Are you a Refugee or a Person in Need of Protection?
An individual may be considered a Convention refugee if they have a well-founded fear of persecution upon returning to their country of citizenship or country of legal permanent residence. There are five forms of persecution recognized by the international community: race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group (e.g. gender, sexual orientation, etc.) and political opinion.
To claim refugee status, the fear of persecution must be one of these five forms. The individual must demonstrate that their country is unable or unwilling to provide them with adequate state protection.
Balanced Refugee Reform Act and Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act.
Changes to the asylum system came into effect on 15 December 2012 and are intended to improve efficiency in delivering faster decisions, deterring abuse, resettling more refugees, facilitating the adaptation to life in Canada, and removing failed refugee claimants more quickly.
Changes to the system include:
- A list of Designated Countries of Origin (DCO); these are countries which do not normally produce refugees and are pressured to respect human rights and offer state protection – processing times for claimants from these countries will be an estimated 30 – 45 days; 60 days for other claimants
- A new Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) at the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) allowing 15 days to file a Notice of Appeal once the written reasons for the decision are received from the Refugee Protection Division.
- Hearings will no longer be conducted by appointed members but rather by public servant decision-makers
- Decisions on appeals are expected within 90 days, with failed claimants being removed within 12 months thereafter
- A bar on accessing pre-removal risk assessments and humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) applications for one year following a final negative IRB decision
- The Personal Information Form (PIF) has been replaced by the Basis of Claim (BOC) form
Claimants from a DCO will have their asylum claims expedited. Refused claimants from a DCO will be able to appeal to the Federal Court, but will not have access to the RAD at the IRB.
A person in need of protection is at risk of cruel and unusual punishment or death. The individual may also be at risk of torture, which is defined in international law as actions at the hands of the government agents or actions with which government agents were complicit.
To be deemed a person in need of protection, the individual must demonstrate that the risk they fear is personalized. It cannot be a risk faced generally by people within one’s country. Consequently, a person at risk of kidnapping or extortion because they have money or are perceived as having money, face the same risk as others with money; the risk is not personalized unless there is some characteristic that led to that person, as opposed to all other affluent people, being targeted.
Summary of Changes to Canada’s Refugee System Click here
New Refugee Determination Process Click here
List of Designated Countries of Origin (DCOs) Click here
Bill C-31 has received royal assent! Please stay tuned for further updates
Related Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s):
Latest Immigration Court Decisions
Immigration Appeal Division Cases Here.
Refugee Cases Here.