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Canada offers refugee protection in Canada to those who fear persecution and who are unwilling or unable to return to their home country.

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.

Convention refugee

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: 

  • Race

  • Religion

  • 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.



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 have been convicted of a serious crime;

  • 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.


In addition, people who are subject to a removal order cannot make a refugee claim. You can apply for refugee protection at any time, as long as you are not subject to a removal order. To apply, you must complete the required forms and take them to an IRCC office

Excluded person:


A person who cannot be considered a Convention refugee or a person in need of protection because he or she has committed a serious, non‑political crime outside Canada, a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, and people who are guilty of acts that are contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations. It also includes people who do not need protection because they live in a country where they have rights and obligations that are similar to those of a citizen of that country.





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