IRCC Minister Transition Binder 2021: Canada’s Asylum System


Canada’s asylum system reflects our domestic legal framework and international obligations and humanitarian traditions:

These commitments are grounded in international conventions and domestic law:

Balancing protection and system integrity is key

Foundation of refugee status determination

Who seeks asylum in Canada?

Global instability and resulting flows of temporary migrants to Canada contribute to more people needing protection and more asylum claims.

But, foreign nationals can come to Canada temporarily in many ways including:

Canada’s Asylum System is a Shared Responsibility

Asylum System

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB)

Federal Court

The Federal Government issues work permits and provides coverage under the Interim Federal Health Program.

Provinces and territories are responsible for providing social assistance, education, emergency housing, and legal aid while a decision on a claim is pending.

Municipalities may also provide supports, such as temporary shelter.

Asylum Overview

Current State of Play

Border closures due to COVID-19 have significantly reduced asylum claim volumes, but they are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels once borders reopen. Pre-COVID, the Government response to increasing asylum claim volumes and irregular migration sought to advance three strategic objectives:

Increase capacity to handle more cases

Improve system-wide management and efficiencies

Managing and discouraging irregular migration

The Government has also provided compensation for costs incurred by provinces, including through the temporary Interim Housing Assistance Program (IHAP), which ended in March 2021. Since 2018-2019, the Government has provided $534.5M for interim housing pressures through IHAP. Over the same period, federal funding transferred to the provinces for legal aid has also increased, from an annual total of $11.5M to $48.6M for 2020-2021.

Issues for Consideration

As COVID restrictions are lifted and borders re-open to more travellers:

Key Takeaways

Annex: Key Asylum Intake and System Performance Highlights

Asylum Intake & Funding (2018 – June 2021)


Performance Highlights

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