If you are a foreign national in fear of prosecution or are at serious risk of harm if returned to your home country, you might be eligible for seeking refugee status in Canada. Those who are recognized as refugees are allowed to stay in Canada and may apply for permanent residence status, and after some time, may apply to become Canadian citizens. The determination is made by the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board, which is an independent tribunal. As practicing Barristers & Solicitors in the province of British Columbia, we can help you with the process, from the initial application all the way to appeals if necessary.

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The first requirement of making such an application is that you must be a person in need of protection.

A Person in Need of Protection is a person in Canada who, if removed to their home country or country where they normally live, would be personally subjected to:

  • torture;
  • risk to their life; or
  • a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment if:
    • they are not able to get protection from their own government,
    • the person would face the risk in all parts of the country, even though the risk is not faced generally by others in or from that country,
    • the risk is not part of legal penalties (unless those penalties violate international standards), and the risk is not caused by inadequate health or medical care.

Convention Refugee

Those who are living outside their national country and have a fear of prosecution upon return to their countries – as was mentioned above – if s/he has a well-founded fear based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group can become a convention refugee.

Persecution is defined to include such things as death threats, torture, or imprisonment by the government, guerrillas, or other non-government agents such as an abusive husband.

A person making such a claim must show no internal flight alternative [IFA], meaning that they cannot go somewhere in their own country where they would be safe and free from the prosecution they would face otherwise.

If the person is outside of Canada, they can apply under the Convention Refugee Abroad Class. IRCC relies on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), other referral organizations and private sponsoring groups to identify and refer refugees for resettlement in this Class. The visa offices evaluate the referred applications and determine whether the claimant meets the requirements of being a refugee and if the person will be admitted to Canada.

Lastly, Country of Asylum Class

The Country of Asylum Class is for people outside Canada and in refugee-like situations but does not qualify as Convention Refugees. If the person is outside of Canada, they can apply under the Convention Refugee Abroad Class. IRCC relies on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), other referral organizations and private sponsoring groups to identify and refer refugees for resettlement in this Class. The visa offices evaluate the referred applications and determine whether the claimant meets the requirements of being a refugee and if the person will be admitted to Canada.


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