Phone: 416.364.2345    Fax: 1.888.904.4324

Refugee Law

Levine Associates has a proven history of success in assisting thousands of refugee claimants who have appeared before the Immigration and Refugee Board over the past 30 years.


What is a Convention Refugee?

The main distinction between refugees and immigrants is that immigrants typically choose to voluntarily leave their home country and come to Canada either to reunite with family members or to make a better economic life.  Convention refugees on the other hand, are people who are forced to leave their countries because they fear persecution as a result of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.  Claimants are generally meant to make their claims in the first country they arrive in that can provide them with safety.

Refugee claims may be made at Canada’s border or inland.  In either case, once found eligible refugee claimants are granted a hearing before the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).  Where the Board determines the claim positive, claimants are entitled to remain in Canada on a permanent basis.

Levine Associates is one of the oldest refugee law firms in Canada and has represented many thousands of claimants over the past 30 year years.  If you believe you may be eligible for a refugee claim or you require assistance to process your claim contact our office.

Your success at the RPD depends on a number of different factors

Country Profile

  • If you come from a country which produces a large number of refugees the Board will consider your evidence within that context.  Conversely, if you come from a country that does not regularly produce refugees, much of the hearing may be spent having you produce documents to convince the Board that the kind of events you describe do in fact occur in your country.


  • Cases often boil down to the question whether your evidence is credible or truthful. This includes your written evidence (BOC), the oral evidence you provide at your hearing, supporting documentation such as identity documents and affidavits, and objective documentation regarding the country conditions.

Panel Member

  • Assessing testimony, particularly where there is often no corroborating evidence in the form of video or photographic evidence, is a very subjective process.   As a result, the panel member who hears your case can have a dramatic impact on the outcome.   Unfortunately, there is no way to predict with any certainty who your panel member will be, nor is there any way to request that a specific Board member hear your case.

Your Lawyer

  • You are entitled to have a representative at the hearing to ensure your interests are properly safeguarded.  The more knowledgeable your representative is, the more certainty there will be that your case is heard in a fair way.  In addition to protecting your rights at the hearing, your lawyer must also protect your rights in the event you decide to appeal to the RAD or seek a Judicial Review of a negative decision.  More than 50% of cases fail.  It is therefore vitally important that you have a lawyer who can make all the necessary objections to protect your appeal rights.  In most cases, if your representative fails to object to an unfair procedure at the hearing, you will be barred from raising the issue at the Federal Court.

Preparing your case

Basis of Claim (BOC)

Once claims are determined eligible, claimants are provided with a BOC kit and asked to file their material within 15 days or immediately where claims are made inland.  Claimants should contact a lawyer prior to the submission of the BOC to ensure it contains all the required information.

The BOC will form the basis of the evidence you provide to the Board regarding your claim and will be used at the hearing.  If there are serious errors in the BOC they may be held against you and seriously damage your prospects for success.

The hearing consists of an attendance before the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).  At the hearing, usually a single member of the RPD will consider your claim.  You are entitled to have a lawyer represent you at the hearing.  Your lawyer will be allowed to ask questions, object to improper questioning by the Board and introduce evidence to support your claim.  Your lawyer may also be asked to provide submissions in support of your claim.

At the conclusion of your hearing, the panel member is in the position to render a decision in your case. The panel may render a positive or negative decision, or the member may reserve its decision and provide you with your decision in writing at a later date.  Reserved decisions may be either positive or negative.

Immigration, Refugee & Family Lawyers

Speak to an Associate today.