2. Understand how your claim will be considered

You must be able to show the Refugee Board that you meet the definition of or .

The Refugee Board has guidelines about making decisions on refugee claims.  The guidelines don’t say how decisions must be made. Instead, the guidelines have information for Board members to think about when making decisions.

Violence against women

There are guidelines that say that Board members must be sensitive to refugee claims that involve gender-based persecution. Board members must consider the following:

  • Will the woman be able to get the protection she needs from her country?
  • Is there a risk of harm if the woman doesn’t follow religious laws or cultural customs in her country?
  • Could the woman face gender-based persecution because of her relationship to a family member, often male?

Canadian law recognizes that women who fear domestic violence, or any other gender-based fear, can meet the definition of Convention refugee or person in need of protection.

Vulnerable people

There are guidelines to help vulnerable claimants present their claims and reduce the chance that they will be traumatized by the process. If you have experienced intimate partner violence, you might be a vulnerable person.

You can apply to the Refugee Board to ask for procedural accommodations at least 10 days before the hearing.

Procedural accommodations means holding your hearing in a way that might help you feel more comfortable to testify. For example, you can ask to bring a support person to the hearing with you, or your lawyer may be allowed to ask you questions first, before the Board member. You usually have to include medical or psychological to support your request.

Children refugee claimants

There are guidelines that say that Board members must consider the best interests of the child when dealing with refugee claims of children under 18 years old.

Each decision will depend on the details of the case. For example, the Board should look the child’s age, gender, cultural background, and past experiences.

The Refugee Board will appoint a Designated Representative for all refugee claimants under 18 years old. The Designated Representative is usually the Principal Claimant or spouse. If the child is not accompanied by a parent, or if there is a conflict within the family, the Board will appoint a Designated Representative outside of the family such as a lawyer or a social worker.

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