On World Refugee Day, how well is Canada welcoming refugee claimants?

Urgent information gap facing refugee claimants gets filled by new resource MyRefugeeClaim.ca

In time for World Refugee Day on June 20, Kinbrace, BC’s longest-serving housing and support provider for refugee claimants, have launched MyRefugeeClaim.ca, the first national, multilingual set of resources for refugee claimants. 

Created by frontline workers, legal experts, and refugee claimants, MyRefugeeClaim.ca is a comprehensive public legal education resource with the goal of making the refugee protection system easier to access for all refugee claimants in Canada. 

Supported and endorsed by UNHCR, MyRefugeeClaim.ca features comprehensive and continuously-updated resources for refugee claimants to meet urgent and critical information, connection and orientation needs. 

This includes:

  • A comprehensive website that offers a step-by-step guide for refugee claimants detailing the process of making a refugee claim from beginning to end;
  • An Orientation Booklet complete with checklists for claimants to complete; and
  • Ready Tours, which are free virtual workshops where refugee claimants prepare for their refugee hearings and learn about the refugee appeal process.

According to UNHCR, in 2023 more than 117 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, and human rights violations. Although representing a very small proportion of the global population of those seeking safety, Canada is seeing record numbers of asylum seekers in search of refuge and protection.

Canada offers refugee protection, but very little information

When they arrive in Canada, refugee claimants start on a long and complicated journey. If they are successful, they can apply to become permanent residents. Refugee claimants often arrive alone and struggle to find housing, all the while navigating a complex refugee claim system in their quest for protection. There is an urgent need to connect refugee claimants to information and resources in their region, and to make Canada’s refugee protection system easier to understand and navigate.

“The increase in the number of people who are claiming refugee status is a global phenomenon and it’s impacting communities across Canada,” stated Kinbrace Director of Engagement Loren Balisky. “How does Canada respond in a way that makes people feel welcome? MyRefugeeClaim.ca offers a free, accessible resource for people to support with orientation, connection and preparation of their refugee claims.”

“Refugee claimants face a number of challenges, some immediate, like access to basic necessities such as housing, clothing and food while others are psychological and health related that may be both short term and long term,” added former refugee claimant Karanja Thariki. “There’s also a web of misinformation and disinformation that refugee claimants need to navigate. I wish MyRefugeeClaim.ca would have existed when I made the decision to seek refuge, as it would have helped me navigate Canada’s legal system leading up to my refugee decision.”

“Each refugee claimant’s story of having to flee their country and the vulnerabilities they face is unique,” noted Amanda Aziz, refugee lawyer. “Refugee claimants need support on arrival, and often do not know how to access legal and other resources. MyRefugeeClaim.ca is an important source of information and assistance to help people make connections and get the support they need from the start.”

To learn more about Canada’s refugee protection process, visit www.myrefugeeclaim.ca

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Welcoming and working on the traditional and unceded land of the Coast Salish peoples, including the shared traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ / sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh)     

Donations are accepted through the Kinbrace Community Society, Registered Canadian Charity no. 80276 4209 RR0001.