Refugee determination

Scales and courtroomEvery eligible refugee claimant is to entitled to a fair process and has a right to appeal.

Every eligible claimant is entitled to a hearing before an independent tribunal:

  • Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB)

Very short timelines:

  • Must file within 15 days of arrival for port of entry claims
  • Hearing within 60 days of filing (although currently significant delays)

Non-adversarial process:

  • In most cases
  • Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will sometimes intervene

Past criminality not an automatic bar to seeking asylum:

  • Depends on equivalency of offence and sentence in Canada


To succeed, each refugee claimant must prove that the definition of ‘refugee’ is met as per s. 96 or s. 97 of Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

  • Section 96: well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion
  • Section 97: removal to country of origin would subject person to a danger of torture, risk to life, or risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment

Credibility is key – the story must be believed by the IRB decision-maker.


During processing, refugees have access to services

  • Ability to work, study, access healthcare and social assistance

Accepted refugees eligible for permanent residence

  • Process currently takes more than 2 years
  • Canadian citizenship can follow after permanent residence obtained - requires accumulation of 3 years of residence in Canada and payment of taxes in Canada


Appeal available if refused at first-instance

  • Unless STCA Claimant or Designated Foreign National

Pre-Removal Risk Assessment and Humanitarian & Compassionate applications

  • available after 1 year in most cases

Administrative Deferral of Removals (ADRs)

  • Somalia (Middle Shabelle, Afgoye, and Mogadishu), the Gaza Strip, Syria, Mali, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Burundi

Temporary Suspension of Removals (TSRs)

  • Afghanistan, DRC, Iraq