I have a refugee hearing and the Minister is taking part. What does this mean?

This information could apply to you if you're making a refugee claim or appealing a decision about your claim.

The term “Minister” refers to either Canada's Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship or the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

When there’s an exclusion issue

The information in this question does not apply to you if you've been told by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) that the Minister is taking part because of an exclusion issue. You need to read I have a refugee hearing and there’s an exclusion issue. What does this mean?

Your refugee claim may be excluded if the Minister believes:

  • you don't need Canada's protection because you have protection in another country
  • you don't deserve protection because you have committed a serious crime in another country
  • you don't deserve protection because you broke human rights laws or there are other security concerns

How the Minister gets involved

The Minister is represented by someone from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). That person is called Minister's counsel.

Minister's counsel can take part by:

  • giving at your hearing
  • asking you questions at your hearing
  • making written submissions about your refugee claim, whether they go to your hearing or not

Why the Minister might get involved

Minister's counsel may take part in your hearing to make sure that the Refugee Board has all of the information it needs to make a decision on your claim. The legal term for the Minister taking part is an “intervention”.

Minister's counsel may argue that your refugee claim or your appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) should not be accepted because they don't believe you're:

  • a , or
  • a

As well, the Refugee Board can ask the Minister to take part in your hearing based on any of the reasons listed in Step 2 under Reasons why the Minister will get involved. The Board must tell you if this happens and why.

Even if the Refugee Board asks the Minister to take part, the Minister may decide not to intervene in your hearing.

Get legal help

If the Minister is intervening in your refugee claim or appeal, it's important to get legal help before your hearing.

Your lawyer will know how to:

  • ask for an adjournment if you need more time to get ready for your hearing, and
  • respond to the Minister's evidence.

Knowing how to respond to the evidence can be very complicated. You'll need legal help to explain either:

  • why the Minister's information is wrong, or
  • if the information is right, why you should not be excluded from refugee protection.
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