Immigration Law

Refugee Claim

You can make a refugee claim at a Canadian border or airport, or from within Canada. To get refugee protection, you must meet the definition of a Convention refugee or a person in need of protection.

Convention refugee:

To be a Convention refugee, you must establish that you have a well-founded fear of persecution in your home country based on:

    • race
    • religion
    • nationality
    • political opinion or
    • membership in a particular social group. (This can be a group that you chose to join, such as a labour union, or that you belong to because of who you are, such as a family. If you fear persecution because of your gender or sexual orientation, your claim is based on membership in a particular social group.)

You must also be unable or unwilling to return to your country because of your fear and the conditions there.

Refugee claims can be based on persecution by government authorities or others. For claims based on persecution by others, you must show that the government in your home country is unable or unwilling to protect you, or that you were unable to avail yourself of the protection of the government.

Person in need of protection:

To be a person in need of protection, you must be someone who, if you had to return to your home country, would more likely than not face:

    • torture
    • a risk to your life, or
    • a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment

If you face a risk to your life, or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment, you must show all of the following:

    • You are not able to obtain protection from the government in your country
    • The risk affects you personally and is not faced generally by other people in      your country. For example, the risk is not the result of a famine, civil war, or territorial disputes
    • The risk is not the result of government laws, such as punishment for committing a crime, unless these laws violate international standards
    • The risk is not caused by the fact that you cannot get adequate medical care in your country unless this is because of persecution or discrimination.

Options for refused applicants:

Pre-Removal Risk Assessment

If you are told to leave Canada, you may be able to apply under this process. If so, an officer reviews the documents related to your case and any other evidence.

Apply to the Federal Court of Canada for judicial review

You can have a lawyer ask the Federal Court of Canada to review the decision made on your case.

Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds

In some circumstances, people are allowed to become permanent residents under these grounds.

Refugee claimants whose claims are rejected by the IRB, can apply to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds (H & C) , even if they have received an order to leave Canada.

Your H & C application will not prevent or delay your removal from Canada—you must leave on or before the date stated on your removal order. However, your application will still be processed even if you have to leave Canada.