Canadian Policy on Refugees  

Canada is a signatory of the United Nations' 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. The Convention refugee definition, as presented in the Geneva Convention, is incorporated into Canada's Immigration Act. Convention refugees are persons with a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. They are either: outside the country of their nationality and are unable or, by reason of that fear, unwilling to be protected by that country; or not having a country of nationality, are outside the country of their former habitual residence and are unable or, by reason of that fear, unwilling to return to that country.

A refugee claimant is a person who has arrived in Canada and seeks Convention refugee status. A claim may be made upon arrival at the port of entry or by someone already in Canada, whether as a legal visitor or without legal status, by notifying an immigration officer. A refugee claimant receives Canada's protection when he or she is found to be a Convention refugee as defined by the United Nations' 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and its 1967 Protocol. Under the Convention a refugee is protected from forced repatriation to the place where he or she would face persecution. The following categories of persons are not eligible: persons recognized as Convention refugees by another country to which they can be returned; persons already considered Convention refugees according to Canada's Immigration Act or Regulations; persons who have arrived in Canada from a prescribed country. A prescribed country is one which does not return refugees to nations where their life or freedom would be threatened for reasons of race, religion, nationality or membership in a particular social group or political opinion (to date there is no list of prescribed countries); persons who have been found ineligible by a senior immigration officer or have been determined not to be a refugee by the Immigration and Refugee Board (this provision does not apply to persons who have been subsequently out of Canada for more than 90 days); persons who have been convicted of serious criminal offences or to be terrorists, subversives, or war criminals, and whom the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has determined should not be in Canada because they pose a danger to Canadians or the national interest. persons subject to an unexecuted removal order A senior immigration officer first decides whether a person is eligible to have a claim determined by the Refugee Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). If an eligible claimant is found to have been convicted of a criminal offence, the senior immigration officer may then reconsider the claimant's eligibility. A senior immigration officer may also reconsider a claimant's positive eligibility if that decision was based on fraud or misrepresentation. The claimant will be notified and allowed to respond to the evidence of fraud or misrepresentation. The evidence may show that the claimant would have been found ineligible if it were not for the fraud or misrepresentation. The senior immigration officer will then change the positive determination to a negative one and notify the IRB Refugee Division. The Refugee Division will then stop considering the claim. If the Refugee Division has already presented a decision, that decision becomes null and void.

When the Refugee Division rejects a claim, it sends a written notice to the claimant explaining the reasons for the decision. Documents are included with this notice that explain the unsuccessful claimant's options with regard to leaving Canada. The unsuccessful claimant then has 30 days to depart the country voluntarily. The claimant has 15 days to file an application for leave (permission) to commence an application for judicial review by the Trial Division of the Federal Court. A judge of that court will decide if leave will be granted. With certain exceptions, a person has the right to remain in Canada pending the outcome of the judicial review. The Federal Court decision may be appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal only if the judge who rendered the decision states that a serious question of general importance is involved. Under exceptional circumstances, unsuccessful refugee claimants may also allege that their treatment violated an international convention that Canada has signed, such as the Convention Against Torture, by filing a complaint with the appropriate international body.

If claimants receive a negative decision to Convention refugee status by the IRB Refugee Division, yet feel they would be at risk on return to their country of origin, they may apply for a review to determine if they are members of the Post-Determination Refugee Claimants in Canada Class (PDRCC). The PDRCC class was established in 1993 as an element of Canada's public policy concerning refugee claimants. The PDRCC regulations were amended in May 1997. This policy addresses the belief that persons who may be exposed to compelling personal risk if removed from Canada should have the opportunity to apply for permanent residence from within Canada. This review is conducted by a specialist called a Post-Claim Determination Officer (PCDO). After notification of the IRB Refugee Division decision, applicants have 15 days, plus mailing time, to submit this application. They may then present submissions in support of the application to show the extent of any risk faced on removal from Canada, and whether the threat exists in all parts of the country to which the applicant could be returned. The decision may be made after 30 days, whether or not submissions have been received. The Post-Claim Determination Officer's assessment of each individual case is considered according to the regulations that define the class. The risk faced by each claimant must be objectively identifiable and involve the possibility of risk to his or her life, extreme sanctions, or inhumane treatment. The PDRCC class does not include persons: whom the Refugee Division found not to have a credible basis for their claim; who withdrew their claim or whose claim was declared abandoned; who have left Canada since their claims were decided; who have been convicted of a serious crime (sentenced to 10 years or more under any act of Parliament); who have committed war crimes or crimes against peace or humanity, or who have been found guilty of acts contrary to the purpose and principles of the United Nations; or who have departed and returned to Canada from a contiguous territory (United States, St. Pierre and Miquelon) to file a second refugee claim within six months of the date of departure.

Unsuccessful refugee claimants who want to have their cases reviewed on humanitarian or compassionate grounds may apply under subsection 114(2) of the Immigration Act and pay the cost-recovery fees. Immigration officers at local offices have the authority to consider applications for permanent residence in Canada under subsection 114(2). In exceptional circumstances, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration may also decide to review a case on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

When a person is referred to the IRB Refugee Division, a senior immigration officer may issue a conditional departure order against that person. The order takes effect only if the claimant: withdraws or abandons the claim to be a Convention refugee; is determined not to be a Convention refugee; or despite being a Convention refugee, does not have the right to remain in Canada.

Refugee claimants are eligible, in certain circumstances, to apply for employment authorization. Generally, only those who could not subsist without public assistance are eligible for employment authorization. The claimant must also submit a personal information form to the IRB, and have completed the medical examination. Education Refugee claimants and their children are eligible to apply for student authorization so that they can attend school while waiting for a decision on their claims. Health Services The Interim Federal Health Program, administered by CIC, ensures emergency and essential health services for needy refugee claimants and those refugees in Canada who are not yet covered by provincial health care.

Sometimes refugees are unable to obtain identity documents due to sustained civil war in their country of origin or the lack of a central government authority. Canada has established the Undocumented Convention Refugee in Canada Class (UCRCC) Regulations to handle such cases. These regulations permit citizens of Somalia and Afghanistan to apply for landing, without meeting the requirement for identity documents, five years after the IRB decision that they are Convention refugees.

Samintel Technologies provides assistance in every aspect for refugees those who want to become a status of refugee.

 
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