Presentation: (1986) UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award to the people of Canada

The people of Canada are the unique recipients of an award for their work on behalf of refugees.

This video includes extracts from the 1986 presentation ceremony.

It was the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, then Jean-Pierre Hocké, who, in 1986 presented the UNHCR’s Nansen Refugee Award to “the people of Canada” through then Governor General Sauvé. The award recognizes the work of Canada in helping to alleviate the very difficult situations of refugees around the world. It was the first time the award was presented to an entire nation. In this extract from the award ceremony at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, the High Commissioner and the Governor General speak and the award medal is presented. Also on the dais are the Honourable Flora MacDonald, then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Gerry Weiner, then Minister of State (Immigration) and Michael Schelew, then President of the Canadian Council for Refugees. The web publishing of this video from the 1986 Nansen Award ceremony is courtesy of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2014.

Designated Classes

A regulatory device to target humanitarian resettlement programs.

Those who were around at the time might argue that the government’s decision in November 1978, to enact 3 separate classes to facilitate the selection of immigrants in refugee-like situations from Eastern Europe, Latin America and Indo China respectively, was directly attributable to an attack of Delhi Belly suffered by Immigration Minister Bud Cullen during a trip abroad in May of that year. In fact the decision was precipitated by operational teething problems following the coming into force of the 1976 Act and its accompanying regulatory package on April 1, 1978. Bud Cullen’s misfortunes only served to bring the problems of implementation to the attention of the senior executive in a timely way. Let me elaborate. (more…)