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HOW CAN I MAKE A REFUGEE CLAIM?

You can make a refugee claim at a Canadian border or airport, or from within Canada.

Anyone who plans to make a refugee claim should try to get help from a lawyer or a community legal clinic.

The Halifax Refugee Clinic offers free legal help to those who can not afford a lawyer.

Who can get refugee protection

To get refugee protection in Canada, you must go through the refugee claim process. In this process, the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) decides whether you are a protected person. The IRB is not part of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) or the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

There is an overview of the refugee claim process below.

A protected person is someone who meets the definition of a Convention refugee or a person in need of protection.

To be a Convention refugee, you must be someone who has a well-founded fear of being persecuted in your home country because of your:

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

And, you cannot return or do not want to return to your country because of your fear and the conditions there.

Refugee claims can be based on persecution by government authorities. For claims based on persecution by others, you must show that the government in your home country is unable or unwilling to protect you.

To be a person in need of protection, you must be someone who, if you had to return to your home country, would more likely than not face:

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

If you face a risk to your life, or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment, you must show all of the following:

  • You are not able to get protection from the government in your country.
  • The risk affects you personally, and is not faced generally by other people in your country. For example, the risk is not the result of a famine or civil war.
  • The risk is not the result of government laws, such as punishment for committing a crime, unless these laws violate international standards.
  • The risk is not caused by the fact that you cannot get adequate medical care in your country.
To be either a Convention Refugee or a person in need of protection, you also need to show that there is no place in your country where you would be able to go and be safe from persecution or from the risk that you face.

It is up to you to convince the IRB that you are a Convention refugee or a person in need of protection. You do this by telling your story to the IRB and providing any documents that support your case. For example, you might provide identity documents, police reports, medical records, or other documents that help show that your story is true. You might also provide documents, such as human rights reports or newspapers, that show what is happening in your country.