Refuge / Asylum Application
Canada has a proud tradition of protecting persons who are at risk of serious harm, and who cannot get protection in their own country. Recent changes in the immigration laws make it clear that this protection is not limited to those who might qualify as refugees according to the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees, but also applies to potential victims under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), and persons who face a threat to their life or cruel and unusual treatment.
A refugee (or person needing protection) is a person who fears returning to his country of origin, for a variety of reasons. Some of the legitimate reasons for fear may be danger of being tortured, fear of cruel or unusual punishment or treatment and fear of persecution. Some claimants may be unable to return to their home country (involuntary exile, etc.) Fear of persecution may result from 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. However, there must be a true basis for the fear.
Claims for protection can be made from within or outside of Canada. The Canadian government assesses each claim on its own merits, and according to specific legal criteria. Claims made outside of Canada are assessed by a visa officer on the basis of written submissions and, usually, an interview. Claims made inside Canada are usually heard at independent tribunal hearings. However, some claims made inside Canada are considered ineligible for the tribunal hearing, and are considered by an immigration officer, usually on the basis of written supporting material.