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Canada Refugee Claim – A Detailed Walkthrough


The content of this material is intended to be information only. Should you wish to obtain legal advice, please contact us at [email protected] or 403-476-2011.

We caution you against using or relying upon any information contained herein without first seeking legal advice regarding your matter.

In-Canada Asylum System (ICAS)

During the ICAS, there will be 3 different stages with the:  

First Point of Contact

  • Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA),  
  • Immigration Refugees Citizenship Canada (IRCC)

Refugee Determination

  • Refugee Protection Division (RPD)


  • Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)
  • Immigration Refugees Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
  • Refugee Appeal Division
  • Federal Court

First Point of Contact/First Steps

1.  Fill out the Application

Claims are accepted orally or in writing at port of entry (CBSA) or Inland office (IRCC)

2.  Review and Examination

This phase assesses admissibility including background security checks and biometric information.  

3.  Interview

The interview will determine whether the claimant may be eligible under IRPA s 101 within 3 days or claim is deemed referred under s 100(3).

During this phase, an issue notice of eligibility / notice of referral may become available. 

Refugee Protection Division Process

Referral to RPD

This stage will include:

  • Notice of eligibility/referral
  • Tribunal record
  • Receipt of Basis of Claim Form:
  • From claimant within 15 days (if from POE)
  • From office with notice of eligibility


Review the case, research and prepare for hearing. 

Refugee Hearing

After submission by the claimant, questions will be asked from the Member.   During this stage, the hearing and decision will also be done by the Member.  A notice of decision and reason will also be announced.

Basis of Claim Form

The Basis of a Claim Form is the key document used by the RPD to:

  • Identify the key issues
  • Know about the Claimant and his or her background
  • Prepare research and information about the claimant’s country conditions
  • Ask questions arising from the Basis of Claim during the hearing

Three Refugee Hearing Streams

RPD proceedings are generally:

  • Held in private
  • Recorded
  • In English or French (interpreters are available)
  • Inquisitorial

You can have legal representation during RPD proceedings. 

Decision and Reasons

Sometimes when the case is very strong, the RPD can render the decision and reasons orally at the end of the hearing.  The RPD must issue a written decision called the notice of decision with written reasons.  If your case is unsuccessful, and thereby a negative decision is rendered, then your refugee protection is ceased.

Reasons for Outcomes

There can be multiple reasons to why you were accepted or rejected:


  • Claim allowed because the claimant is found to be a Convention refugee; or
  • Claim allowed because the claimant is found to be a person in need of protection.


  • Claim rejected because the claimant is neither a Convention refugee nor a person in need of protection;
  • The claim rejected because the claimant has credibility issue; or
  • Claim rejected because there is no fear of persecution.


If Claim Accepted

  • Convention refugee or person in need of protection
  • Apply for Permanent Residence (PR) for self and family members in Canada or abroad (Exception may apply) 
  •  Principle of non-refoulement applies 

If Claim Rejected

  • Conditional removal order may take effect.
  • Voluntary departure
  • 15 days to apply to the RAD or for Judicial review
  • Apply for Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA)

Pre-Removal Risk Assessment Program (PRRA)

PRRA is IRCC-managed program for people about to be removed, not an appeal.

The IRB Risk may be assessed when:

  • Pre-determination: When not eligible for referral
  • Post-determination: When claim has been rejected

Successful “applicants” may apply for permanent residence.  If unsuccessful, removal arrangements proceed, and applicant must leave Canada.

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