Refugee Protection in Canada
A person may be considered a Convention refugee if they have a well-founded fear of persecution upon return to their country of origin or to the country of their last residence. There are five grounds of persecution recognized by the international community, including persecution due to one’s race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or their political opinion. A person may also qualify for protected status in Canada if that person may be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, or a risk to their lives if they are returned to their country of origin, or to the country of their last residence. For a claim to be successful, there must be a relationship between the persecution the person fears, and the grounds for protection, and they must usually demonstrate that their country cannot offer them protection.
The Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board usually decides, based on the evidence in each case, whether the claim for protection is genuine or not, whether there may be other grounds of persecution, and whether the person’s country is able to offer them protection.
In Canada, refugee claimants are allowed to work and earn a living until their case is heard by the Refugee Protection Division. If their claims are approved, they are allowed to apply for permanent resident status, and may then be allowed to sponsor other members of their family.
Groups in Canada may apply to sponsor refugees and other humanitarian-affected persons abroad to bring them to Canada. Eligible groups are official sponsorship agreement holders, constituent groups authorized by sponsorship agreement holders, groups of five private citizens or permanent residents, or community groups.
Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA)
Persons whose claims for protection are not successful, and are facing removal from Canada, are usually eligible for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment on the basis that if removed they will face persecution or a risk of torture, risk to their life, or risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.