If you came to Canada to flee persecution in your country of origin, you may be able to make a refugee claim. Canada is a party to the international Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Canada has put this international law into its own law through the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. These laws obligate Canada to hear legitimate claims for asylum (refugee status) if a person claiming it has a "well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion" or "danger, believed on substantial grounds to exist, of torture" or a "risk to their life or to a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment" in their countries of origin. You have to be in a situation where your country of origin, or any other country you resided in for a substantial period since the incidents, could not give you protection from whatever harm you faced.
Refugee claims can be very difficult. A person will not succeed in a refugee claim if fleeing poor economic conditions or even environmental catastrophe. It has to be due to a person or a group who is putting your life or security at risk, who has the ability to make you unsafe in the entire country. Succeeding in a refugee claim involves convincing the Immigration and Refugee Board at a hearing that your claim is valid. There are a lot of possible factors that may put a refugee claim in doubt. One important factor to keep in mind is time. A refugee claimant is expected to act quickly. There are time limits once you indicate that you want to make a refugee claim.
As soon as you inform an immigration officer or officer with the Canada Border Services Agency that you want to make a refugee claim, you will be scheduled to do an eligibility interview very soon after. You will be asked questions about your journey to Canada, your identification, security questions and others to determine if there are any barriers to claiming refugee status in Canada. You will also be asked basic questions about why you are making a refugee claim. This eligibility interview is not your refugee claim, but just to check that the you are eligible to make a claim. If you succeed in the eligibility interview, you will be provided with a refugee claimant document that will give you the ability get access to heath care and can be used to get permission to work while awaiting your hearing.
Hiring a lawyer to take on your refugee claim can give you the benefit of someone familiar with the cases that needs to be made. There are a lot of pieces that need to be put together to make a successful refugee claim: witnesses, documentary evidence, police reports, medical reports or any other evidence that supports your claim.