WHAT DO I NEED TO DEMONSTRATE IN MY CLAIM?
You must demonstrate in your claim either:
- That you meet the United Nations (UN) definition of a Convention refugee, or
- That you are a person in need of protection as described in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Convention refugees are people who have a well-founded fear of persecution in their country of nationality. A fear of persecution must be based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Membership in a particular social group can include, but is not limited to, sexual orientation, gender identity, domestic violence and HIV status.
Persons in need of protection must show that if they return to their country that they will personally face danger. This danger could be torture, a risk to their life or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
Basis of Claim Form (BOC Form)
The first opportunity you get of demonstrating that you meet the United Nations (UN) definition of a Convention refugee, or that you are a person in need of protection as described in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is through the BOC Form.
All members of your family who are claiming refugee protection must provide their own BOC Form, even though your claims will be processed together. The information given in each person's BOC Form will be used to make decisions in the claims of the other family members.
The information you give in your BOC Form must be complete, true and correct. Your BOC Form will be used as evidence in your claim for refugee protection, and you will be asked questions about the information you give in the form. Your claim may be rejected if you give information that is not true or if you try to hide important information. Give details in all of your answers, and include dates and names of places and persons.
You must show the IRB evidence of who you are by giving the IRB official documents with your name and date of birth on them. For example, you can give a passport, national identity card, birth certificate, school certificate, driver's licence, military document, and professional or religious membership card. If you do not have documents like this with you, you need to do everything you can to get them immediately. If you still cannot get these documents, you will need to explain the reason for this at your hearing and show that you did everything you could to get them.
Attach two copies of all documents (identity, travel or other documents) that you have with you now to support your claim for refugee protection, including documents that are not genuine, documents that you got in an irregular or illegal way or by giving information that is not true, and documents you used that do not really belong to you. In addition to the documents listed above, you can include proof of membership in political organizations, medical or psychological reports, police documents, business records, news clippings, visas, and airplane, train or bus tickets. Include certified translations in English or French for all documents if they are in a language other than English or French. Translations are certified when they include the translator's name, the language and dialect, if any, translated, and a statement that the translation is accurate, signed by the translator. You must pay for these translations yourself. You must bring the originals to your hearing (or give them to the IRB sooner if the IRB asks for them), unless the documents have been seized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
If you get more identity or travel documents that support your claim after you have provided your BOC Form, give two copies to the IRB without delay. If you get more documents, other than identity or travel documents, that support your claim after you have provided your BOC Form, give one copy to the IRB and a copy to the Minister, if the Minister is a party, at least 10 days before your hearing.
Making changes to your BOC Form
If your information changes or if you want to add information, you must inform the IRB. Underline the information you changed or added to your BOC Form, sign and date the changed pages, and send the original and one copy to the IRB. You must also sign a declaration stating that the information you have given in the BOC Form, together with the changes and additions you have made, is complete, true, and correct. The IRB must receive these pages and the declaration at least 10 days before your hearing.
What other documentary evidence is considered at the Refugee Protection Hearings?
The decision-maker will also consider information found in the IRB’s documents about your country. The IRB produces these collections of information on countries. This is called a National Documentation Package (NDP). This package contains documents on human rights, security conditions and other issues relevant to refugee protection claims from your country. Each NDP provides references to help you locate the documents that are not available on the IRB website. Where possible, links are provided to the documents available on the website of the organization that published the document.
Regarding these documents, it is your responsibility to:
- Go to the IRB website to review the documents in the NDP for your home country, as the RPD may consider them when deciding your claim. (Alternatively, a paper copy of the NDP may be viewed at any IRB regional office.)
- Check the IRB website for the newest version of the NDP for your home country prior to your hearing.
The RPD may decide to use other documents as well such as reports produced by the IRB Research Directorate, media articles, and reports from human rights organizations. Copies of any additional documents which the RPD finds useful will be sent to you before your hearing.
You will testify
The second opportunity you get of demonstrating that you meet the United Nations (UN) definition of a Convention refugee, or that you are a person in need of protection as described in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is when you testify at the hearing.
You will be asked questions first by the member, and then by your counsel. If the IRCC or the CBSA is participating in your hearing, the Minister’s counsel will ask you questions before your own counsel does. If you do not have counsel, the member may ask you more questions and give you an opportunity to tell the member what you think is important.
If the CBSA is participating in your hearing because the Minister is claiming that you should be excluded from refugee protection, the Minister’s counsel will ask you questions, followed by the member and then your counsel, if you have one.
Your witnesses will testify
The third opportunity you get of demonstrating that you meet the United Nations (UN) definition of a Convention refugee, or that you are a person in need of protection as described in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is through the testimony of your witnesses at the hearing.
You may bring witnesses to your hearing if you think this will help your claim. A witness is a person who knows about your claim and can provide information that will help the member make a decision. Witnesses must be ready to answer questions about the information they provide at your hearing (this is called testifying or giving testimony).
At least 10 days before your hearing, you must give the RPD the following information about each witness, in writing:
- their contact information (address, telephone number and fax number);
- a short statement on the purpose of their testimony and what it will be about;
- how long their testimony will take;
- your relationship to the witness;
- whether you want them to testify in person, by videoconference or by telephone; and
- Whether they need an interpreter, and if so, the language and dialect they will use.
- If the witness is an expert, you must also give information about their qualifications and include a report that is signed by the witness and summarizes their testimony.
If you have been told that the IRCC or the CBSA will be participating in your hearing, you must give a written copy of the information above to the IRCC or CBSA representative. You also need to give the RPD a written statement on how and when you sent the witness information to the IRCC or the CBSA.
It is your responsibility to make sure your witnesses come to your hearing. If you bring any witnesses, they will testify after you have testified. Any witnesses you bring to your hearing will be asked to stay in the waiting room and will not join the hearing until after you have testified. The witnesses will then be asked to come in to answer questions one by one.
A DECISION WILL BE MADE
Based on the documents submitted by you, IRB’s own documents relevant to your case, your testimony, and the testimony of your witnesses, if the RPD member finds that there is credible or trustworthy evidence which demonstrates that you meet the United Nations (UN) definition of a Convention refugee or that you are a person in need of protection as described in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, he or she will allow your claim. The RPD will send you a written Notice of Decision. The RPD will also send you an explanation of the reasons why your claim was allowed.
The IRCC and the CBSA will receive copies of the decision as they may wish to appeal a positive decision to the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) or seek leave and judicial review at the Federal Court. Unless the RPD’s decision is appealed to and overturned by the RAD or is reviewed and overturned by the Federal Court, you will be eligible to apply to the IRCC for permanent residence.
If the RPD member is of the opinion that there was no credible or trustworthy evidence on which it could have made a favourable decision, he or she will reject your claim and shall state in its reasons for the decision that there is no credible basis for the claim.
If the RPD member is of the opinion that the claim is clearly fraudulent, he or she will reject your claim and
shall state in its reasons for the decision that the claim is manifestly unfounded.
The Notice of Decision will tell you whether you can appeal the decision to the RAD or file an application for leave and for judicial review with the Federal Court. Most claimants can appeal to the RAD. However, you cannot appeal to the RAD in the following cases:
- you are a designated foreign national;
- your refugee protection claim was withdrawn or declared abandoned;
- the RPD’s decision says that your claim has no credible basis or is manifestly unfounded;
- you made your claim at a land border with the United States and the claim was sent to the RPD as an exception to the Safe Third Country Agreement;
- the Minister applied to cease (stop) your refugee protection, and the RPD’s decision allows that application; or
- The Minister applied to vacate (cancel) the decision to allow your refugee protection claim, and the RPD’s decision allows that application.
NEED HELP ?
Get in Touch for more information, applying for refugee protection from inside Canada, submitting BOC Form, representing you at Refugee Protection Division (RPD) or/and Refugee Appeal Division (RAD).