Refugee protection is given by Canada to those people who meet the United Nations (UN) definition of a Convention Refugee or if they are a person in need of protection.
Convention refugees are unwilling to return to their own country or the country where they normally live because of a well-founded fear of persecution based on:
- Political opinion
- Nationality or
- Membership in a particular social group but is not limited to, sexual orientation, gender identity, and domestic violence and HIV status.
A person in need of protection is a person in Canada who must show that if they return to their home country or country where they normally live would subject them personally to:
- A danger of torture;
- A risk to their life; or
- A risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
Eligibility from inside Canada:
The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) takes the final decisions on the immigration matters of refugees. Not all applications reach the IRB, however.
You may not be eligible to make a refugee claim if:
- You have been recognized as a Convention refugee by another country to which you can return;
- You have already been permitted protected person status in Canada;
- You arrived via the Canada-United States border (refer to Safe Third Country Agreement below);
- You are not admissible to Canada on security grounds, or because of criminal activity or human rights violations;
- You made a previous refugee claim that was found to be ineligible for referral to the IRB;
- You made a previous refugee claim that was rejected by the IRB; or
- You abandoned or withdrew a previous refugee claim.
Safe Third Country Agreement:
According to an agreement signed between the United States and Canada, the people must claim refugee protection in whichever country they first arrive. So, if you enter Canada through a land border from the United States, you cannot make a refugee protection claim in Canada.
Following are some exceptions:
- Family member exceptions
- Unaccompanied minors’ exception
- Document holder exception
- Public interest exception
You must meet all the eligibility criteria set by Canada’s immigration legislation, i.e. Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) along with qualifying for these exceptions.
You can apply for refugee status in Canada with the following two methods:
- At any port of entry, such as an airport, seaport or land border where the officer will decide if your claim is eligible to be referred to the IRB (IRB) of Canada.
- In Canada at designated Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) offices. If they find your refugee claim eligible, you will be given a date for IRB hearing.
Eligibility for Resettlement from outside Canada:
Two categories are made for the candidates who want to be resettled from outside Canada:
Convention Refugees Abroad Class:
The definition of a Convention Refugee in the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the status of refugees must be met by the applicants. Security and criminal checks and medical exam are needed to be cleared. In addition, applicants must also be:
- Referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or another referral organization, or be sponsored by a private sponsorship group.
- Selected as a government-assisted or privately sponsored refugee or have the funds needed to support yourself and any dependents after arrival in Canada.
There are two ways for sponsoring refugees:
- Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program
- Joint Assistance Sponsorship
Individual or group sponsors can take the responsibility of refugees for providing them emotional and financial settlement assistance for the duration of one year. Some refugees, however, may receive this assistance for a longer time period.