An application to cease or vacate a resettled refugee’s protected person status should only be made when there is very strong prima facie evidence to justify such proceedings.
It would go against the objectives of the resettlement program, which aims to fully integrate resettled refugees into Canadian society and to provide a lasting solution to their displacement, if a climate of fear were created due to the potential loss of protected person status.
Cessation: clarification and examples
The following examples of situations when a case could be referred for further investigation are intended as guidance only. Each case must be assessed based on the individual facts.
A resettled refugee immediately returns to their country of origin
This could be grounds for investigation. The officer should try to find out why the refugee returned and for what length of time, and whether they voluntarily re-availed themselves of the protection of the country and/or re-established themselves in that country.
An individual eventually returns to their country of origin due to improved country conditions
CIC does not usually pursue cessation against a refugee for changed country conditions when the individual has become a permanent resident of Canada. Improved country conditions [A108(1)(e)] is omitted from the cessation grounds that lead to loss of permanent residence in A46(1)(c.1).
For a misrepresentation to be considered relevant, it must directly relate to the validity of the refugee claim. Even if there was misrepresentation, if the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) finds that there was other evidence that was considered at the time of first determination that would be enough to justify refugee protection, the RPD may reject the Minister’s application for vacation.
The officer must determine what facts are material to the refugee claim, and consider whether or not facts other than those that were misrepresented were sufficient for granting protection.
Verification of documents sometimes reveals that they are fraudulent; however, this should not automatically lead to an application for vacation. Such documents may not be material and/or relevant and/or may not have resulted in an error in administration of the Act (see ENF 2, Section 10.6 (PDF, 604 KB)).
Some refugees obtain fraudulent documents in order to gain a sense of protection and/or insurance against being stopped and harassed by authorities in the country of asylum. Refugees may also obtain fraudulent documents as a last resort in situations in which it is very hard or impossible to secure authentic identification.
Fraudulent documents not material to the claim
An individual submits a refugee status determination (RSD) document issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The visa officer acknowledges that the individual has been found to be a refugee by the UNHCR. The visa officer interviews the applicant and concludes that he is a refugee: the officer is satisfied that the applicant belongs to a minority ethnic group that is persecuted in his country of origin and that he fled his country for that reason. The individual is accepted and resettled to Canada. Sometime later, CIC learns that the applicant submitted a fraudulent UNHCR RSD document.
Conclusion: While the fraudulent UNHCR RSD document is a relevant matter, since the visa officer came to her own conclusion that there was other sufficient evidence to justify protection; the case should not be referred for investigation [A109(2)]. The visa officer reviewed all the evidence presented, including the applicant’s testimony, and determined that there was sufficient evidence to justify protection. The visa officer concluded that the individual met the eligibility and admissibility criteria for resettlement to Canada based on all the facts presented.
Fraudulent documents possibly material to the claim
An applicant presents military service records that indicate that he was a cook while serving under conscription in his country of origin. After being resettled to Canada, CIC learns that the individual had a lengthy and undisclosed military history, that the military records presented at the interview were fraudulent, and that there are allegations that the individual was involved in massive human rights violations while in the military.
Conclusion: Allegations that an individual deliberately concealed information that could have made them inadmissible to Canada are grounds for an investigation.
Refugees are often in vulnerable situations with limited access to trustworthy information, and they will often rely on rumours about what they should (and should not) say at an interview. They may think, for example, that their refugee story is not dramatic enough on its own, and may exaggerate their narrative. While recognizing that not all aspects of the refugee narrative are truthful, a visa officer may nevertheless determine that an individual meets the refugee definition and is in need of resettlement.
Exaggerated refugee narrative
In his application, an individual states that he fled his country when his house was bombed. He says that he is fearful of returning to his country because of ongoing persecution of his minority group. The visa officer approves the individual for resettlement, noting that the individual is a member of a persecuted religious minority. After the individual has landed in Canada, a CIC officer becomes aware of information that suggests that the man’s house was never bombed.
Conclusion: While the bombing incident was relevant to the individual’s claim for protection, it was not the material fact upon which refugee protection was granted. Refugee protection was granted based on the man’s ongoing fear of persecution in his country of origin based on his identity as a member of a religious minority. As such, this case should not be referred for investigation.
At the interview, a woman states that she is a widow with three young children and no male protection, and that she fled her country after she openly criticized the government and was subsequently targeted by the regime. The visa officer determines that the woman meets the refugee definition and is in need of resettlement and approves her application. After arriving in Canada, the woman admits to a CIC officer that her husband is alive and that she wants to sponsor him.
Conclusion: Although the woman was untruthful about being a widow, this information is not material to her claim for refugee protection and is therefore not a relevant matter. The spouse would be excluded from the family class [R117(9)(d)].
Concealed inadmissible family member
An applicant states that she is a widow with three young children and that she fled her country after she openly criticized the government. She says that she was subsequently targeted by the regime and that lack of male protection is an important factor in her fear of persecution. The visa officer determines that the woman meets the refugee definition and is in need of resettlement, and approves her application. After arriving in Canada, the woman admits to a CIC officer that her husband is alive and that she wants to sponsor him. CIC finds information that indicates that the husband was complicit in war crimes.
Conclusion: If the woman’s husband was found to be complicit in war crimes and found to be inadmissible, the woman and children would be inadmissible as well [A42(a)]. Since the woman deliberately concealed information that would have been material to her claim and could have made her inadmissible to Canada, this may be grounds for an investigation. The officer must consider whether or not there was sufficient other evidence to justify protection for the woman before referring the file for consideration for vacation.
A refugee visited their country of origin prior to resettlement
An individual applies for resettlement and states that he has been living in his country of asylum for 10 years and has never returned to his country of origin. The individual is accepted for resettlement to Canada. At a later date, a CIC officer receives information suggesting that, before coming to Canada, the individual had returned to his country of origin many times.
Conclusion: Many refugees return to their home country temporarily for a variety of reasons (e.g., to visit sick relatives, to tie up business, to see the situation and assess whether or not it is safe to repatriate). Such returns do not necessarily mean that they can safely re-establish in that country, so the misrepresentation may not be with regard to material facts. If the individual returned home and re-established for extended periods, the facts may be material because they indicate that protection was not justified, and it may be appropriate to refer this case for an investigation.
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