nature of purpose-built complementary pathways must not foster the emergence of preferential access for refugees whose profiles are deemed most ‘desirable’. All applicants must enjoy the same level of procedural fairness when applying for complementary pathways, in particular adequate levels of accountability and transparency of admission procedures (which may be carried out by both public and private actors) and access to effective means of legal recourse. Finally, enhancing resettled refugees’ capacity to exercise agency throughout the selection process and in the settlement phase requires that all individuals have access to similar material resources and support systems to do so. With these necessary prerequisites in place, complementary pathways such as the PSR and EMPP can provide a significant contribution towards expanding equitable access to global refugee admission opportunities, while avoiding the risk those channels become de facto preferential migration pathways in disguise.