Backgrounder — Processing of Asylum Claims

On December 15, 2012, the Government of Canada will begin processing asylum claims following the passage of two pieces of legislation – the Balanced Refugee Reform Act (June 2010) and the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act (June 2012).

The table below provides information regarding asylum claims that have been submitted. This information applies equally to people from designated countries of origin (DCOs), as well as non-DCO claimants, except where noted.

Scenarios (as of December 15, 2012) Next Steps

Any person who made an asylum claim prior to December 15, 2012, but whose claim has not yet been referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) for a hearing.

Claims will be heard by the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) at the IRB under the time lines of the new system.

Most claimants will receive a hearing at the IRB within 60 days.

If a claimant is from a designated country of origin (DCO), asylum claims will be heard within 30-45 days depending on where the individual made the refugee claim (i.e., at an inland immigration office or a port of entry).

A DCO is a generally non-refugee producing country which respects human rights and offers state protection. See the backgrounder on DCOs for more information on the designation process.

Claimants will be required to complete the new Basis of Claim form which will be available on the IRB website.

If a person has a pending asylum claim, they cannot apply for humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) consideration. They must first withdraw their asylum claim prior to the RPD hearing (i.e., before substantive evidence is heard).

*In the event of a negative decision, some individuals will have access to the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD). Those who do not have access to the RAD could ask the Federal Court to review the decision.

Depending on the circumstances, individuals may also be barred from submitting an application for a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) and/or requesting H&C consideration.

This means that for most failed asylum claimants, there is no access to a (PRRA) or H&C for 12 months following a final decision on their claim.

For claimants from a DCO, the bar on accessing a (PRRA) will be extended to 36 months.

Any person who made an asylum claim prior to December 15, 2012, and who has had their claim referred to the IRB, but have not yet had a hearing before the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) at the IRB.

Claims will be heard by the RPD at the IRB by either a public servant or a Governor in Council (GIC) decision maker.

The new time lines for a hearing do not apply.

If a person has a pending asylum claim, they cannot apply for H&C consideration. They must first withdraw their asylum claim prior to the RPD hearing (i.e., before substantive evidence is heard).

*In the event of a negative decision, individuals will not have access to the RAD, but could ask the Federal Court to review the decision.

Depending on the circumstances, individuals may also be barred from submitting an application for a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) and/or requesting H&C consideration.

A person whose asylum claim has been heard by the current GIC decision makers before December 15, 2012, but no decision has been made.

The decision will be made by the GIC decision maker who heard the claim.

However, if that GIC decision maker is unavailable (e.g., their term may have expired), the claim may be re-heard by either a public servant or another GIC decision maker.

*In the event of a negative decision, individuals will not have access to the RAD, but they can ask the Federal Court to review the decision.

Depending on the circumstances, individuals may also be barred from submitting an application for a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) and/or requesting H&C consideration.

A person whose asylum claim was rejected under the previous system (i.e., prior to December 15, 2012).

*Individuals will not have access to the RAD, but they can ask the Federal Court to review the decision.

Depending on the circumstances, individuals may also be barred from submitting an application for a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) and/or requesting H&C consideration.

A person whose asylum claim was rejected under the previous system (i.e., prior to December 15, 2012) but has their claim sent back for a re-determination at the IRB after judicial review after the new system has come into effect.

The asylum claim will be heard by a public servant decision maker.

If a person has a pending asylum claim, they cannot apply for H&C consideration. They must first withdraw their asylum claim prior to the RPD hearing (i.e., before substantive evidence is heard).

*Following a final IRB decision, individuals do not have access to the RAD. Depending on the circumstances, individuals may also be barred from submitting an application for a pre-removal risk assessment ((PRRA)) and/or requesting H&C consideration.

A failed asylum claimant has a pending application for H&C consideration (filed prior to June 28, 2012).

The H&C application will continue to be considered by CIC.

For New Claimants

Individuals who make an asylum claim after December 15, 2012, will be required to use the new Basis of Claim form available on the IRB web site after December 3, 2012.

*See notice on the Refugee Appeal Division

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