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.
Note – if you are under a removal order, you cannot make a refugee claim.
Officers who review your refugee claim will decide if it will be referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The IRB is an independent board that decides immigration and refugee matters.
The IRB decides who is a Convention refugee or a person in need of protection.
Convention refugees are outside their home country or the country they normally live in. They are not able to return because of a well-founded fear of persecution based on:
- political opinion
- nationality, or
- membership in a social group, such as women or people of a particular sexual orientation.
A person in need of protection is a person in Canada who cannot return to their home country safely. This is because if they return, they would be subject to a:
- danger of torture
- risk to their life, or
- risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
Your refugee claim may not be eligible to be referred to the IRB if you:
- have been recognized as a Convention refugee by another country that you can return to.
- have already been granted protected person status in Canada.
- arrived via the Canada-United States border.
- are not admissible to Canada on security grounds, or because of criminal activity or human rights violations.
- made a previous refugee claim that was not found eligible.
- made a previous refugee claim that was rejected by the IRB.
- abandoned or withdrew a previous refugee claim.
The IRB website has more about making an asylum claim in Canada.
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).
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