Who can get refugee protection in Canada?

If you fear persecution in your country or at risk of cruel and inhuman treatment or torture, you can claim refugee protection in Canada.

If you are already in Canada or at the border and wish to get refugee protection, you need to show that you cannot return to your country of nationality or residence because you fear persecution for at least one of the following reasons:


Race or nationality

For example: You fear persecution because you are part of an ethnic or language minority group.


For example: You fear persecution because you are part of a religious minority or because you have converted to another religion.

Member of a particular social group

For example: You have been subject to violence because of your sexual orientation or gender, or you fear persecution because of your family ties.

Political opinion

For example: You are a journalist or blogger, a human rights activist, or you are or are perceived as a government opponent.


Or if you fear one of the following:


Risk to your life or cruel and inhuman treatment

You are facing a personal risk that is not faced by the general population. For example: You are the victim of a crime or you are afraid of revenge.

Risk of torture

You have been subject or risk being subject to severe mental or physical harm committed by the authorities (under their orders or with their consent) to get information from you or to punish you. 


If you are outside Canada, UNHCR or the authorities of the state where you are will determine whether you are a refugee based on similar criteria. Being a refugee is one of the preconditions for resettlement consideration from outside of Canada. UNHCR Canada does not select refugees who will be resettled to Canada, and is not able to intervene or influence the process of determining whether someone can be considered a refugee or if a refugee can be resettled to Canada. To find out how UNHCR or state authorities determine whether you are a refugee outside of Canada, visit UNHCR’s Help section and click on the page of the country where you are.

Download a PDF version of this document in EnglishFrançaisEspañolعربي or Kreyòl. 

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