Refugee Protection in Canada

Canada recognizes the imminent need for shelter needed by refugees. A refugee is a person who has fled his or her country of origin because they were in imminent fear of persecution. Refugees cannot return to their home countries and they have already been through so much trauma. As opposed to an immigrant who chooses to permanently resettle in another country, refugees are forced to seek shelter in another country, fleeing their homeland. Canada offers several refugee protection programs to refugees who are either outside the country or who are already within Canada.

What Refugee Protection is Available in Canada?

The Refugee and Humanitarian Program is a Canadian refugee protection program for those who are outside Canada and looking to legally enter the country with refugee protection. Canada has strict laws in place regarding these kinds of resettlement case and each case is carefully scrutinized for any potential security or health concerns. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), in conjunction with private sponsors, first identifies refugees for resettlement. This is a program where the people must be identified for eligibility. A potential refugee cannot himself or herself directly apply for this program. Once identified, the Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) Program matches refugees with private sponsors. These sponsors have signed Sponsorship Agreement Holders with the Canadian Government agreeing to help in the support of these refugees.

There is also the In-Canada Asylum Program available for those individuals making a refugee protection claim from within Canadian borders. To be eligible for this program, the individual seeking protection must have a well-founded fear of persecution in his or her country of origin or be at risk of torture, or cruel and unusual punishment in his or her country of origin. Something such as a prior conviction of a serious crime may disqualify an individual from receiving refugee protection. The Refugee Protection Division (RPD) oversees the determination as to whether an individual is in need of Canadian refugee protection. The RPD will review information you provide in your claim form as well as any other evidence and your testimony at a hearing to decide whether you qualify for the refugee program.

You may make a claim for refugee protection at any Canadian port of entry or an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) office. At a Canadian port of entry, you will complete an eligibility interview with a Canada Border Services Agency officer and complete the application package. If the officer deems you eligible, your claim will be referred to the RPD for a final decision. If you make a claim at an IRCC office, you must bring all completed forms and application package with you. An IRCC officer will determine whether your claim is eligible. If it is deemed eligible, it will be referred to RPD for a final decision.

Early this year, Canadian government proposed Bill C-97, an Amendment to Immigration and Refugee Protection Act by introducing a new ground of ineligibility for refugee protection. A claimant who has previously made a claim for refugee protection in another country with whom Canada has information sharing agreement, are ineligible to apply for refugee protection in Canada. This applies even if the claim is not adjudicated in other country. Most certainly, such a proposal will affect numerous refugee claimants who may seek protection in Canada. We will keep our readers posted about any changes in this aspect of the refugee law.

Providing Legal Counsel to Refugees Seeking Canadian Protection

At NPZ, our U.S and Canadian Immigration Law Specialists seek to assist clients with regard to employment and family immigration issues. If you or your friends or family should have any questions, please feel free to contact us at or you can call our offices at 201-670-000