ARCHIVED – Backgrounder — Deterring Abuse of the Refugee System

Canada’s generous refugee system delivers protection for vulnerable persons who genuinely need it, and does so in a fair, ordered and compassionate manner. In order to ensure the system continues to serve that function, it is important to protect its integrity from those who would abuse Canada’s generosity. There must be consequences and deterrents for such abuse.

The Government of Canada is taking action to stop such abuse of our laws and generosity by bolstering Canada’s ability to revoke the ‘protected person’ status of individuals who arrive, for example, as part of a designated irregular arrival, through the processes of ‘cessation’ and ‘vacation’.

Is there no longer a need for protection?

Refugee Claimants

If an individual who was granted refugee status can safely, and of their own initiative, return to the country they purport to have fled, it is an indication that the individual does not require Canada’s protection and may no longer qualify to be considered a protected person.

Refugees and Protected Persons

In such cases, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism may apply to the Refugee Protection Division at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada for a determination that an individual’s refugee protection has ceased. The Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act ensures that if an individual is the subject of a ‘cessation’ application, their application for permanent residence will not be processed until a decision is made on the Minister’s application. If the Refugee Protection Division grants the Minister’s application for cessation, the individual will lose refugee protection (or protected person status) and may ultimately be removed from Canada.

Was the protected person status obtained fraudulently?

If an individual has directly or indirectly misrepresented or withheld material facts relevant to their situation, or of the facts surrounding their identity in order to gain protected person status, then that status was gained fraudulently.

In such cases, the Minister of Public Safety may apply to the Refugee Protection Division to vacate the individual’s refugee protection status. If the original decision is vacated, the individual will lose refugee protection (i.e., protected person status) and may ultimately be removed from Canada.

The new legislation also prevents irregular arrivals who are determined to be refugees from applying for permanent residence for five years. During this time, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism can, if appropriate, make an application for cessation or vacation, either of which, if successful, will result in the individual being stripped of refugee protection and ultimately may lead to their removal from Canada.

The new measures also eliminate access to the Refugee Appeal Division for individuals who want to appeal a cessation or vacation decision, as well as those who arrive as part of a designated irregular arrival. These individuals will, however, be able to ask the Federal Court to review a cessation or vacation decision.

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