Are you a refugee or a person in need of protection?

An individual may be considered as a refugee from the Convention if he or she has a well-founded fear of persecution upon returning to his or her country of citizenship or legal permanent residence. The international community acknowledges five types of persecution: race, ethnicity, nationality, membership of a specific social group (e.g. gender, sexual orientation, etc.) and political opinion. The fear of persecution must be one of these five forms to claim refugee status. The person must demonstrate that their country is unable or unwilling to provide them adequate state protection.

A new Refugee Appeal Division (RAD)

Changes to the asylum system came into effect on December 15, 2012, with the goal of improving efficiency in making quicker decisions, deterring abuse resettling more refugees, facilitating transition to life in Canada, and more quickly removing unsuccessful refugee claimants. Changes to the system include: a list of Designated Countries of Origin (DCO); these are countries that do not normally produce refugees and are under pressure to respect human rights and provide state protection–processing times are estimated at 30–45 days for claimants from these countries; 60 days for other claimants–for a list of DCOs, please check below.

Designated Countries of Origin (DCO)

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Chile
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel (excludes Gaza and the West Bank)
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovak Republic
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Slovenia

A new Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) at the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), allowing 15 days to file a Notice of Appeal once the written reasons for the decision are received from the Refugee Protection Division.

  • Hearings will no longer be conducted by appointed members but rather by public servant decision-makers
  • Decisions on appeals are expected within 90 days, with failed claimants being removed within 12 months thereafter
  • A bar on accessing pre-removal risk assessments and humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) applications for one year following a final negative IRB decision
  • A new Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) enabling 15 days to file a Notice of Appeal once the written reasons for the decision has been received from the Refugee Protection Division.
  • Hearings will no longer be undertaken by appointed officials, but rather by decision-makers of public servants
  • Decisions on appeals are expected within 90 days. Failed applicants will be withdrawn within 12 months of that date
  • A ban on access to pre-removal risk assessments and humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) applications for one year after the final negative decision of the IRB

The Personal Information Form (PIF) was replaced with the Basis of Claim (BOC) formClaimants from a DCO will have their applications for asylum expedited

A person in need of safety is at risk of punishment or death, cruel and unusual. The individual may also be at risk of torture, which is defined in international law as actions by government agents or actions that were complicit with government agents.

To be deemed a person in need of protection, the individual must demonstrate that the risk they fear is personalized. It can’t be a risk that people in one’s country face in general. A person at risk of being kidnapped or extorted because he or she has money or the risk is not personalized unless there is some characteristic that led to that person, as opposed to all other affluent people, being targeted.