2. Understand cessation and vacation hearings
Question & AnswerCan I lose my refugee status?
There are 2 situations where the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) can apply to the Refugee Board to remove your status.
The CBSA can apply to have your protected person status stopped or “cessated” if you do something that shows that you don’t need protection from Canada anymore. For example, you can lose your status if you return to your home country or if you get citizenship from another country.
This can happen if you:
- travel to your home country, even for a short time,
- apply to get a passport from your home country, even if you don’t travel on it, or you use it to travel to a country other than your home country,
- return to live in your home country, buy a home, or start a business there, or
- become a citizen of a country other than Canada.
Travel to your home country
In most cases, it doesn’t matter why you travelled to your home country. For example, a cessation application can be filed against you even if:
- you received protected person status many years ago
- you travelled to visit family members or a dying relative, or for a special event like a wedding or funeral
- you travelled to an area of your home country where you did not live before
If you have travelled to your home country, CBSA can use this information to apply for cessation of your protected person status. CBSA collects information when:
- you return from travelling outside of Canada, where you may be questioned about where you went and why
- you apply for a Permanent Resident card, or to renew your PR card, where you will have to include information about where you have lived and travelled
- you apply for Canadian citizenship, where you will have to include information about where you have lived and travelled.
If you want to travel for any reason, don’t apply for a passport from your home country. Instead, you should apply for a travel document for stateless and protected persons, often called a Refugee Travel Document. This travel document allows protected persons to travel to any country other than their home country. You might need to apply for a visa to travel to some countries using this document instead of a passport.
The CBSA can apply to have your protected person status cancelled or “vacated” if they believe that you received status through misrepresentation.
Misrepresentation means giving untrue or incorrect information or leaving out information that was relevant to your refugee claim.
Direct misrepresentation is using documents that were false or changed in some way. For example, passports, birth certificates, or police certificates.
Direct misrepresentation also includes lying on your refugee application, in your eligibility interview, or at your refugee hearing.
Indirect misrepresentation is not providing all the necessary information to CBSA, IRCC, or the Refugee Board. Even if you were not asked for that information, it can still be misrepresentation if you left it out.
It can also be indirect misrepresentation if a family member gives information that is different than what you said. Even if you didn’t know about it, if the information is important, this can result in a vacation hearing for you.
Successful PRRA applicants
If you received protection after making a successful Pre-Removal Risk Assessment, CBSA can’t apply to cessate your status. But CBSA can apply to vacate your status.