Refugee Claims

The Refugee Protection Division (RPD) determines claims for refugee protection made within Canada.

How do claims for protection make their way to the IRB?

All claims for protection made within Canada are received by a Canada Border Services Agency immigration officer at a port of entry (border, airport, port) or at a Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Immigration Centre. All claims deemed eligible by the officers are referred to the IRB for a hearing.

Why does the RPD have to hear the claims referred by CIC?

Canada is a signatory to several international agreements, including the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Under these three agreements, Canada must process all claims for protection made within Canada.

For whom does the RPD provide protection?

Under the above agreements, the RPD must provide protection for:

  • "Convention refugees", and
  • "persons in need of protection".

Who is a "Convention refugee"?

Within the meaning of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, refugees are persons who are outside the country of their nationality and have a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of

  • race,
  • religion,
  • nationality,
  • political opinion, or
  • membership of a particular social group.

Who is a "person in need of protection"?

Under a number of conventions, persons in need of protection are persons whose removal to their country of origin would subject them personally to:

  • a danger of torture,
  • a risk to their life, or
  • a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

The RPD's role is to determine which claimants are Convention refugees or persons in need of protection.

If the RPD grants "Convention Refugee" status or "protected person" status…

The claimant receives the status of "protected person" and can apply for permanent residence in Canada, and, eventually, for citizenship at CIC.

If the RPD does not grant "Convention Refugee" status or "protected person" status…

The claimant can be removed from Canada.

The claimant can:

  • submit an appeal of its RPD decision to the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) of the IRB (some restrictions exist on who can appeal),
  • ask the Federal Court for permission to apply for judicial review,
  • ask for a pre-removal review by CIC, or
  • ask for a humanitarian and compassionate review by CIC.

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