Claiming Refugee Protection in Canada
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 – for a list of DCOs, please click here.
- 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- The Personal Information Form (PIF) has been replaced by the Basis of Claim (BOC) form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.
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.
For more information on the refugee determination process, please click here.
Latest Immigration Court Decisions
Family Class Appeals (IAD)
- CANADA V. CHEN (2014 FC 262)
KEY PARAGRAPHS: 20, 21, 22
- AUJLA V. CANADA (2014 FC 134)
KEY PARAGRAPH: 15
- JIANG V. CANADA (2013 FC 413)
KEY PARAGRAPHS:11, 13, 14, 20, 23, 24
- HABTENKIEL V. CANADA (2013 FC 397)
KEY PARAGRAPHS: 25, 30
- CANADA V. MORA (2013 FC 332)
KEY PARAGRAPHS: 33, 39
- GILL V. CANADA (2012 FC 1522)
KEY PARAGRAPHS: 25, 32, 33
- PATEL V. CANADA (2012 FC 1389)
KEY PARAGRAPH: 35
- RUSSOM V. CANADA (2012 FC 1311)
KEY PARAGRAPHS: 24, 25, 26
- ABEBE V. CANADA (2011 FC 341)
KEY PARAGRAPHS: 37, 38, 39
- ASHRAF V. CANADA (2011 FC 1383)
KEY PARAGRAPHS: 57, 62, 63, 67, 68
Pre-Removal Risk Assessment Applications
- PETER V CANADA (MINISTER OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS), 2014 FC 1073
KEY PARAGRAPHS: 314, 320, 327
- GIL V. CANADA (MINISTER OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION) (2014 FC 370)
KEY PARAGRAPHS: 3, 4, 16, 17, 19, 21
- MUHAMMAD V. CANADA (MINISTER OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION) (2014 FC 448)
KEY PARAGRAPHS: 49, 50, 51, 52, 61, 83, 84, 156, 191, 192, 193
- DJORDEVIC V. CANADA (2014 FC 13)
KEY PARAGRAPHS: 19, 20
- YUSUF V. CANADA (2013 FC 591)
KEY PARAGRAPHS: 32, 35
- CHANDIDAS V. CANADA (2013 FC 257)
KEY PARAGRAPHS: 42 ,43 , 44, 46, 49
- CHEKROUN V. CANADA (2013 FC 738)
KEY PARAGRAPHS: 96, 97, 99
- MUHAMMAD V. CANADA (2012 FC 1483)
KEY PARAGRAPHS: 36, 37, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62
- TERENTEVA V. CANADA (2012 FC 1431)
KEY PARAGRAPHS: 42, 43, 45, 46
- SHPATI V. CANADA (2011 FCA 286)
KEY PARAGRAPH: 52
Refugee Appeal Division
- BAHTA V CANADA (MINISTER OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION) (2014 FC 1245)
KEY PARAGRAPHS: 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18
- HURUGLICA V CANADA (MINISTER OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION), 2014 FC 799
KEY PARAGRAPHS: 3, 4, 34, 45, 53, 54, 55, 56
- SINGH V CANADA (MINISTER OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION, 2014 FC 1022
KEY PARAGRAPHS: 49, 50, 51, 57, 58, 66, JUDGEMENT
Refugee Protection Division
Bellissimo Law Group PC as well as other law firms throughout Canada have been making great efforts to argue for the rights of refugee claimants at all levels of the tribunal and court system, which has lead to many important decisions in this area of case law. We have not reported these cases here because of the need to protect the privacy of refugee claimants.
REFUGEE CESSATION / VACATION CASES
NAGALINGAM V. CANADA (2012 FC 176)
KEY PARAGRAPH: 200
KEY PARAGRAPH: 43, 44, 45
Interim Federal Health Care
CANADIAN DOCTORS FOR REFUGEE CARE V CANADA (ATTORNEY GENERAL) (2014 FC 651)
KEY PARAGRAPHS: 401, 402, 426, 427, 439, 569, 570, 689, 690, 691, 776, 777, 807, 808, 871, 872, 1076, 1077, 1078, 1079, 1080, 1081, 1082, 1083, 1084
GAMA SANCHEZ V CANADA (MINISTER OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION) (2014 FCA 157)
KEY PARAGRAPHS: 7, 8, 9