Our Vision for the Refugee Claim Process

Our Vision for the Refugee Claim Process


1.      Take no risks with human lives: hear every claim, on its own merits


  • Universal access to the refugee determination system

Anyone in Canada or at a Canadian port of entry can make a refugee claim.  Streamline the process by eliminating the eligibility stage (including denial of claims based on safe third country). Keep things simple: avoid unnecessary rules.

  • Each individual claim treated on its own merits

Each claim is examined on its individual merits.  All claimants are treated according to the same rules, without any bias based on group characteristics (for example, “safe country of origin”).


2.      Refugees are not criminals: detention should be the exception


  •  Detention as a last resort

Refugee claimants are not detained except as a last resort, and only where there are no reasonable alternatives to detention.  Children are not detained.


3.      Timeliness costs everyone less: avoiding unnecessary delays for refugee hearings and family reunification saves heartache and taxpayer’s money


  • Timely hearing, as soon as claimant is adequately prepared

All refugee claimants have a reasonable time to prepare their case, with flexibility for individual needs, and can proceed with a hearing as soon as they are ready.  Hearings before the claimant is ready lead to unfair decisions, that need to be corrected on appeal.  By ensuring timely hearings, the system  discourages frivolous claims. Put the necessary resources in place: avoid backlogs. 

  • Immediate family reunification for accepted refugees

Spouses and children of refugees can travel to Canada immediately for processing. Speedy family reunification allows refugees to integrate and contribute more quickly. Delays in family reunification cost the family and cost society.


4.      Refugee decisions mean life or death: decision makers must be up to the task


  • Independent and qualified decision-makers

Decision-makers are fully independent and qualified, working within an independent quasi-judicial tribunal. Keep it non-political: have an independent body make all decisions. Invest in high quality initial decisions: get it right the first time.


5.      Decision makers aren’t perfect: everyone deserves the right to a second opinion


  • Appeal on the merits and reopenings

All refused claimants have a meaningful appeal on the merits, and an opportunity to re-open case if important new evidence becomes available or there is a significant change in circumstances.  Remember that human lives are at stake: adhere to human rights standards.