Processing exclusions in pre-removal risk assessments (PRRAs)
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
This page explains how officers should process pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) applications in cases where they find an exclusion applies.
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Impact of the exclusion clause assessment
Section 113 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) explains how PRRAs should be considered in cases where a PRRA officer finds an exclusion under Article 1F of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention) is applicable.
Before an exclusion
An officer must consider a PRRA application under paragraph A113(c) when both of the following apply:
- the applicant has not been previously excluded from refugee protection
- the applicant is not subject to a restricted PRRA when the officer begins their assessment
An officer must consider a PRRA application under paragraph A113(e) when an applicant has not been previously excluded from refugee protection and is either of the following:
- a person who is inadmissible on grounds of serious criminality for a conviction in Canada for which a term of imprisonment of less than 2 years—or no term of imprisonment—was imposed
- a person who is inadmissible on grounds of serious criminality with respect to a conviction outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would be punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years
Paragraphs A113(c) and A113(e) direct the officer to assess the applicant against
- the consolidated protection grounds under section A96 and section A97
- the exclusion clauses referred to in section A98
In reviewing a PRRA application against section A98, the PRRA officer may find that an exclusion under Article 1F applies.
After an exclusion
The applicant falls under paragraph A112(3)(c) as having an Article 1F exclusion apply to them in cases where either of the following applies:
- an exclusion under Article 1F has been found to apply in a previous refugee protection decision
- the officer finds that an Article 1F exclusion applies during the course of the current PRRA assessment
In these cases, as per paragraph A113(d), the applicant continues to have access to a PRRA. However, the PRRA becomes restricted.
The PRRA application is no longer assessed under the Refugee Convention grounds [A96]. Instead, the application is limited to consideration on the basis of only the following [A97] grounds:
- danger of torture
- risk to life
- risk of cruel and unusual treatment
A positive decision on their application results only in a reviewable stay of removal rather than protected person status.
In this manner, Canada is able to respect the spirit of the Refugee Convention, which excludes those who are not deserving of protection, while also upholding the principle of non-refoulement with respect to persons who face a risk of torture, a risk to life or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
More information on how to process a restricted PRRA.
Processing the application
The procedural fairness principles, which are applicable when conducting a risk assessment, apply to the consideration of the exclusion clauses as well.
The officer should take the following steps in processing the file:
- conduct a review of the file including the application and any submissions on behalf of the applicant
- identify the determinative issues
- conduct the research considered necessary to address the determinative issues
- ensure procedural fairness principles are followed (if the officer finds that an exclusion clause may apply) by providing the applicant with a letter
- notifying the applicant that an exclusion clause is under consideration
- explaining the impact on the applicant if they are found to be excluded; that is, if found excluded under Article 1F, the applicant will be provided with a restricted risk assessment
- provide the applicant with adequate time to provide written submissions in response
- The applicant must also be afforded an opportunity to respond to any extrinsic evidence.
- if a hearing is held on the basis of section A113.01 or section 167 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), notify the applicant that issues of fact pertaining to the exclusion clause will be one of the determinative issues to be addressed during the hearing; if a hearing is not held, address why not in the written reasons
- after all evidence has been gathered, review the evidence to determine if an exclusion applies
Concluding the exclusion and next steps
If the officer finds that an exclusion under Article 1F does not apply, the officer will conduct a regular risk assessment.
If the officer finds that an exclusion under Article 1F does apply, the officer will do both of the following:
- make a finding on exclusion and clearly demonstrate in their written reasons how the exclusion clauses apply to the applicant
- conduct a restricted risk assessment
Dealing with dependents
In some cases, applicants who are found to be excluded under Article 1F may have submitted their application with other family members.
Refugee protection decisions apply to each individual separately and, when required, separate assessments should be conducted for each family member.
This is particularly important in cases where one family member may be found excluded but where other family members might be found at risk.
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