Canada's Refugee Protection

Refugee Protection in Canada.

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Are You a Refugee with Permanent Resident Status in Canada?
Apply for Citizenship Now to Protect Your Status!

If you are a Convention Refugee who has become a Permanent Resident coming changes to the law may put you at risk of losing your Permanent Resident Status.

You may lose your Permanent Resident status for the following reasons:

  • You have voluntarily sought and received the protection of your country of nationality (e.g. returned to your country of origin or applied for a passport)
  • You have voluntarily re-acquired your nationality (e.g. you have applied for citizenship from your country of origin after having lost it)
  • You have acquired a new nationality and enjoy the protection of that country (for example, if you marry a citizen of another country and then obtain citizenship in that country )
  • You have voluntarily become re-established in the country that you have left

Immigration could try to take away your Convention Refugee status at a hearing for these reasons. If your status is taken away, you would lose your Permanent Resident status as well.

Canadian Citizens cannot lose their status for these reasons. They can only lose their status if it is based on a "misrepresentation."

It is important to apply for Canadian Citizen status as soon as possible.

Am I Eligible?

Permanent Residents may be eligible to become citizens if they:

  • are over 18 years old
  • have lived in Canada for 3 of the last
    4 years
  • have a knowledge of one official language
    (English or French)
  • have no history of serious criminality
  • have passed the citizenship test
    (if between 18 and 55 years of age)

Visit: to see if you meet the residency requirements.


Refugees who have become Permanent Residents may face barriers to getting citizenship including:

  • difficulties learning the official languages
  • learning disabilities
  • visual or hearing impairments

If you think this might apply to you, contact your local Legal Clinic for information and help.

For information on the application process visit or a provincial organization.

Contact your local public library to enquire about free language and citizenship classes

Adapted from a PDF document created by Downtown Legal Services, in collaboration with East Toronto Community Legal Services. (Oct. 2012)

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    * data source: Census Canada 2006
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