Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has announced plans for a dramatic overhaul of Canada's refugee determination process, bringing in changes that some critics fear are too radical.

In B.C., the asylum Canada offers provides safety and peace of mind, but it also comes with a delay -- five or six years to determine eligibility. Sometimes the wait jumps to as long as a decade.

Andrew Wlodyka has worked on both sides of the process as an immigration lawyer and deputy chair of the Immigration and Refugee Board. He told CTV News that the proposed changes are long overdue.

"To remove people faster, to save on social coasts for provinces who have to pay for welfare and social costs -- I think the plan is a good one from that perspective," he said.

But the immigration advocacy group No One Is Illegal says the expediency and efficiency the government is plugging really mean exclusion and expulsion.

"The immediate reaction is outrage," said activist Mariana Payet. "He's basically going to be creating a system where a wide group of immigrants -- of refugees -- are going to be denied."

She said she was especially worried about plans for a "safe country" list. Asylum seekers from nations Canada deems to be safe would have a much tougher time claiming refugee status.

"So-called democratic countries where there are people who still face human rights violations, still facing violence, still should be allowed to stay here," Payet said.

But Kenney is insistent that changes are necessary.

Even before the current glut of 61,000 refugee claimants can be processed, there are 15,000 failed asylum seekers ready for removal from the country and another 38,000 whose whereabouts are unknown.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Peter Grainger