Refugee Claims

A refugee claimant must demonstrate that they cannot go back to their country of origin because they fear persecution based on their race, religion, political opinion, nationality or because of a particular social group they are a part of. They will also be protected in Canada if they can demonstrate that they face a risk to their life or a risk of torture, cruel or unusual treatment or punishment in their country of origin.

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Refugee claims can be made inside Canada or at a Port of Entry. However, if arriving at a Port of Entry from the United States, the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) may apply. This Agreement states that refugee claimants must request refugee protection in the first safe country they arrive in, unless they meet an exception. While the Safe Third Country Agreement has been challenged successfully in the courts, it remains in place and could complicate refugee claims for those arriving to Canada from the United States.

Refugee claims are decided by the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). Claimants must first fill out a Basis of Claim form detailing the reasons why they are claiming protection. They may then have a hearing before the Refugee Protection Division where a decision will be made on their case. The hearing involves questioning by Board Members of the Refugee Protection Division on the reasons that the claimant is seeking Canada’s protection. Some refugees may be accepted without a hearing.

If you are seeking a lawyer representing asylum seekers, a refugee lawyer to represent you at the immigration and refugee board or at the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), you can set up a consultation by clicking here.

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Appeals to the Refugee Appeals Division

The Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) considers appeals of decisions from the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). It can allow or reject claims for refugee protection.

For more information, see Appeals to the Refugee Appeals Division on our Judicial Reviews and Appeals page.

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Refugee Status Revocation or Cessation

A person can lose their status as a protected person for two reasons:

  • It can be lost if a person voluntarily re-avails themselves of the protection of their country (usually by returning to that country or obtaining consular assistance) or if they receive protection from another country.
  • A person can also lose their status if the person obtained their refugee status by being untruthful or submitting a fraudulent claim.

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Decisions to remove a person’s status as a protected person are made by the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board at a hearing. 

 If you would like to find out more information about revocation or cessation of refugee status, you can set up a consultation by clicking here. 

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