This page focuses on how officers determine who can make a claim for refugee protection both at ports of entry and at inland offices.
- Convention refugee
- Protected person
- Person in need of protection
- Claim for refugee protection
- Serious criminality
- Specified removal order
- Procedure – Claims for refugee protection
- Procedure – Referring claimants to PRRA
- Who can apply for PRRA?
- Procedure – Withdrawal of claims for refugee protection
- Processing Protected Persons’ in-Canada Applications for Permanent Resident Status
A Convention refugee is a person who, by reason of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion:
- is outside each of their countries of nationality and is unable or, by reason of that fear, unwilling to avail of the protection of each of those countries; or
- not having a country of nationality, is outside the country of their former habitual residence and is unable or, by reason of that fear, unwilling to return to that country.
A protected person is a foreign national on whom refugee protection is conferred under A95(1), and whose claim or application has not subsequently been deemed to be rejected.
Person in need of protection
A person in need of protection is a foreign national in Canada whose removal to their country or countries of nationality or, if they do not have a country of nationality, their country of former habitual residence, would subject them personally:
- to a danger, believed on substantial grounds to exist, of torture; or
- to a risk to their life or to a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment if:
♦ the foreign national is unable or, because of that risk, unwilling to avail of the protection of that country;
♦ the risk would be faced by the foreign national in every part of that country and is not faced generally by other individuals in or from that country;
♦ the risk is not inherent or incidental to lawful sanctions, unless imposed in disregard of accepted international standards; and
♦ the risk is not caused by the inability of that country to provide adequate health or medical care.
Claim for refugee protection
A claim for refugee protection may be made in or outside Canada.
Claim inside Canada
A claim for refugee protection made by a foreign national inside Canada must be made to an officer and may not be made by a person who is subject to a removal order.
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) outlines the Canadian immigration policy
objectives. These objectives as they relate to refugees are:
- to recognize that the refugee program is, in the first instance, about saving lives and
offering protection to the displaced and persecuted;
- to fulfil Canada’s international legal obligations with respect to refugees and affirm
Canada’s commitment to international efforts to provide assistance to those in need of resettlement;
- to grant, as a fundamental expression of Canada’s humanitarian ideals, fair consideration to those who come to Canada claiming persecution;
- to offer safe haven to persons with a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group, as well as those at risk of torture or cruel and unusual treatment or punishment;
- to establish fair and efficient procedures that will maintain the integrity of the Canadian refugee protection system, while upholding Canada’s respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all human beings;
- to support the self-sufficiency and the social and economic well-being of refugees by facilitating reunification with their family members in Canada;
- to protect the health and safety of Canadians and to maintain the security of Canadian society; and
- to promote international justice and security by denying access to Canadian territory to foreign nationals, including refugee claimants who are security risks or on grounds of serious criminality.
A claim is ineligible to be referred to the RPD if:
- refugee protection has been conferred on the claimant under the Act;
- a claim for refugee protection by the claimant has been rejected by the Board;
- a prior claim by the claimant was determined to be ineligible to be referred to the RPD, or to have been withdrawn or abandoned;
- the claimant has been recognized as a Convention refugee by a country other than Canada and can be sent or returned to that country;
- the claimant came directly or indirectly to Canada from a country designated by the Regulations, other than a country of their nationality or their former habitual residence; or
- the claimant has been determined to be inadmissible on grounds of security, violating human or international rights, serious criminality or organized criminality.
A claim is not ineligible by reason of serious criminality unless:
- in the case of inadmissibility by reason of a conviction in Canada, the conviction is for an offence under an Act of Parliament punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years and for which a sentence of at least two years was imposed; or
- in the case of inadmissibility by reason of a conviction outside Canada, the Minister [of Citizenship and Immigration (C&I) or the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency preparedness (PSEP)] is of the opinion that the foreign national is a danger to the public in Canada and the conviction is for an offence that, if committed in Canada, would constitute an offence under an Act of Parliament that is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years.
Specified removal order
If a claim for refugee protection is made and the claim has been determined to be eligible to be referred to the RPD or no determination has been made, a departure order is the applicable removal order in the circumstances set out in any of R228(1)(c)(i) and (iii) to (v). R228(3).
If a claim for refugee protection is made and the claim has been determined to be eligible to be referred to the RPD or no determination has been made, a departure order is the applicable removal order.
Procedure – Claims for refugee protection
When can a claim for refugee protection be made?
A claim may be made in Canada at ports of entry or at inland offices at any time throughout the
administrative or admissibility hearing process until a removal order is made. Once the removal order has been issued, access to refugee determination is no longer available. However, claimants may be eligible for PRRA.
Who can make a claim for refugee protection?
Foreign nationals and permanent residents can make claims for protection. As a matter of policy, Canadian citizens cannot. Canadian citizens already enjoy the protection of Canadian citizenship and the accompanying benefit of the unqualified right to return to Canada.
Permanent residents may make claims for protection at an admissibility hearing if a claim is made prior to the issuance of a removal order.
Holders of Temporary Resident Visas
A person who has a valid temporary resident visa who makes a claim for protection may be
considered to be seeking to remain in Canada permanently and may be, unless the officer is satisfied that the claimant meets the requirements of A20(1)(b). Therefore, the officer must believe that the claimant will leave Canada by the end of the period authorized for their stay. A removal order can be issued against the claimant, and the C&I or PSEP Minister can issue that removal order.
What does a person have to do to claim refugee protection?
For the purposes of A99(1), a claim for refugee protection made inside Canada or abroad must be made to an officer. If claimants do not have the language capability to state this in English or
French, the officer may have to question such claimants carefully to determine their intent. The
person must not be subject to a removal order. At ports of entry, claims will generally be made orally, but at inland offices claims may be made orally or in writing.
Procedure – Referring claimants to PRRA
If the officer concludes that the claim will not be determined by the RPD, the officer must then
decide if there is entitlement to a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA). If the claimant expresses a “fear of return” (the expression of “fear of return” does not have to be stated in specific terms such as “I want to make a refugee claim” or “I want to apply for PRRA”)
before a removal order is issued, the officer must then determine if the claimant is entitled to a
PRRA. If the claimant is not entitled to a PRRA, removal arrangements will proceed and the claimant will be removed from the country. If the claimant is entitled to a PRRA, the officer must provide the claimant with both the Confirmation of Entitlement to Apply for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment and an Advance Information Regarding the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment.
The claimant is then permitted to enter Canada. At a later date, they will be called in to a Removal Interview at an office near their place of residence. If the claimant does not express any fear of return, the officer is not obligated to pursue the PRRA option. However, if the claimant expresses fear in any way, whether they use official terminology or not, the officer should explore the PRRA option. If a person expresses a need for protection, the officer must offer an opportunity to have those protection concerns reviewed by the appropriate authority (IRB or PRRA). If the claimant expresses no protection needs, the officer can cancel the stay and proceed with the removal arrangements.
Who can apply for PRRA?
Potential candidates for PRRA may be divided into five overall categories:
- individuals whose claim for refugee protection has been denied, withdrawn or abandoned;
- individuals making repeat claims more than six months after their departure from Canada;
- individuals who are ineligible for refugee determination at the IRB;
- individuals who wish to apply for protection before removal from Canada and have never made a previous claim for refugee protection; and
- repeat PRRA applicants.
Only those persons who are subject to a removal order or a security certificate can apply for PRRA. If a claimant expresses protection needs even if they know they are not eligible because they have made a previous claim, the officer would take a claim for refugee protection and make a negative eligibility decision. This is a decision for an officer to make, not the claimant. The officer would then explore the possibility of PRRA.
A PRRA applicant is treated in the same manner as a refugee claimant.
Procedure – Withdrawal of claims for refugee protection
The claimant should provide a travel document with proof that they are leaving Canada (usually a travel ticket). The officer will:
- photocopy the documents and attach them to the file;
- complete required form IMM 5317B, Withdrawal of a Claim for Refugee Protection prior to Referral to the RPD”;
- complete Voluntary Departure – Confirmation IMM 5021B (the top portion only);
- read the withdrawal letter to the claimant and ensure that the claimant understands the statement and the consequences of the withdrawal;
- once the claimant signs the document, give the claimant the top copy and keep the other copies on file;
- attach a photo to both forms and port stamp the photos.
If the claimant is out of status, they must leave Canada immediately. If in status, the claimant must be counselled to leave upon expiry of their status. Officers will:
- remind the claimant that they must confirm departure with an officer upon departure by checking in with the airline to obtain a boarding card and then presenting the card along with the voluntary departure form;
- enter an NCB in FOSS, and the office holding the refugee file can close the file;
- if the claimant does not confirm departure, the CBSA will issue a warrant for arrest;
- if the claimant does confirm departure, notate on the RR screen that the claimant withdrew the application; select “Otherwise concluded – Code 3” and indicate the date the notation was entered;
- If an A44(1) report was written, it must be concluded; cancel the direction for admissibility determination and in the “DM Disposition” area, state “no direction” – Code 02.
Processing Protected Persons’ in-Canada Applications for Permanent Resident Status
This page describes the processing of in-Canada applications for permanent residence made by protected persons, including Convention refugees and members of the protected temporary residents (PTR) class. It describes the various processing stages including:
- receipt of the application;
- decisions regarding eligibility to apply for permanent residence as a protected person;
- the application process; and
- granting permanent residence to those who meet the requirements.
Applicants who are Quebec residents
Applicants who reside in the Province of Quebec and who are not persons whom the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) has determined to be Convention refugees may become permanent residents only if it is established that the competent authority of that province is of the opinion that they meet the selection criteria of the province. Other protected persons, including members of the PTR class, cannot become permanent residents in Quebec if they have not received a Certificat de sélection from the Province of Quebec.
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