Refugee Claims in Canada

Are you or someone you know planning to make a refugee claim in Canada? If so, you should know that the refugee determination process from within Canada has recently undergone some dramatic changes. Timelines are shorter, and stricter standards are now applied to claimants originating from certain countries deemed “safe”. It is essential for potential claimants and those who assist them to understand the new system and to take important steps that will increase the potential of achieving refugee status in Canada.

A refused refugee claim in Canada may not be the end of the road. An appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) will be available to some refugee claimants. Those who cannot access the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) can file an application for leave and judicial review with Canada’s Federal Court. Other options might include a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) or an Application for Permanent Residence on Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) Grounds.

If the refugee claimant or his/her supporters have access to funds to hire legal counsel to assist with a refugee claim in Canada, an experienced Canadian refugee lawyer or paralegal can be approached directly for help in seeking refugee status. Refugee claimants are advised to verify the credentials and experience of their legal advisor before engaging their services. If a refugee claimant cannot afford a refugee lawyer, he or she can approach the Legal Aid office in their Canadian province of residence to determine eligibility for free or subsidized legal assistance. If eligible, Legal Aid will provide the names of nearby Canadian refugee lawyers who will accept Legal Aid certificates.

Individuals can also approach refugee settlement organizations for advice on refugee claims in Canada, and for assistance with adjusting to life in Canada. Settlement organizations are located across the country. In Ontario, this website can help refugee claimants locate nearby services.

It is also possible to sponsor refugees who are located outside Canada. Refugee sponsorship is an available option for groups of five Canadian citizens or permanent residents, community sponsors such as church groups, or groups designated as “sponsorship agreement holders”. The sponsored refugee must meet all the qualifying requirements, and the sponsors must undertake to provide financial support for a designated period. Most refugee sponsorships last for one year.

The Immigration Law Group at Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP/s.r.l. is proud to assist refugee claimants in the Ottawa area, either directly or through Legal Aid Ontario. Both Warren Creates and Jacqueline Bonisteel are members of Legal Aid Ontario’s Refugee Law Panel. We invite potential refugee claimants or their supporters/sponsors to contact our office to set up a consultation regarding refugee claims in Canada.

Over the past 29 years, our group has successfully represented hundreds of refugees from the following countries.  The following diverse list demonstrates the resourcefulness of our team and our ability to handle any refugee case from any country at all.  We have an impressive record of successfully representing refugee claims based upon any of the recognized grounds, including political opinion, activity, and opposition, religious intolerance, family affiliation, ethnic persecution, gender violence, and race or ethnicity:

  • Afghanistan
  • Angola
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Bolivia
  • Burundi
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Cuba
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Ethiopia
  • Eritrea
  • India
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Israel
  • Lebanon
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • Syria
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • Uzbekistan


Permanent Residence for Protected Person / Refugee – June 2015

Jacqueline: I just want to say that I, my brother and my whole family are so grateful that we had the opportunity to be your clients. With your expertise, dedication, understanding and patience, our brother was able to get his landed immigrant document.

–     Omar (Djibouti)

Immigration and Refugee Board hearings – March 2013

Warren Creates regularly appeared before me during the time that I was a Member of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.  I was tasked by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to render decisions in regards to refugee claims from many countries of the world.  I did this for 10 years. Mr. Creates impressed me as a lawyer who thoroughly prepared his cases and represented his clients with passion and skill.  His work has always been diligent and excellent.  I admire his competence, devotion to his clients and compassion for his fellow human beings.”

– Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan, C.M., O.Ont.

Member (retired) of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (Refugee Protection Division) for 10 Years

Refugee Claim in Canada – August 2012

“I am deeply thankful for your humane support and for your very professional advice every step of the way in my difficult case. Your extensive knowledge and experience in refugee and immigration law is clear.  You and your terrific team were able to deliver an outstanding outcome, one that far exceeded my expectations. Because of your help, I now have the opportunity to start my new life in Canada.  Thank you so much!” 

Estoy profundamente agradecida por su apoyo humano y asesoria junto al profesionalismo mostrado en cada paso del camino. Su amplio conocimiento y experiencia en el sistema de immigration que usted y su excelente equipo fueron capaces de obtener un resultado excepcional, superando con creces mis expectativas. Gracias a su ayuda, ahora tengo la oportunidad de comenzar mi nueva vida en Canadá. ¡Muchas gracias!”

– Lucia, Mexico

Judicial Review of Refugee Sponsorship – April 2012

“Oh my God, thank you sir. I am so grateful to have worked with you. It has been very hard case, but you did it. On behalf of my family, thank you very much for your hard work. Wow, wow … I cannot explain how happy I am!”

– Zaid, Eritrea

Refugee Claim in Canada – 2012

“J’ai reçu votre message de félicitations. Je vous remercie. Je vous remercie aussi de m’avoir représentée. Votre travail acharné a porté fruit. Je suis très reconnaissante envers vous et à l’ensemble de votre cabinet pour la manière dont vous m’avez préparé pour l’audition et pour votre accueil chaleureux. Je vous souhaite plein de succès à vous et à votre cabinet. Avec tous mes remerciements, je vous prie d’agréer, Monsieur, l’assurance de ma parfaite considération.”

–          Amina, Djibouti



Making a Refugee Claim in Canada: What You Need to Know – Warren Creates & Jacqueline BonisteelFebruary 2013



–          Appeals and Judicial Reviews

–          Canadian Citizenship

–          Canadian Permanent Residence

–          Deportation Orders and Removal from Canada

–          Humanitarian and Compassionate Applications in Canada

–          Immigration Detention in Canada

–          Inadmissibility to Canada

–          Sponsoring Family to Come to Canada