Section 108 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act states that a person’s refugee protection chall cease when:
108. (1) A claim for refugee protection shall be rejected, and a person is not a Convention refugee or a person in need of protection, in any of the following circumstances:
(a) the person has voluntarily reavailed themself of the protection of their country of nationality;
(b) the person has voluntarily reacquired their nationality;
(c) the person has acquired a new nationality and enjoys the protection of the country of that new nationality;
(d) the person has voluntarily become re-established in the country that the person left or remained outside of and in respect of which the person claimed refugee protection in Canada; or
(e) the reasons for which the person sought refugee protection have ceased to exist.
Cessation of refugee protection
(2) On application by the Minister, the Refugee Protection Division may determine that refugee protection referred to in subsection 95(1) has ceased for any of the reasons described in subsection (1).
Effect of decision
(3) If the application is allowed, the claim of the person is deemed to be rejected.
(4) Paragraph (1)(e) does not apply to a person who establishes that there are compelling reasons arising out of previous persecution, torture, treatment or punishment for refusing to avail themselves of the protection of the country which they left, or outside of which they remained, due to such previous persecution, torture, treatment or punishment.
As previously noted on this blog:
Traditionally, the CBSA rarely initiated cessation proceedings because the loss of refugee status did not also lead to a loss of permanent residence status. However, as a result of changes to Canada’s refugee system in 2012, when the RPD ceases a permanent resident’s refugee status for any of the first four reasons above, then the individual also automatically loses their permanent resident status, and is inadmissible to Canada. (Note: a permanent resident who loses his or her refugee protection for the fifth reason will not lose his or her permanent residence status.)
There is no time limit on when the CBSA can initiate cessation proceedings, and there have been cases where cessation proceedings occurred 14 years after the refugee became a permanent resident.
It is important to note that cessation is not based on fraud on the part of the refugee; it is based on a change in circumstances or decision by the refugee to travel. One simply has to question the fairness of this, especially in light of the fact that the CBSA has a quota to initiate cessation and vacating proceedings.
Advice to refugees
The resolute manner with which CBSA is initiating refugee cessation applications means that there are several things that refugees should note. First, it is important that refugees apply for and acquire permanent residency so that a change in conditions in their home country will not result in them losing their refugee status and being removed.
There have been numerous Federal Court decisions on the issue of cessation, many of which have led to certified questions. In this post I hope to reproduce all of the questions and answers as they become available in this extremely contentious area of immigration law.
Continue reading “Certified Questions on Cessation”