Canada launches its Canadian Refugee Protection Portal with mixed reception

Canadian Refugee Protection portal

UPDATE 2023-11-02 – The government has updated its portal, claimants must now apply via the Canadian Refugee Protection Portal. The information below might no longer applicable. For more information see this guide from IRCC.

The Canadian Refugee Protection portal is now the default method for inland refugee claims to be initiated.

As of October 6, 2021, refugee claimants inside of Canada who wish to initiate a claim will need to submit an application through the Canadian Refugee Protection Portal.

The government had in April 2020 implemented a public policy that allowed claimants to initiate a claim via Email and submit the paper forms via Epost thus exempting them from initiating a claim in person at an IRCC office.

The government has since enacted a new temporary public policy requiring all inland claims for refugee protection under subsection 99(3) of the Immigration and Protection Act to be submitted via the new online Canadian Refugee Protection Portal.

What is the Canadian Refugee Protection Portal?

The Canadian Refugee Portal is an online application that claimants must use to initiate their refugee claim in Canada it contains in essence all the information that would usually be required when completing the paper based forms. This will allow the Government of Canada to assess a person’s eligibility to make a claim from inside of Canada.

What if I am unable to use the Canadian Refugee Protection Portal?

If you are unable to submit a claim using their online system Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has stated that in certain cases individuals may send an email to to request an exemption. This could be because for example the person has a disability that makes it difficult to use the online application or have another valid reason for needing to apply on paper.

For more information on seeking an exemption see this link.

Are there any issues with the Canadian Refugee Protection Portal at this time?

Various association including, the Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, the Refugee Lawyers Association of Ontario which the writer of this article is a member of have raised concerns about the implementation of the portal before all the issues, concerns and bugs related to the use of the Portal have been fixes.

The portal was also implemented without consulting with various stakeholders throughout the process.

Some of the concerns that were raised are:

  • the Portal requires applicant’s to have the exact dates including the days of their activity, travel and address history in the past ten years or when since turning 18.
  • Detention period of less than 24 hours is not accepted by the forms
  • Information on all previously held passports is requested
  • The form
  • IRCC has been slow in responding to exemption requests to submit an application on paper
  • Instructions were also unclear as to how represented claimants could submit an application through their counsel using their counsel’s email
  • Claimant must have a Canadian phone number to complete the application some claimants do not have a Canadian phone number
  • Uploads are limited to 5 MB
  • The language used in the forms isn’t necessarily the easiest to understand
  • The lack of any instruction guide
  • Access to Justice barriers for individuals who do not have internet, a computer, an email address or are self-represented
  • Usability of the interface
  • No direct email or contact person in case of issue, must contact client support system which is slow to respond
  • Claimant’s are being used to test run the portal while the bugs are being fixed

IRCC has since addressed some of these issues and concerns.

What to do in case of an issue with the Canadian Refugee Protection Portal ?

In case of issues with using the portal, IRCC has recommended that claimant’s review the Q&A they have created on their website or contact IRCC’s Client Support Centre.

If you would like more information about the Canadian Refugee Protection Portal you may want to book a consultation to discuss your matter with us.

Please note that this should not be construed as Legal Advice. This is General Information and should not be acted on.

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