Cessation and vacation of refugee protection
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
There are 2 ways that refugee protection can be removed:
- A person can cease to hold their refugee status [A108] if, for example, they voluntarily reavail themselves of the protection of their country of nationality or obtain protection from another country (citizenship).
- A person can have their refugee status vacated [A109] if they obtained that status by directly or indirectly misrepresenting or withholding material facts relating to a relevant matter.
Applications for potential cessation or vacation of refugee protection may be referred to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for the following:
- protected persons (status conferred by the Immigration and Refugee Board [IRB] or by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada [IRCC] as a resettled refugee), including those who have pending applications for permanent residence in Canada
- protected persons who are permanent residents of Canada
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act allows for loss of permanent residence status if refugee protection ceases under A108(1)(a) to (d) and if there is a finding of inadmissibility under A40.1. There is no loss of permanent residence status if refugee protection is removed because of a change in country conditions [A108(1)(e)].
Roles of IRCC, the CBSA and the IRB in cessation or vacation of refugee protection
Role of IRCC
IRCC is responsible for policy related to cessation while applications for cessation are submitted by the CBSA on IRCC’s behalf. With the exception of positive pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) cases, IRCC refers cases to the CBSA for potential cessation when an officer obtains evidence or facts suggesting that an applicant, for example, re-availed themselves of the protection of their country of nationality or obtained protection from another country.
With the exception of PRRA cases, IRCC is also responsible for referring cases to the CBSA for potential vacation on any cases in which there is evidence suggesting that an applicant’s protected person status may have been obtained as a result of direct or indirect misrepresentation or withholding of material facts on a relevant matter. The misrepresentation must relate directly to the validity of their claim for refugee protection, to be considered relevant.
Cessation or vacation investigations and proceedings against resettled refugees involve particular considerations. For more detailed information, see Cessation and vacation in the resettlement context.
IRCC can annul or set aside a decision to allow a PRRA application that was obtained as a result of directly or indirectly misrepresenting or withholding material facts on a relevant matter [A114(3)], IRCC does not refer these cases to the CBSA for potential vacation. For more detailed information, see the page on vacation in the PRRA context.
Role of the CBSA
The CBSA is responsible for assessing referrals, submitting applications for cessation under A108 and applications for vacation under A109 to the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the IRB, and representing the Minister in cessation and vacation hearings.
The CBSA is also responsible for policy related to vacation.
Role of the RPD of the IRB
The RPD makes decisions on claims for refugee protection made by persons in Canada, as well as on ministerial applications for vacation and cessation of refugee protection.
How to refer cases to the CBSA
- The officer reviews evidence and indicators that suggest a cessation or a vacation application would be appropriate.
- The officer consults their manager regarding potential referral for cessation or vacation.
- The officer can both complete and submit the CBSA Cessation or Vacation Referral Checklist or send an email with a brief description to the appropriate CBSA hearings office. The officer must make clear copies of immigration documents, passport, interview notes and any other relevant documents.
- The officer submits copies of supporting documents to the appropriate CBSA hearings office. The disclosure of information on claimants, permanent residents and citizens to the CBSA is consistent with paragraph 8(2)(a) of the Privacy Act and with the “Application and Assessment for Canadian Citizenship” Personal Information Bank.
For resettled refugees only: The referral must be sent to the International Resettlement Operations mailbox as a carbon copy (cc). You must also notify IN Resettlement of any subsequent decisions made on the case.
- A CBSA hearings officer will review the referral to ensure there are sufficient grounds and evidence to proceed. The officer should receive a response from the hearings office indicating receipt of the referral.
- The hearings office will notify the referring office whether the CBSA will file for cessation or vacation.
The CBSA will file an application with the RPD if they decide to proceed with a case.
Any questions about the status of the referral should be directed to the appropriate CBSA hearings office.
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