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About Refugee Law

 Canada has a humanitarian tradition to accept refugees from all over the world, and has one of the most sophisticated Refugee Determination systems. Here's a primer on the refugee determination process in Canada.

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How do I make a refugee claim?

You can make a refugee claim 3 ways:
  • at the port of entry;
  • by going to an Immigration Office in Canada; or
  • by going to an Immigration Office of Canada abroad.
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What is a convention refugee?

In general, a "convention refugee" is a person, who by reason of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion is either:

  1. outside his or her home country, and is unwilling or unable to return because of that fear of persecution;

  2. is stateless, outside the country of his former habitual residence, and is unwilling or unable to return to that country because of that fear of persecution.
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When do I cease to be a convention refugee?

You can cease to be a convention refugee if:

  1. you voluntarily seek the protection of your home country;

  2. you voluntarily reacquire your nationality;

  3. you acquire a new nationality and enjoy the protection of your new country;

  4. you voluntarily go back to establish yourself in the country where you feared persecution; or

  5. the reasons for your fear of persecution in the country that you left ceased to exist.
You can also be excluded from the definition of a Convention refugee if you commit a serious non-political crime, or crimes against peace, humanity, war crimes or crimes contrary to the purposes of the United Nations.

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What are the grounds for persecution?

There are five grounds of persecution found in the definition of Convention refugee. These grounds are race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. If you can't fit your claim into one of these five grounds, you can't make a successful claim.

Who is not eligible to make a refugee claim in Canada?

A person who makes a claim at a port of entry or at a Canadian Immigration Centre in Canada is not eligible to make a refugee claim if a Senior Immigration Officer determines that:

  1. you obtained refugee status in another country, and can go back to that country;

  2. you have already had your claim denied or abandoned;

  3. you have already been determined to be a Convention refugee in Canada;

  4. you have been convicted of serious offences in Canada which may be a danger to the public;

  5. you have been found to be a war criminal or a senior member of a government engaged in terrorism, gross human rights violations or war crimes.
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More questions?

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Legal disclaimer:  The information provided on Lawyers-BC.Com is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues commonly encountered. Your access to and use of this Web site is subject to additional terms and conditions.

This page last updated: November 26, 1999
For more current information in 2004 go to CanadaVisaLaw.com

© copyright 1999 Lawyers-BC.Com Services Ltd.

Updated by Netpac.com 04/01/30