Canadian Refugee Procedure/100-102 - Examination of Eligibility to Refer Claim

IRPA Sections 100-101: Examination of Eligibility to Refer Claim edit

Sections 100-102 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act read:

100 (1) An officer shall, after receipt of a claim referred to in subsection 99(3), determine whether the claim is eligible to be referred to the Refugee Protection Division and, if it is eligible, shall refer the claim in accordance with the rules of the Board.

Burden of proof
(1.1) The burden of proving that a claim is eligible to be referred to the Refugee Protection Division rests on the claimant, who must answer truthfully all questions put to them.

Decision
(2) The officer shall suspend consideration of the eligibility of the person’s claim if
(a) a report has been referred for a determination, at an admissibility hearing, of whether the person is inadmissible on grounds of security, violating human or international rights, serious criminality or organized criminality; or
(b) the officer considers it necessary to wait for a decision of a court with respect to a claimant who is charged with an offence under an Act of Parliament that is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years.

Consideration of claim
(3) The Refugee Protection Division may not consider a claim until it is referred by the officer.

Documents and information to be provided
(4) A person who makes a claim for refugee protection inside Canada at a port of entry and whose claim is referred to the Refugee Protection Division must provide the Division, within the time limits provided for in the regulations, with the documents and information — including in respect of the basis for the claim — required by the rules of the Board, in accordance with those rules.

Date of hearing
(4.1) The referring officer must, in accordance with the regulations, the rules of the Board and any directions of the Chairperson of the Board, fix the date on which the claimant is to attend a hearing before the Refugee Protection Division.

Quarantine Act
(5) If a traveller is detained or isolated under the Quarantine Act, the period referred to in subsections (1) and (3) does not begin to run until the day on which the detention or isolation ends.

Ineligibility
101 (1) A claim is ineligible to be referred to the Refugee Protection Division if
(a) refugee protection has been conferred on the claimant under this Act;
(b) a claim for refugee protection by the claimant has been rejected by the Board;
(c) a prior claim by the claimant was determined to be ineligible to be referred to the Refugee Protection Division, or to have been withdrawn or abandoned;
(c.1) the claimant has, before making a claim for refugee protection in Canada, made a claim for refugee protection to a country other than Canada, and the fact of its having been made has been confirmed in accordance with an agreement or arrangement entered into by Canada and that country for the purpose of facilitating information sharing to assist in the administration and enforcement of their immigration and citizenship laws;
(d) the claimant has been recognized as a Convention refugee by a country other than Canada and can be sent or returned to that country;
(e) the claimant came directly or indirectly to Canada from a country designated by the regulations, other than a country of their nationality or their former habitual residence; or
(f) the claimant has been determined to be inadmissible on grounds of security, violating human or international rights, serious criminality or organized criminality, except for persons who are inadmissible solely on the grounds of paragraph 35(1)(c).

Serious criminality
(2) A claim is not ineligible by reason of serious criminality under paragraph (1)(f) unless
(a) in the case of inadmissibility by reason of a conviction in Canada, the conviction is for an offence under an Act of Parliament punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years; or
(b) in the case of inadmissibility by reason of a conviction outside Canada, the conviction is for an offence that, if committed in Canada, would constitute an offence under an Act of Parliament punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years.

The process set out in ss. 100-102 of the Act is designed to be an expeditious summary review edit

Section 101 enumerates the situations where an applicant is ineligible to claim refugee status. The Federal Court has held that the expeditious and relatively straightforward process set out in sections 100 to 102 of the IRPA is intended to screen certain claims out of the Refugee Protection Division's jurisdiction on the basis of a summary review by an immigration officer.[1] This was so as Bill C-84, which created the predecessor to this regime in the 1980s, aimed to preclude individuals who had been certified to be a danger to the public from making a refugee claim. The previous legislation had allowed such individuals to make a claim; only if such a claim was successful would a decision be made concerning deportation.[2] In the words of the Minister of the time, the intent of this legislation was to "close a loophole by which people who are criminals or terrorists can use the refugee claims system to defer their removal from Canada for many years".[3]

In the vast majority of cases, the facts triggering these provisions are easily ascertainable and their application does not give rise to any controversy. For example, whether an applicant’s claim was previously rejected (paragraph 101(1)(b)) or withdrawn (paragraph 101(1)(c)) can be proved by official records. However, certain ineligibility provisions may require a more elaborate factual inquiry, for example whether an applicant can be returned to a country where they have been granted refugee status (paragraph 101(1)(d)).[4]

RPD Rules 26-28 create a regime requiring notice to the Minister where select issues emerge in a claim edit

For a discussion of the interpretation of the RPD notice requirements which refer to these provisions of the Act, see the commentary to RPD Rules 26–28: Canadian Refugee Procedure/RPD Rules 26-28 - Exclusion, Integrity Issues, Inadmissibility and Ineligibility#RPD Rule 28 - Possible Inadmissibility or Ineligibility.

Section 101(1)(c.1): What evidence the Minister considers regarding refugee claims made to another country edit

Section 101(1)(c.1) of the Act provides that "A claim is ineligible to be referred to the Refugee Protection Division if the claimant has, before making a claim for refugee protection in Canada, made a claim for refugee protection to a country other than Canada, and the fact of its having been made has been confirmed in accordance with an agreement or arrangement entered into by Canada and that country for the purpose of facilitating information sharing to assist in the administration and enforcement of their immigration and citizenship laws." There are several components to this provision:

  • the claimant must have made the prior claim: In the vast majority of cases, whether an applicant made a claim in another country will be proved by a confirmation issued by that country’s authorities. Nevertheless, deciding whether “the claimant . . . made a claim for refugee protection” (or, in French, whether there was a “demande d’asile antérieure faite par la personne”) may sometimes require a look beyond the foreign authorities’ confirmation.[5] In Garces v. Canada, the court noted that children presumptively lack legal capacity,[6] and so in the case of an unaccompanied minor who lacks legal capacity in a foreign state, it is incumbent upon the Minister to explain how they can be considered to have "made a claim" within the meaning of this provision.[7]
  • the claim must have been made before the claim for refugee protection was made in Canada: Importantly, the ineligibility ground applies regardless of whether a decision was ever made on a previous claim.[8] The Minister will often cite in its procedural fairness letters that the claimant was in possession of paperwork pertaining to the claim when the claimant entered Canada.
  • the claim must have been made after this provision came into force: This provision applies to all claims made after June 21, 2019. For claims made between April 8, 2019 and June 21, 2019, the provision does not apply if substantive evidence was heard by the RPD or the RPD allowed the claim without a hearing prior to June 21, 2019. This transitional provision arises from s. 309(b) of the Budget Implementation Act, 2019 (Bill C-97) which provides that paragraph 101(1)(c.1) of the IRPA applies to claims for refugee protection made during the period beginning on the day on which the Bill is introduced [April 8, 2019] and ending on the day on which it receives royal assent [June 21, 2019], unless, as of the day on which it receives royal assent [June 21, 2019] substantive evidence has been heard by the Refugee Protection Division in respect of the claim or that Division has allowed the claim without a hearing.
  • the claim must have been made to a country (not, say, UNHCR itself); and
  • the fact of its having been made must be confirmed through the type of information-sharing arrangement specified: Canada has information-sharing agreements or arrangements with the US, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. A 2009 Data-Sharing Protocol allows these countries to conduct ‘immigration checks’ through biometric data exchanges.[8] The Minister will often cite in its procedural fairness letters that the claimant's biometrics were matched to their immigration record in the other country.

Section 101(1)(d): The claimant has been recognized as a Convention refugee by a country other than Canada and can be sent or returned to that country edit

When considering whether a claimant "can be sent or returned to that country", the question is whether they can "physically and legally be re-admitted" to the country in question.[9] In Jekula v. Canada (a decision affirmed by the Federal Court of Appeal, without reasons) the court held that the words can be returned did not require an immigration officer to determine whether the claimant had a well-founded fear of persecution in the country that has already granted asylum.[10] A key reason for this is the history of the statutory provision in question. In Kaberuka v. Canada, the Federal Court noted that An Act to amend the Immigration Act and other Acts in consequence thereof, S.C. 1992, c. 49, s. 36(1) repealed the previous version of s. 46.01(2) of the Immigration Act, which had permitted those with Convention refugee status elsewhere to make Convention refugee claims against their countries of asylum. The Court concluded that this indicated Parliament had chosen to exclude persons recognized as Convention refugees by another country from claiming to have a well-founded fear of persecution in their country of asylum.[11] One of the rationales for this, as noted by the court in Farah v. Canada is the presence of other provisions in the IRPA designed to address such circumstances, including s. 115 of the Act (quoted below), and the availability of relief through processes including a stay of removal and a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment:[12]

115(1) A protected person or a person who is recognized as a Convention refugee by another country to which the person may be returned shall not be removed from Canada to a country where they would be at risk of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion or at risk of torture or cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

As such, the Federal Court holds that it is sufficient for an immigration officer determining the eligibility of a claim for refugee protection in Canada to ensure that a person already recognized as a Convention refugee by another country will, if required, be able to obtain the necessary travel documents in order to be returned to the country of asylum (unless the person, when ready to be returned, tells the CBSA enforcement officer that they prefer to be returned to their country of nationality rather than the country of asylum).[13]

IRPA Section 102: Regulations and Safe Third Country Agreement edit

Regulations
102 (1) The regulations may govern matters relating to the application of sections 100 and 101, may, for the purposes of this Act, define the terms used in those sections and, for the purpose of sharing responsibility with governments of foreign states for the consideration of refugee claims, may include provisions
(a) designating countries that comply with Article 33 of the Refugee Convention and Article 3 of the Convention Against Torture;
(b) making a list of those countries and amending it as necessary; and
(c) respecting the circumstances and criteria for the application of paragraph 101(1)(e).

Factors
(2) The following factors are to be considered in designating a country under paragraph (1)(a):
(a) whether the country is a party to the Refugee Convention and to the Convention Against Torture;
(b) its policies and practices with respect to claims under the Refugee Convention and with respect to obligations under the Convention Against Torture;
(c) its human rights record; and
(d) whether it is party to an agreement with the Government of Canada for the purpose of sharing responsibility with respect to claims for refugee protection.

Review
(3) The Governor in Council must ensure the continuing review of factors set out in subsection (2) with respect to each designated country.

The Safe Third Country Agreement provisions are at s. 159 of the Regulations edit

See the commentary to s. 159 of the Regulation: Canadian Refugee Procedure/Safe Third Countries.

References edit

  1. Wangden v Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2008 FC 1230 at para 76.
  2. Alan Nash, International Refugee Pressures and the Canadian Public Policy Response, Discussion Paper, January 1989, Studies in Social Policy, page 58.
  3. Alan Nash, International Refugee Pressures and the Canadian Public Policy Response, Discussion Paper, January 1989, Studies in Social Policy, page 61-62.
  4. Garces v. Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2023 FC 798 (CanLII), at para 14, <https://canlii.ca/t/jxp1n#par14>, retrieved on 2023-07-06.
  5. Garces v. Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2023 FC 798 (CanLII), at para 15, <https://canlii.ca/t/jxp1n#par15>, retrieved on 2023-07-06.
  6. Garces v. Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2023 FC 798 (CanLII), at para 16, <https://canlii.ca/t/jxp1n#par16>, retrieved on 2023-07-06.
  7. Garces v. Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2023 FC 798 (CanLII), at para 17, <https://canlii.ca/t/jxp1n#par17>, retrieved on 2023-07-06.
  8. a b Idil Atak, Zainab Abu Alrob, Claire Ellis, Expanding refugee ineligibility: Canada’s response to secondary refugee movements, Journal of Refugee Studies, December 14, 2020, https://doi-org.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/10.1093/jrs/feaa103 at page 2.
  9. Farah v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2017 FC 292 (CanLII), [2018] 1 FCR 473, para. 14, <http://canlii.ca/t/h2svb#14>, retrieved on 2020-01-25.
  10. Jekula v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 1998 CanLII 9099 (FC), [1999] 1 FC 266 (affirmed by the Federal Court of Appeal, without reasons, at [2000] FCJ No. 1956).
  11. Kaberuka v Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), 1995 CanLII 3519 (FCA), [1995] 3 FC 252, at pages 269-270.
  12. Farah v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2017 FC 292 (CanLII), [2018] 1 FCR 473, para. 27, <http://canlii.ca/t/h2svb#27>, retrieved on 2020-01-25.
  13. Paulos Teddla v. Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2020 FC 1109 (CanLII), par. 22, <http://canlii.ca/t/jc709#par22>, retrieved on 2020-12-21.