Operational Bulletin 440-A - June 29, 2012

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

The new refugee determination system


This Operational Bulletin (OB) provides an overview of the new refugee determination system, which will change the way certain applications are processed. This OB provides direction on where to find details on the changes.


The Balanced Refugee Reform Act (under Bill C-11), which received Royal Assent on June 29, 2010, proposed changes to the refugee protection system that are intended to deliver faster decisions, deter abuse and quickly remove persons not in need of Canada’s protection.

For a refresher on these changes, see OB 222.

The Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act (under Bill C-31), which received Royal Assent on June 28, 2012, proposed further reforms. While most of the provisions of this new Act come into effect at a later date, some changes, in particular those related to humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) applications and Pre-Removal Risk Assessments (PRRA), came into effect upon Royal Assent.

The tables below outline the major changes. Table 1 indicates where to find detailed information with respect to some of these changes.

Table 1 – Changes in effect as of Royal Assent

Measures Examples For more details, refer to:
Changes to H&C
  • Bar on H&C requests for persons with a pending refugee claim
  • 12-month bar following a rejected refugee claim at the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) (Refugee Protection Division (RPD) or Refugee Appeal Division (RAD))
  • Exceptions to the bars: best interests of the child; life-threatening medical conditions
  • Requests for H&C consideration may only be made in the context of an application for permanent residence or for a permanent resident visa
OB 440B (to be published at a later date)
Changes to the PRRA
  • 12-month bar on PRRAs following a rejected refugee claim at IRB (RPD or RAD) or previous PRRA
  • Exemptions to the PRRA bar (these exemptions will come into effect at a later date)
  • Retrospectivity of the PRRA bar (applying the 12-month bar to PRRA applications received prior to Royal Assent) will come into effect at a later date
  • Transfer of PRRA function to the Immigration and Refugee Board (transfer to occur at a date to be determined by the government)
OB 440C
(OB 440C to be re-issued at a later date with exemptions and retrospective PRRA bar)
Designated Foreign Nationals (individuals part of an irregular arrival)
  • Restrictions on applications for permanent residence
OB 440D
Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Pilot Program
  • Helping unsuccessful refugee claimants leave Canada voluntarily.
See the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)’s OB 436

Table 2 – Changes that will come into effect at coming-into-force of the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act

Changes to Asylum System Examples
New Basis of Claim Form IRB replacing the Personal Information form with a ‘Basis of Claim’ form
Changes to ineligibility criteria Refugee claim eligibility: changes to criminality-related ineligibility criteria
Scheduling responsibility for CIC or CBSA officers New requirement for officers to schedule RPD hearings
Timelines at the IRB Faster RPD timelines
Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) Implementation of the RAD
CIC Reviews and Interventions Pilot New CIC Reviews and Interventions Pilot (program integrity, credibility of claim)
Cessation of refugee protection Cessation of refugee protection: automatic loss of permanent residence in certain cases
Designated Countries of Origin (DCO): Limitations for DCO applicants: Accelerated processing; Work permit restrictions; No access to the RAD
Other Example
Biometrics (Note: changes will not take effect until 2013) Requiring biometric information from Temporary Resident Visa applicants
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