Rights and duties of refugees

Protection from being returned to your country of origin (non-refoulement)

This is the fundamental right of all refugees. You cannot be deported or sent back to a country in which your life or freedom may be in danger on account of your race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. If Canada accepts your claim, you get “protected person” status. This means you can stay in Canada, and you can apply to become a permanent resident of Canada. For more information, please visit the following website.


Official identity

The Canadian Government is responsible for giving you an identification document in order to authorize your stay in the country. Every person, regardless of age, gender or sex, must be documented.

If your claim for refugee protection is accepted by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB), you will get a formal letter or document that you can use to prove your status. If you are a protected person who was selected abroad and resettled as a refugee in Canada, you will get a document called a “Confirmation of Permanent Residence.” Later, you will be sent a Permanent Resident Card (also called a PR card).
If you are a protected person because you got a positive Pre-Removal Risk Assessment, you will get a document called a “Verification of Status.”

Each of these documents can be used to prove your status in Canada.


We all have the right to live in an environment free from discrimination, regardless of ethnicity, colour of someone’s skin, sex, language, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, religion, political opinion, nationality, socio-economic position, birthplace or any other personal attributes.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, guarantees individuals in Canada:
• freedom of religion, of thought, of expression, of the press and of peaceful assembly;
• the right to participate in political activities and the right to a democratic government;
• the freedom to move around and live within Canada, and to leave Canada;
• legal rights such as the right to life, liberty and security;
• equality rights; and,
• language rights
If you feel one of your rights has been violated, you may get help by filing a complaint in court or through a human rights commission. For more information, please visit the website of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Access to banking services

Refugees have the same rights to public and private banking services as any Canadian. In other words, you can open a bank account, transfer funds and access all other banking services.


As a refugee, you have the right to the same health insurance Canadian citizens receive. Health care services is the responsibility of each province, For more information on how to apply for a health card in your province, please visit the following website.


Refugees have the right to work in Canada. However, if you are not yet a permanent resident or Canadian citizen, you need to apply for a work permit or continue to renew your existing work permit until you receive permanent residence

For more information, please visit the following website.


If you have children under 18, they will automatically be eligible to attend school. All children in Canada have the right to attend school. If you are 18 years old or older but have not yet obtained your permanent resident status, you need to apply for a student permit to attend school. For more information please visit the following website.

Freedom of movement

You have the right to move freely throughout Canada and choose where you want to live. If you wish to travel outside Canada, you may apply for a Refugee Travel Document from the Canadian government. For more information on how to apply, please visit the following website.

Access to justice

Social assistance benefits

Refugees may be eligible to receive social assistance benefits depending on provincial regulations. For more information, please visit the following website.

Permanent Residence and Citizenship

If your asylum application was approved and you are recognized as a refugee, you have the right to apply for permanent residence in Canada immediately upon receiving your decision. You may include your dependent children and your spouse in this application for permanent residence, regardless of whether they are in Canada or not. For more information on this application process please visit the following website.

A refugee may apply for citizenship in Canada if they have obtained their permanent residence and have been physically present in Canada as a permanent resident for 3 out of the last 5 years with no minimum number of days per year, before applying for citizenship. Days spent in Canada before becoming a permanent resident (as a temporary resident or protected person) within 5 years of applying for citizenship, count as ½ days, up to a maximum of 1 year (365 days). For more information on this application process please visit the following website.

Family Reunification

Once you are officially recognized as a refugee by the Canadian Government, you have the right to include your dependent family members in your application for permanent residency.

What is family reunification?
Family reunification is a way to maintain family unity in cases where the relatives of the refugee are living outside of Canada.

Which family member can be brought to the country under family reunification?
• Dependent children;
• Spouse or common-law partner;
• Dependent child of a dependent child.
Your applications will be processed at the same time. Dependent family members must have been declared during your asylum process to be eligible, a few exceptions apply.
If you, as a recognized refugee in Canada, decide not to include your dependent family members at the time of your own application for permanent residency, you will have up to one year from the date of receipt of permanent resident status to start the process for your dependents without having to meet the financial requirements of the Family Class sponsorship, but there will be a requirement to pay processing fees.
To find out how to submit your application for you and your family members, please visit the following website