There are two major categories of refugees in Canada:
Refugees Resettled from Overseas
- Government Assisted Refugees (GARS) – individuals identified through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and who are supported by the government upon arrival in Canada. Commonly called GARS or convention refugees, they receive permanent residency status on arrival in Canada.
- Privately Sponsored Refugees - refugees sponsored by family members, churches or Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
- Individuals who apply for refugee status upon arrival in Canada.
- RCs are divided into those from DCOs (designated countries of origin; countries that do not normally produce refugees, but do respect human rights and offer state protection) and non-DCOs.
Individuals overseas and those claiming refugee status in Canada are generally successful in receiving refugee status if they fall into one of these two categories:
1951 UNHCR Convention Refugee definition
- Individuals who cannot return to their country of origin because of a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group
Persons in Need of Protection definition
- An individual who is afraid to return to his or her country because of the risk of torture, risk to life, risk of cruel or unusual treatment or punishment.