Procedures at inland offices regarding in-Canada claims for refugee protection

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

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The following are procedures for IRCC inland offices.

Initiating a claim

Effective October 6 2021, a person, or their legal representative acting on their behalf, can initiate a claim for refugee protection inside Canada by using the Canadian Refugee Protection Portal (CRPP) to complete questions and submit documentation online, including the Basis of Claim (BOC) (PDF, 541 KB) Form.

If a person arrives at an inland office and indicates a need for refugee protection, they will be directed to view the Claiming refugee protection from inside Canada poster, which gives instructions on how to submit a refugee claim in Canada.

Exemption requests

If a claimant is unable to complete their refugee application online for accommodation reasons, they may request an exemption to the online process. A claimant will email IRCC to provide information on why they are unable to use the online application and request the paper-based application package.

Registration

When the claimant submits their completed application (including the Basis of Claim Form (PDF, 541 KB)) using the Canadian Refugee Protection Portal or the paper-based alternative process, office staff must verify that the application is complete (or nearly complete). Delegated IRCC staff will pull biographical data from the online application’s dashboard and perform an integrated search for each person listed in the forms. See GCMS Online Help, Overview: Search for more information on how to perform an integrated search.

A Global Case Management System (GCMS) integrated name search must be performed using

  • name
  • gender
  • date of birth

If the claimant already exists in GCMS or the Field Operations Support System (FOSS), this allows staff to identify any known immigration history, including derogatory information on the claimant.

If the claimant is found only in FOSS, the officer promotes the person’s information from the FOSS database into GCMS.

If the claimant is not found in GCMS, staff must create them as a client.

Once the claimant’s profile is in GCMS, a refugee claim application must be created. IRCC staff will enter biographical information, including aliases, into GCMS, and upload all documents submitted by the claimant from the online portal (Record of submission PDF, Basis of Claim Form, and identity documents). These documents will be leveraged by other GCMS users (at the Immigration and Refugee Board [IRB], IRCC, and the Canada Border Services Agency [CBSA]), reducing the need for file transfers. For detailed information on scanning and saving, see the instructions for scanning and sharing documents.

Perform a CPIC check for every claimant 18 years or older and create a CPIC check sub-activity within the criminality tab, and update the results.

Note:

  • The authorized representative must be added as a party to the application upon creation.
  • It is very important for families to be grouped together in GCMS, as this is what alerts the IRB to schedule the claimants together.

Data entry and security screening requests 

Upon receipt, applications are assigned to staff for data entry. This data entry includes

  • personal history
  • address history
  • work history

After data entry is complete, staff will submit security screening requests.

If the claimant is exempt from using the CRPP, the Details of Military Service [IMM 5446] (PDF, 1.8 MB), Details of Police Service [IMM 0150] (PDF, 137 KB), and/or Details of Government Employment [IMM 0149] (PDF, 139 KB) forms should be submitted by the claimant at intake, if applicable.

The Record of submission PDF provided by the claimant is not to be altered in any way. Any amendments are to be recorded and saved in GCMS notes (and shared with the IRB), and GCMS fields are to be updated, if applicable.

Applications must be transferred to the appropriate office for data entry.

Document issuance

Once the steps above are complete, claimants must be provided with immigration medical examination (IME) instructions. This allows claimants to schedule their IME with an IRCC Panel Physician. This form can be sent to the claimant via the document upload function in the CRPP, or by mail or email if using the alternative process. If contacting the claimant by email, staff must only communicate with the email address provided in the CRPP or the IMM 0008.

Claimants will also be sent instructions for biometric collection and identity document submission. These instructions will instruct clients to come into the office on a specific date and during a specified period of time with the required documents and 4 passport-sized photographs, which are to be added to their file.

The client should also be provided with the Information pamphlet for refugee claimants.

Biometrics and information sharing

As per section 12.2 of the Immigration Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), all refugee claimants aged 14 years or older should have their biometrics collected.

Biometrics and information sharing allow the Government of Canada to ensure that a claimant does not have an adverse Canadian or United States (U.S.) record. This helps maintain program integrity by searching against fingerprint records of past refugee claimants who were previously deported.

Biographic information sharing should occur for minors under 14 years of age only if their accompanying parents’ biometric information sharing reveals an ineligibility and the officer has a reasonable suspicion that sharing the child’s biographic information would reveal a similar ineligibility. This ineligibility can be confirmed by requesting copies of the parents’ asylum application from the partner country.  

Once biometrics are collected, if a response of “Poor Quality” is returned, staff should attempt to take the fingerprints again. However, staff can alternatively choose to accept the poor quality fingerprint and select the appropriate reason as to why a poor quality fingerprint was accepted. Staff can also include additional notes to record alternative reasons, where appropriate. If the person has previously been able to provide biometrics (to obtain a temporary resident visa), in most cases a second attempt should be made.

Fingerprinting and photographing vulnerable claimants and minors

All claimants must be photographed.

Vulnerable persons and minors may not be comfortable with the process of being fingerprinted and photographed. Religious and cultural sensitivities should be considered when taking photographs and accommodations made to the greatest extent possible.

Example: Women who cover their face or their head for religious or cultural reasons should be given the option of having their photograph taken by a female officer.

Explain the fingerprinting and photography procedures to children. Fingerprinting and photography of children should be done in the presence of their parents or legal guardians, when possible. A child who is not comfortable being photographed alone may be photographed with a parent or legal guardian.

See the following instructions for more information:

Document seizure

When documents are seized, staff will sign the Notice of Seizure form and provide the client with certified copies of the seized documents.

As part of the online application process, applicants have submitted an electronic copy of their identity documents. Officers will verify in GCMS that the scanned documents submitted by the claimant via the CRPP match the documents seized and Print them to create certified copies for the claimant. If the version submitted by the claimant is not clear or an error exists, officers must scan and upload a copy of the seized document into GCMS and print a certified copy for the claimant. Officers will then complete the necessary GCMS entries.

Acknowledgement of Claim

Once document seizure and biometrics are complete, the claimant will be issued an Acknowledgement of Claim (AOC) document. This document provides the claimant with proof that they have made a claim. It can be presented to medical professionals as proof of Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) coverage until an eligibility decision is made and a Refugee Protection Claimant Document (RPCD) is issued. Issuing the AOC will automatically trigger IFHP coverage in GCMS.

Triaging

Once applications are received at the office, they will be assigned to triage staff. Assigned staff will conduct a GCMS case review, including reviewing the Record of submission PDF and biometric results and assessing the complexity of the case. If there are issues with biometrics (for example, if they are missing or poor quality), staff will decide if they will ask the client to return for biometrics collection.

Applications are referred for scheduling based on case complexity.

Scheduling

Claimants will be scheduled based on case complexity and language. IRCC staff will upload an appointment letter electronically to the CRPP to inform claimants of their appointment.

Claimants must be asked to bring their travel or identity documents, if they have not already been seized.

Administration

Staff are expected to record the outcome of all criminality checks conducted as part of refugee intake, if this step has not already been completed. Biometric results are populated automatically in GCMS if there is no reportable trace (NRT). All other results should be reviewed and the activity status manually updated to reflect the decision.

Interview

The purpose of the interview is twofold:

  1. To gather any needed information about the claim and claimant; the interview is not adversarial and should be only for the purpose of information gathering.
  2. To conduct the Minister’s delegate review related to the section A44 report prepared with respect to the claimant.

For more information on the interview process, refer to In-Canada claims for refugee protection: Interviews

Eligibility decisions

If eligible, the claim must be referred to the Refugee Protection Division (RPD).

It is expected that most eligibility decisions can be made on the day of the Minister’s delegate review.

The burden rests on a claimant to prove their claim is eligible [A100(1.1)].

If an officer suspects that a claim is not eligible, the claimant should be questioned about the facts supporting this suspicion. If the claimant maintains that their claim is eligible, and there are no contradicting facts, the claim should be found eligible and referred to the RPD. However, detailed notes should be entered about the officer’s concerns and flagged in the system.

A “Final” referral decision is then made on the application, which triggers the referral to the RPD and creates the relevant documents:

  • Refugee Protection Claimant Document (RPCD)
  • Confirmation of Referral

The updated NOVA-GCMS interface allows for near real-time two-way connectivity between the Global Case Management System (GCMS) and NOVA, including transmission of referral decisions.

Note: If a decision of “Referred” is recorded in error, it is important for staff to remove the decision and inform the impacted RPD office that the referral was made in error.

For more information on eligibility, refer to Eligibility for referral of in-Canada claims to the IRB.

Admissibility and the Minister’s Delegate review

Refugee claimants are generally considered to be inadmissible for non-compliance by virtue of the fact that they want to remain in Canada permanently, but do not have a permanent resident visa [A41(a) and A20(1)(a)]. All inadmissibilities should be considered, and multiple reports for the same individual may be prepared if multiple inadmissibilities exist. The section A44 inadmissibility report should be prepared in accordance with ENF 5 (PDF, 1.5 MB) guidance and procedures, even if it cannot yet be issued to the claimant (for example, because no interpreter is available). For more information on admissibility, see In-Canada refugee claims: admissibility.

After the A44 report is prepared, it must be referred for a Minister’s Delegate review. The Minister’s Delegate will determine if the report is well founded. If the Minister’s Delegate is authorized to issue a removal order, they will

  • conduct an interview with the claimant
  • discuss the allegation against them
  • issue the appropriate removal order

If the allegation in the A44 report is not within the Minister’s Delegate’s jurisdiction or if the report concerns an unaccompanied minor or a person unable to appreciate the nature of the proceedings, the Minister’s Delegate must refer the report to the Immigration Division.

Conditions may be imposed on the claimant.   

Learn more

Document package

Once all documents are printed, finalized and given to the claimant, the application status and application status reason in GCMS should reflect the officer’s decision. Those whose claims are eligible must be given an IRB Claimant’s Kit, which is provided by the IRB.Footnote 1 IRCC inland offices receive Claimant’s Kits “missing” a Basis of Claim (BOC) Form (as this will have already been completed by the claimant). The kit contains a Notification of Client Contact Information form. The Notification of Client Contact Information form needs to be submitted to the RPD within 10 days. It only needs to be completed and submitted if the claimant was unable to list an address on their other forms, or in the case of a change of address.

Offices will send the following items or copies thereof to the RPD’s Nova system (after the referral decision is made and all documents have been provided to the claimant) using a document-sharing activity in GCMS:

  • Record of submission PDF (in lieu of paper forms)
  • Updates To The Canadian Refugee Protection Portal Record Of Submission (if applicable)
  • Declaration – Authorization to give representative control of the Canadian Refugee Protection Portal [IMM 0145] (if applicable) (PDF, 877 KB)
  • Basis of Claim Form, plus any additional submissions
  • Confirmation of Referral
  • visa application file (ATIP report) (IRCC only) *(ICAC to provide for cases to be heard in Central Region (Toronto IRB))
  • Notice of Seizure [IMM 5265]
  • copies of seized documents (genuine and fraudulent)
  • biometrics photograph (or scanned photograph if no biometrics)
  • statutory declaration (if completed) [IMM 0145 (PDF, 877 KB)]
  • completed, signed, and dated Checklist – Documents Provided to Refugee Claimant(s) [IMM 5780]
  • interview notes (saved as a document in GCMS)
  • any other documents submitted
Table – Saving and attaching files to GCMS
Item Saved and attached to GCMS? Data loaded into GCMS?
Record of submission PDF Yes – Application Incoming Correspondence N/A
Declaration – Authorization to give representative control of the Canadian Refugee Protection Portal [IMM 0145] (if applicable) (PDF, 877 KB) Yes – Application Incoming Correspondence N/A
Use of a Representative [IMM 5476] (if applicable) Yes – Application Incoming Correspondence N/A
IMM 0008 (only if claimant not using CRPP) Yes – Application Incoming Correspondence Yes (2D barcode can be scanned to populate data)
Schedule 12 (only if claimant not using CRPP) Yes – Application Incoming Correspondence N/A
Schedule A (only if claimant not using CRPP) Yes – Application Incoming Correspondence Only if uploaded directly from a desktop
Details of Military Service form [IMM 5546] (PDF, 1,808 KB) (only if claimant not using CRPP, if applicable) Yes – Application Incoming Correspondence N/A
Details of Police Service form [IMM 0150] (PDF, 137 KB) (only if claimant not using CRPP, if applicable) Yes – Application Incoming Correspondence N/A
Details of Government Employment form [IMM 0149] (PDF, 139 KB) (only if claimant not using CRPP, if applicable) Yes – Application Incoming Correspondence N/A
Basis of Claim Form Yes – Application Incoming Correspondence N/A
Identity and travel documents Yes – Client Documents N/A
Officer’s notes (if applicable) Yes N/A

Note: It is acceptable to scan the IMM 0008, Schedule 12, Schedule A, Details of Military Service form, Details of Police Service form, Details of Government Employment form Declaration- Authorization to give representative control of the Canadian Refugee Protection Portal [IMM 0145] (PDF, 877 KB) and other non BOC forms into GCMS as one attachment. The BOC and travel documents should be scanned individually.

Upon completion of the above, the officer places the following documents in the client’s physical file:

  • original IMM 0008 and IMM 0008 – Schedule 12 (if alternative process used)
  • original IMM 5669 (if alternative process used)
  • Declaration – Authorization to give representative control of the Canadian Refugee Protection Portal [IMM 0145] (if applicable) (PDF, 877 KB)
  • signed copy of the RPCD (if available)
  • signed copy of the A44 report
  • signed copy of the removal order (where applicable)
  • Acknowledgement of Conditions (BSF 821) signed by the claimant
  • signed copy of the Notice of Seizure
  • client’s photographs
  • biometrics ID sticker, if completed through the Canadian Immigration Biometric Identification System (CIBIDS)
  • fingerprint record, if completed through LiveScan
  • seized travel and identity documents
  • photocopies of identification and travel document copies (where identification presented is in the form of a photocopy and not an original)
  • original Details of Military Service form (IMM 5546) (if alternative process used, if applicable)
  • original Details of Police Service form (IMM 0150) (if alternative process used, if applicable)
  • original Details of Government Employment form (IMM 0149) (if alternative process used, if applicable)

Refugee claimants should be given the Information pamphlet for refugee claimants, which contains important information regarding IFHP coverage, work permits, etc.

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