There are three government agencies that work with refugees. Each agency has different roles and responsibilities:
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
- Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)
- Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB)
These agencies do not automatically share information with each other.
Role of IRCC
If you start your refugee claim inside Canada, you give your application to IRCC.
If they decide you can make a claim, they send it to the IRB-RPD.
But the IRCC may oppose your refugee claim. They tell you or your legal representative this in a letter (called a Notice of Intervention). Then they send documents, or a person called the Minister’s Counsel, to argue against you at your hearing.
You can also apply to the IRCC for:
- Work permits
- Interim Federal Health Insurance
- Permanent residence
Role of CBSA
If you start your refugee claim at a Port of Entry (land border, airport, or seaport) or from a detention centre, you tell a CBSA officer that you want to make a claim.
After talking to you, CBSA may decide that you can try to get protection in Canada. They help you start your claim. They tell the IRB-RPD that you are making a claim.
But CBSA may oppose your refugee claim. They tell you or your legal representative this in a letter (called a Notice of Intervention). Then they send documents, or a person called the Minister’s Counsel, to argue against you at your hearing.
- controls Canada’s borders and decides who can enter Canada
- removes refugee claimants who cannot stay in Canada.
CBSA can put you in jail if:
- they cannot be sure of who you are,
- they believe you are dangerous, or
- they believe you will not follow immigration laws.
If you are put in jail, you have the right to a lawyer or legal representative. There will be a hearing about letting you out of jail.
Role of the IRB
The IRB’s Refugee Protection Division (RPD) decides if you can get refugee protection in Canada.
- Reads your Basis of Claim (BOC) Form and your other documents and evidence
- Offers you a Ready Tour to help you prepare for your hearing
- Leads your refugee hearing
- Decides whether to accept your refugee claim
The IRB has three other parts. You may also be involved with:
Keep your address up to date
Change your address with the IRB-RPD
There are two ways to give the IRB-RPD your new address or phone number:
- Fill in the Notification of Client Contact Information form, or
- Write a letter.
Be sure to include:
- Your new address, phone number, or email.
- Your name.
- Your IRB File Number or your Client ID (called your UCI Number). These are on any letters from the IRB or on your Refugee Protection Claimant Document.
You can send the form or letter to the IRB by mail, fax, or email.
Change your address with IRCC
To change your address with IRCC, go to the Webform and follow the steps to put in your new address.
Tips for filling in the Webform:
- Select “Change of Contact Information” where it says to put in your “type of application/enquiry.”
- Find your UCI number on your Refugee Protection Claimant Document or on any letters from IRCC.
Change your address with CBSA
At your interview with CBSA, an officer will give you instructions on how and where to give CBSA your new contact information.