Policy background: Ability to establish in Canada


With the introduction of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) in 2002, Canada shifted the main focus of its refugee admission criterion from the ability to successfully adapt in Canada to the need for protection. The ability to establish, however, is still a requirement for assessment.

Subparagraphs 139(1)(g)(i) to (iv) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) sets out the factors to be met. Other criteria cannot be taken into account as the regulatory list is exhaustive. Each of the 4 factors is to be assessed on an objective basis. A different weight may be assigned to each one.

A humanitarian lens should be applied to the assessment of all the factors. The context and individual circumstances of the person should be considered. That is, as the protection need becomes greater, lesser weight should be placed on the integration potential of the applicant.

Applicants should not be refused on stereotypes or discrimination. For example, applicants should not be refused because they spent their lives in a camp, and assumed that they may be unable to relate to peers in Canada and more inclined to gang involvement or illegal activity. As well, an elderly person should not be refused on the assumption that they will be unable to adapt in Canada because they are too old. Such presumptions may be seen as discrimination against certain groups.

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