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The Refugee Claim Process

The Refugee Claim Process

Flow chart showing the key stages of a claim.

Your Refugee Hearing

Your Refugee Hearing

Take an online tour of a refugee hearing room in Toronto and find information to help you prepare for a hearing.

Ready Tour

Ready Tour is a free program that helps you prepare for your refugee hearing or an appeal at the Refugee Appeal Division. Register now.

Getting legal help

If the claimant cannot afford a lawyer:

People with low incomes may be able to get help through Legal Aid Ontario.

A refugee claimant can apply for a legal aid certificate. To qualify, claimants must show that they cannot afford to pay for a lawyer. Legal aid certificates pay lawyers for specific services. They do not pay for the services of consultants who are not lawyers.

Legal Aid Ontario has staff offices in Toronto, Hamilton, and Ottawa. Their staff may be able to help refugee claimants who qualify for legal aid.

A community legal clinic may also be able to provide legal advice or make a referral to someone who can. They can also tell you about getting access to services and benefits, such as social assistance. Find a clinic.

You can also look in Getting Legal Help: A Directory of Community Legal Clinics in Ontario.


If the claimant is looking for a lawyer:

Legal Aid Ontario offers a searchable directory of lawyers who accept legal aid certificates. A claimant can search for refugee lawyers by location and language.

A claimant in Ontario can also find a licensed lawyer through the Law Society of Upper Canada's directory of members. Some lawyers who are experts in refugee law are listed in the Law Society's Directory of Certified Specialists – Refugee Protection Law.

If the claimant is looking for information about other representatives:

Immigration consultants who are members of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council or paralegals licensed by a provincial law society can also represent claimants.


Last updated: Aug 16, 2019


All taxonomy terms:

All taxonomy terms: Letters

All taxonomy terms: Forms

All taxonomy terms: Fees

All taxonomy terms: Timelines

All taxonomy terms: Inadmissibility

All taxonomy terms: Proof of identity

All taxonomy terms: Applying for OHIP

All taxonomy terms: Special hearings