The following UN refugee treaties determine a person’s refugee status

  • 1951 convention relating to the status of refugee
  • 1967 protocol relating to the status of refugee

UN agreements also provide the basis for granting human rights protection

  • 1984 convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
  • 1966 international convention on civil and political rights

A Refugee claimant can be either from a DCO or a Non DCO. List of DCO are as follows.

Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The United Kingdom, The United States of America, Australia, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland.

It is important to understand how a refugee claimant from a DCO is different from or non DCO refugee claimants along with some similarities.

  • A claimant from DCO cannot apply for a work permit. However, a claimant from Non DCO can apply
  • RPD hearing is done within 30-45 days for a claimant from DCO. Whereas it takes almost 60 days for a hearing if a claimant is from Non DCO
  • Claimants from both DCO and Non DCO can appeal to RAD

To take a decision on a refugee case, lots of factors are minutely considered after which a final decision is made. The factors are as follows.

  • Exclusion
  • Well-founded fear of persecution
  • Risk to life or risk of cruel and unusual punishment
  • Danger of torture
  • Claimant’s identity
  • Country of residence
  • Harm feared
  • Agent of harm
  • Reason of harm
  • Fear both subjective and objective
  • Risk of harm
  • State protection
  • Internal Flight Alternative
  • Compelling Reasons
  • Medical examination, though there are some exemptions

Safe 3rd Country Agreement

  • A refugee claimant must make a claim in the first country they arrive in either Canada or US
  • A claimant will not be eligible for protection if he/she first goes to the US and then come to Canada via any medium. Exemption: claim in US already rejected

A claimant can make a claim even if they are ineligible for the above reasons; the various exceptions are as follows.

  • Claimant has a family member in Canada who is a Canadian Citizen Permanent Resident and has already made a claim for refugee status that has been accepted by the IRB.
  • Claimant is under 18 years old and is not accompanied by their parents or legal guardians.
  • Claimant under 18 years old have neither a spouse nor a common-law partner


Key terms

  • UN: United Nations
  • DCO: Designated Countries of Origin
  • RPD: Refugee Protection Division
  • RAD: Refugee Appeal Division