Canada’s political, economic and social conditions present a favourable destination for foreigners; namely civilian populations who fear war and persecution in their home countries. Whether for reasons related to religion, race, politics or their membership to a specific social group, this fear is usually well-founded. As they become caught in the crossfire of violent military operations, these individuals are often forced to flee their home countries and become refugees. Luckily, as a result of its involvement in the Geneva Conventions, Canada grants safety, protection and permanent residency status to approximately 25,000 refugees every year!
The Geneva Conventions for the Protection of War Victims took place on August 12th, 1949. This body of international humanitarian law seeks to protect and provide care for victims of armed conflict. It was signed and ratified by various nations around the world, including Canada, of course.
The Canadian refugee protection program is comprised of two major components.
This program is administered to those seeking protection from outside of Canada. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is the agency that identifies refugees and processes their resettlement. Once they are identified, each refugee resettlement case must go through a screening process. This is performed in order to ensure they do not pose any threats to national security, health and safety. Next, the Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) Program will match the refugees identified and approved by the UNHCR with either a private or community sponsor.
This program is for individuals making refugee protection claims from within Canada. There are certain factors that limit eligibility for asylum seekers. In other words, there are conditions that determine whether an individual qualifies for asylum.
For example, refugee protection is provided to people in Canada if they:
Conversely, individuals are not eligible for refugee protection if they have:
The Government of Canada or Province of Quebec offers various integration services to resettled refugees. The Resettlement Assistance Program is designed to enable refugees to adjust to and establish themselves within Canadian society.
Income support is provided to those who are unable to afford basic necessities, such as food and shelter. This social assistance is provided for up to one year, or until the refugee is able to support themselves financially — whichever comes first.
Aside from financial support, there are a number of other services offered by the Resettlement Assistance Program. For the first four to six weeks upon entry, clients are provided with:
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