Canada offers refugee protection to people in Canada who fear persecution and who are unwilling or unable to return to their home country.
Some people are not eligible to claim refugee protection in Canada.
Officers receiving your refugee claim will decide whether it is eligible for referral to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB), an independent administrative tribunal that makes decisions on immigration and refugee matters. The IRB decides who is a Convention refugee or a person in need of protection.
Your refugee claim may not be eligible for referral to the IRB if:
- You have been recognized as a Convention refugee by another country to which you can return;
- You have already been granted protected person status in Canada;
- You arrived via the Canada-United States border;
- You are not admissible to Canada on security grounds, or because of criminal activity or human rights violations;
- You made a previous refugee claim that was found to be ineligible for referral to the IRB;
- You made a previous refugee claim that was rejected by the IRB; or
- You abandoned or withdrew a previous refugee claim.
Please see the IRB website to find out more about making an asylum claim in Canada.
In addition, people who are subject to a removal order cannot make a refugee claim.
Safe Third Country Agreement
Canada has an agreement with the United States where people who want to make a refugee claim must do so in the first safe country they arrive in. This means that if you enter Canada at a land border from the United States, you cannot make a refugee claim in Canada. In some cases this rule does not apply (for example, if you have family in Canada).
You may find the following definitions useful as you learn more about refugee claims in Canada.
Convention refugees are people who are outside their home country or the country where they normally live, and who are unwilling to return because of a well-founded fear of persecution based on:
- political opinion;
- nationality; or
- membership in a particular social group, such as women or people of a particular sexual orientation.
Person in need of protection
A person in need of protection is a person in Canada whose removal to their home country or country where they normally live would subject them personally to:
- a danger of torture;
- a risk to their life; or
- a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.