The Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) decides on refugee claims made in Canada. Applicants must prove to the IRB that they are Convention Refugees or Vulnerable. If the application is successful, the applicant is considered a protected person and can apply for permanent residence.

Convention refugee

A Convention refugee must show a well-founded fear of being persecuted based on at least one of these things: 

  • race
  • religion
  • nationality
  • political opinion
  • Membership in a particular social group — for example, someone might belong to a social group based on their gender, sexual orientation, or relationship to a politically active family member.

A Convention refugee may fear being persecuted by government authorities or others. A claimant who fears persecution by others must show that their government cannot or will not protect them.

Person in need of protection

A person in need of protection is someone who would likely face at least one of these things if they were forced to return to their home country:

  • torture
  • risk to their life
  • a chance of cruel and unusual treatment
  • a threat of cruel and unusual punishment

If the claim is based on one of the last three situations of risk, they must show all of the following:

  • Their government will not adequately protect them.
  • The risk affects them personally. It is not a general risk faced by others in the country. For example, the risk is not the result of famine or civil war.
  • The risk is not a result of laws such as; penalties for committing crimes, except where these laws do not comply with international standards.
  • There is no risk arising from their country’s inability to provide them with the health care they need unless it is due to persecution or discrimination.

Receiving a decision on a refugee claim

Positive decision

Upon receiving a favourable decision on their refugee claim, claimants receive protected person status with the full spectrum of federally funded settlement services becoming available to them. A refugee claims lawyer understands that a favourable Pre-Removal Risk Assessment decision also results in protected person status for the individual in most cases. It would be best if you reached out to your refugee claims lawyer in Toronto. In most cases, individuals can stay in Canada and apply to become permanent residents. These support services include:

  • needs assessment and referrals,
  • information and orientation to help newcomers make informed settlement decisions,
  • language assessment and training to help adult newcomers function in Canadian society and contribute to the economy,
  • support for finding and retaining employment, including referrals to assess foreign credentials, and
  • providing connections whereby newcomers can meet people and better integrate into their new communities.

Negative decision

If the Refugee Protection Division rejects a claim, individuals may appeal the decision to the Refugee Appeal Division of the IRB. If individuals have no right to appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division, they can ask the Federal Court to review the decision.

A refugee claims lawyer in Toronto recognizes that once all avenues of appeal have been exhausted, the conditional removal order issued at the time the refugee claim was initially made becomes enforceable to allow for the removal of the individuals.

Failed refugee claimants under removal orders may not be eligible for social assistance, depending on the province. Please get in touch with the provinces directly for more information.

The CBSA is mandated to remove all foreign nationals, regardless of citizenship, who are found inadmissible to Canada and subject to an enforceable removal order.

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