Asylum Seekers in Canada: Policies, Trends, and Challenges – Guest Post

Asylum Seekers in Canada

Canada has a long history of immigration. Every year thousands of people come to Canada as asylum seekers. These are the people who are seeking protection from persecution and human rights violations in another country. In 2022, the Canada Border Service Agency processed more than 64,050 applications as Asylum Claimants and a total of 91,710 by both IRCC and CBSA. Asylum Claims in Canada are on the rise because of global displacement and multiple factors contribute to the rise in these claims. for example, war, terrorism, and tribal and religious violence are the leading cause of people fleeing their country. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a person who feels that his life is in danger in their own country can seek protection. (“Rights and duties of asylum seekers”)

Globally 108.4 million people were forcibly displaced in 2022 and Canada only received 2 percent of them. As a Signatory member of the 1951 Convention on Refugee and Asylum Seekers Canada has drafted policies that are in line with the UN refugee agency including: (“Immigration to Canada set new record in 2022”)

Protection from being returned to your country. You cannot be deported until you receive a verdict on your status. Canada Government will provide you with an official document that authorizes you to stay in the country and a unique ID number. As an individual you are free to possess any religion, thought, or expression, you have legal rights such as the right to life, security, and liberty. Once an individual has been determined to be eligible to claim in Canada, they may have access to social assistance, education, health services, emergency housing, and legal aid as a refugee claimant while a decision on their claim is pending. Furthermore, after passing a medical check, most individuals determined to be able to make a refugee claim can apply for a work permit.

Canada receives most of its Asylum claims from Mexico and you can check claims by country. Canada has a Safe third world country agreement with the United States which mean individual get asylum in the first safe country they arrive in, but there are legal challenges and effectiveness of this system because of the political and social relations with other countries. (“Claims by Country of Alleged Persecution – 2022”)

The number of asylum seekers in Canada has fluctuated over the years. Except during the pandemic, the number of claims is steadily increasing. Now most of the claims have entered through ports which is 44% of the total claims made. There is a seasonal variation too like:

  • July and August at land borders
  • May, September, and December at airports
  • August through November in the interior
  • July and August are the months between the ports.
  • While historically, greater volumes between port claimants have occurred in July and August, we have witnessed a shift in 2022, with the month of September exceeding the already substantial volumes of both July and August.

Canada encountered several challenges in managing asylum seekers, because of the increased number of applicants the system faced long backlogs and processing delays, especially during the increased arrival. The Controversial Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States raises concerns about the US’s suitability as a safe destination for all asylum seekers. Access to legal representation is a critical barrier, as many asylum seekers fail to secure adequate legal assistance, thereby influencing the quality of their asylum petitions.

Asylum integration poses challenges for individuals like language barriers, employment opportunities, cultural adaptation, and public perception of the immigrants. People have varying opinions about the newcomers and the potential economic impact. The strain on resources provided for processing claims, support services, and housing is clear, hurting the timely and effective treatment of asylum cases. Regional inequalities in the dispersal of asylum seekers cause particular issues in resource allocation and support infrastructure. Adapting to shifting global dynamics, such as conflicts and disasters, is a continuing issue for Canada’s asylum system.

To address these issues, Local communities, legal service providers, government agencies, and non-governmental groups must cooperate and adapt in order to handle their concerns. Regular policy evaluation and modification are required to guarantee the resiliency and effectiveness of Canada’s response to asylum seekers. They can also get help from immigration consultants in Canada to learn more about government policies and the support the government is offering to immigrants.

Author Profile:

Harinder P Singh 

I contribute to, sharing the excitement of immigration’s promise—a chance for individuals, regardless of background, to create a better life abroad. Beyond writing, I find joy in drawing, cooking, baking, and savoring music. Immigration, to me, symbolizes hope for a brighter future for families and loved ones.

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