Your BOC Form narrative

Your narrative is your chance to give more details about your refugee claim. You do not have to do one, but it is a good idea. You may not have the chance to say everything you want to at your refugee hearing.

Start your narrative

Before you begin:

  • Look over:
    • your BOC Form, 
    • any other forms and applications you gave to the Canadian government (including from outside Canada).  
  • Tell the truth. Your narrative must be honest and correct. IRB-RPD is likely to reject your claim if they don’t believe what you have said. If anything in your narrative does not match something you already wrote on another form, explain why.
  • Write about the important issues only. You do not need to repeat the basic facts (about your identity, family, education, jobs, and travel) that you put in your BOC and other forms, unless these details are important to show the risk you face in your country.
  • Keep your narrative well organized so it is easy to read for the busy IRB-RPD Member who decides your claim.
  • Remember that you need to explain the danger you would face in the future in your country and why you cannot go back, not only the events that happened in the past.
  • Describe how the past events changed the physical and mental health of you and your family.
Legal issues

The IRB-RPD member is looking for the following information:

  • What danger would you face if you go back to your country? Who might hurt you? What threats or bad treatment have you faced? Name the people or the groups. Have other people like you had the same problems? Does everyone in your country face the same danger, or just you and a certain group of people?
  • Why do they want to hurt you? Is it because of your
    • race,
    • religion,
    • nationality, 
    • political opinion, or
    • because you belong to a certain social group of people? (For example, women.)
  • If you belong to an organization or any group of people in danger, describe the group. If it is helpful, give details about what you did in the group.
  • How would the people who want to hurt you find you if you return? Do they have a way to find you no matter where you go in the country? How will they know you are back?
  • Did you ask the police or other authorities for help? What happened? If you did not ask, why not? Do you know other people like you who asked for help? What happened?
  • Can you live safely in another part of your country? Why not? Do not just say that you do not have friends or family to live with.
  • Why did you choose to leave the country when you did? Did you leave right away? If not, why not?
  • If you went back after you left, explain why. Did you take steps to protect yourself?
  • If it took you a long time to make a refugee claim in Canada, explain why.
  • If you went through a safe country first, explain why you did not make a refugee claim there. If you did make a refugee claim in another country, what happened?
  • Are there other reasons why you cannot return to your country? Medical reasons? Is it hard to find housing or jobs?

See Prepare for Your Hearing for more information.

Complete your narrative

When you have finished, go over your narrative with your legal representative carefully. Make any changes. If you do not have a legal representative, ask someone you trust to read it over for you.  

Write your name and Unique Client Identifier (UCI) (if you have one) at the top right of each page of your narrative.

Once you are happy with your narrative, you must get it translated into English or French. Ask the translator to read it back to you and listen carefully to make sure it is right. The translator will need to do a translator’s declaration.

Combine your narrative and your BOC Form into one PDF file to send to the IRB-RPD. (You can send your narrative later, but they should get it at least ten days before your refugee hearing.) Follow the IRB-RPD instructions for sending evidence.