1. Understand when claims are joined

Usually, when families arrive in Canada and make refugee claims together, their claims are automatically joined. “Joined” means that a date will be set for one hearing so the Refugee Board can look at all the claims together. This is because it is more efficient to hear refugee claims that are based on the same facts at the same time.

If another family member arrives in Canada later, they can apply to the Refugee Board to have their refugee claim joined to the rest of the family. This is only possible if the hearing hasn't started yet.

The Refugee Protection Division Rules explain how to apply to join refugee claims. You must ask in writing at least 20 days before the date of your refugee hearing.

The Refugee Board will look at whether it is more efficient to join the claims, or if it would be unfair to refuse to join the claims. The Board will also consider the following:

  • Are the claims based on the same facts?
  • Did the claimants arrive in Canada together?
  • Did they make their refugee claims at the same time?
  • Has the hearing already started?

If the Refugee Board joins claims that are based on the same facts, you can then submit a single “narrative” that describes events that all of the claimants can rely upon.

Each claimant still has to complete their own Basis of Claim (BOC) form that explains why they are afraid to return to their home country. It's important to get legal help to complete your BOC.

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