2.A Refugees: From Eligibility to Arrival
A.1 Who is Eligible to be sponsored?
(iii) Are there any other criteria outside those established in the Refugee Convention that will make individuals eligible to be privately sponsored?
How Canada Does It
As the private sponsorship of refugees program has evolved, Canada has created various humanitarian classes to broaden the strict refugee eligibility criteria set out in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and enable a wider array of individuals in “refugee-like” situations to be eligible for resettlement. Designated humanitarian classes also permit Canada to respond in a targeted way to particular conflict situations.
COUNTRY OF ASYLUM CLASS allows the resettlement of refugees who:
- Have been, and continue to be, seriously and personally affected by civil war, armed conflict or massive violations of human rights;
- Are outside of their countries of nationality and habitual residence; and
- Have no reasonable prospect, within a reasonable period, or another durable solution, namely: voluntary repatriation or resettlement in their country of nationality or habitual residence; resettlement in their country of asylum; or resettlement to a third country.
“Seriously and personally affected” means that the refugee applicant has been, and continues to be, personally subjected to sustained and effective denial of a basic human right. Human rights are defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
PRIMA FACIE STATUS: Canada has also granted refugee status and resettlement to certain populations recognized as refugees on a prima facie basis UNHCR. Examples include Somali Madhiban refugees in Kenya in 2003-04, Karen refugees in Thailand in 2006-08, and Bhutanese refugees in Nepal (2008-2015).
Canada has also created the following humanitarian classes which are no longer in effect:
- POLITICAL PRISONERS AND OPPRESSED PERSONS CLASS for individuals located within designated countries (Poland, Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, Uruguay, Guatemala) who were persecuted by way of detention or other penal control for legitimately exercising freedom of thought or expression;
- EAST EUROPEAN SELF-EXILED PERSONS CLASS: Thousands of European (in particular Polish) self-exiled persons were sponsored in the 1980s in a program parallel to the Government-Assisted program.
- INDOCHINESE REFUGEES: Out of approximately 60,000 Indochinese refugees resettled to Canada in 1979 and 1980, 34,000 were privately sponsored.
- SOURCE COUNTRY CLASS: Allowed for resettlement of individuals facing recurring human rights violations directly from their countries of origin where Canada specifically designated those countries.