How do I know if I could be accepted as a refugee in
A refugee is a person who fears persecution
if they go back to their country of nationality.
Fear of persecution usually means a serious chance
of physical harm, detention or some other form of cruel
and unusual punishment. In some cases, discrimination
or harassment could be considered serious enough
to amount to persecution.
have already experienced persecution?
No. The standard is whether or not there is a serious
possibility that you would be persecuted if you
go back to your country.
typical examples of refugee cases that are accepted?
- Women who fear beatings from
their husbands, violence or other serious forms
of punishment from other family members.
Women who refuse to conform to
expectations such as arranged marriages, dress
code or genital mutilation. In
fact,Canada is a world leader in recognizing
gender-based persecution and has issued guidelines
to ensure that these claims are dealt with
in a fair and sensitive manner.
Members of religious or ethnic
minority groups who fear persecution from
the general population or from non governmental
organisations where the police are unable
or unwilling to protect them.
Members of religious or ethnic minority groups who fear persecution
from the general population or from
non governmental organisations where
the police are unable or unwilling to protect
Homosexuals who are persecuted
simply because of their sexual orientation.
People who are persecuted by
a powerful criminal gang or mafia such as
my family members be protected with me?
Yes. In most cases,
respects the principle of family unity so that
an immediate family will have one hearing and
anyone who fears persecution be accepted?
There is no pre-determination to guarantee
the acceptance of your case. The approval or refusal
of your case is the result of a single decision
maker of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee
Board who, after hearing your testimony and examining
the supporting evidence, decides whether your
claim is credible. That is why it is essential
to provide documentary proof of your story, be
well prepared for your hearing and, to ensure
the proper preparation of your case, hire a lawyer
who is an expert in refugee law to assist you
throughout the process.
June 28th 2002, Canada accepts refugees who fear
cruel and unusual punishment, a risk to their
life or torture. However, your claim will not
be accepted if your fear is one of generalized
violence faced by everyone in the country, if
it is based on a need for medical treatment, or
if you are able obtain protection from the authorities
in any part of your country. Furthermore if the
Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board believes
that you are a member of a terrorist group, have
participated in human rights violations or committed
serious non-political crimes, you can be excluded
from refugee protection.
you are a citizen/national of more than one country,
then you must explain why you cannot obtain protection
in any of your countries of citizenship/nationality.
If you are able to automatically obtain protection
in a country different from your current country
of residence, you could be denied protection in
long do I have to wait until I have a decision?
Processing times now average between 4
to 8 months.
can I do if I am refused?
You would have the right to remain in
Canada while you apply for an appeal
to the Federal Court, and make submissions for
a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment. You may also make
an application for Permanent Residence in Canada based
upon humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
have the right to work while waiting for the decision?
YES, almost from the beginning of the refugee
my children allowed to attend school?
Yes. Children of refugee claimants may
attend public elementary and high schools free
we eligible for medical coverage?
The federal government guarantees free
emergency medical coverage for those who cannot
afford to buy their own medical insurance. Some
medical clinics also offer free check ups to refugee
true that Canada has closed its borders to refugees coming
form the USA
Since the end of 2004, many asylum seekers
located in the United States
have not been able to make refugee claims at the
U.S-Canada land border. This is what is commonly
referred to as the "Safe Third County Agreement".
However, there are many exceptions
to this agreement.
law does not apply to
For claims made at the
US-Canada land border, the law does not apply
- Children under 18 who are not
accompanied by their parents and whose parents
are not in the U.S.A.,
Refugee claimants who have extended
family members in Canada , including parents, grandparents,
children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews,
uncles and aunts.
Refugee claimants from the following
countries currently under a moratorium:
Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Burundi, Haiti, Iraq, Liberia, Afghanistan , and the
Democratic Republic of Congo.
Refugee claimants (such as Mexicans)
who are required to obtain a visitor visa
to the USA but not to Canada
All claimants who meet these
exceptions are eligible to apply for refugee
status in Canada
THIRD COUNTRY AGREEMENT: IMPACT ON REFUGEE
are the exceptions to the safe third country
You can still make a refugee claim in
Canada at a land border point:
o A spouse or common-law partner*
o A legal guardian
o A child
o A father or mother
o A brother or sister
o A grandfather or grandmother
o A grandchild
o An uncle or aunt
o A nephew or niece
and that family member is:
o A Canadian citizen
o A permanent resident
o A protected person (i.e. determined
to be a refugee or a person in need of protection)
o Accepted in principle on humanitarian
and compassionate rounds (removal order stayed
Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations 233)
18 years of age or over and is a refugee claimant
(and the claim has not been rejected, withdrawn,
found abandoned or ineligible)
18 years of age or over and is in
Canada on a work permit or study
permit (but check the exceptions)
* a common law partner is a person
(of the same or opposite sex) with whom you
are cohabiting in a conjugal relationship
and have cohabited for at least a year.
- If you are under 18 years, you
are not accompanied by your father, mother
or legal guardian, you are unmarried and
neither your mother, father nor legal
guardian is in Canada or the US.
If you are a national of a country
to which Canada has temporarily suspended removals
, Burundi , Democratic Republic of Congo,
Haiti, Iraq, Liberia, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe).
This exception does not apply if you
are inadmissible to Canada on criminality
If you have been charged with
or convicted of an offence punishable
with the death penalty in the country
where the charge or conviction was made.
(However, you may be ineligible to make
a claim on grounds of criminality).
If you have a valid visa to
enter Canada, other than a transit visa.
If you come from a country for
whose nationals Canada does not require
a visa but the US does (currently Antigua
and Barbuda, Barbados, Botswana, Cyprus,
Greece, Malta, Mexico, Namibia, Papua
New Guinea, Republic of (South) Korea,
St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St.
Vincent, Solomon Islands, Swaziland,
How can I prove that I meet one of the exceptions?
If you arrive at a border point and
make a refugee claim, an immigration officer
will interview you to see if you meet any
of the exceptions. The officer will take
into account what you say and will look
at any documents you provide. The
officer may also do some research:
For example, if you say you have
a family member in Canada, the officer will
look for that person in the immigration
databases and may try to speak
to them on the telephone.
You should try to bring with you documents
that show you meet an exception. If
you have a family member in Canada
, you should know how to contact that person
on the day you make your claim in Canada .
will happen if an immigration officer decides
I meet an exception but later it turns out
not to be true?
Deliberately giving false information to an immigration officer can have
very serious consequences. If you
falsely claim to meet one of the exceptions
and the Canadian government later finds
out that you did not answer the questions
truthfully, the Canadian government can
take away your right to make a refugee claim
(Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
the Safe Third Country rule apply to all
refugee claimants arriving from the US ?
No, the rule applies only if you make a refugee claim at a land port of entry.
The rule does not apply if you arrive by air or by water; claims made at an airport, port or ferry landing are
not affected by the safe third country rule,
even though you arrived from the US .
The rule does not apply to claims made inside
Canada . If
you enter Canada
from the US
and later make a refugee claim at an immigration
Canada , you are not affected by
the Safe Third
I have made an asylum application in the
, does this affect my right to make a claim
in Canada ?
No. If you meet one of the exceptions to the Safe Third Country rule, you can make a claim in Canada whether or not you have applied for asylum
in the US
can I get advice on my own case?
Vermont Refugee Assistance:
email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Freedom House, Detroit
Tel. 313-964-4320 ext*833,
VIVE, Buffalo, Tel. 716-892-4354
Committee to Aid Refugees, Montreal,
Tel. 514-272-6060, ext 5
(for people destined to Montreal or elsewhere in Quebec)
FCJ Hamilton House, Toronto
email firstname.lastname@example.org (for people
destined to Toronto),
for documents of the Canadian Council for
Refugees opposing the Safe Third Country
Agreement and analyzing its likely impacts,
go to http://www.web.net/ccr/
we apply for Refugee protection from outside
Yes, if you are outside your country,
but this is a very long and difficult process
in most cases. You must first apply to the
United Nations High Commission for Refugees
(UNHCR). You usually have to show that you
will be economically successful in
. Also, the refugee
definition is more restrictive. You
do not have the right to a lawyer at your
interview, and the waiting period could
be many years. You must also show that you
cannot be settled in your country of present
To discuss your case in
all confidentiality, we invite you to call
us. Please be informed that a consultation
fee is applicable.