Claiming refugee protection - 3. Gathering and submitting evidence

If you have a claim for refugee protection pending before the RPD, you must keep your contact information up to date with the IRB. If your contact information changes, you must immediately inform the IRB of the changes in writing. The IRB will not be able to reach you without your correct contact information.

Don't forget...

  • Your witness list and all of your evidence must be submitted no later than 10 days before the date of your hearing.
  • If you do not provide high-quality copies of original identity documents or other documents in support of your claim, you will have to explain at your hearing why you do not have them, and show everything you did to try to get them.
  • It is your responsibility to visit the IRB website to review the documents in the National Documentation Packages (NDPs) for your home country as the RPD may consider them when deciding your claim. These packages are considered as part of the evidence submitted in each claim. Since they are updated regularly, it is important to check again close to your hearing date to make sure you are using the latest documents available.

Prepare for your hearing by gathering and submitting all relevant evidence to help support your claim, and by reviewing the Country of Origin Information (COI), including the National Documentation Packages (NDPs) produced by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB).

Gathering Evidence

Identity

You must show evidence of who you are by submitting high-quality copies of any official, original documents which include your name and date of birth on them. For example, you can submit high-quality copies of a passport, national identity card, birth certificate, marriage certificate, school transcript or certificate, driver's license, military document, or professional and religious membership cards. It is not necessary to provide the RPD with your original documents but you must be ready to produce them when requested by the RPD. You must also bring your original documents to your hearing.

Relevant Evidence

You should also submit other available documents that you feel are relevant to your claim and help show that your claim should be accepted. Depending on the nature of your refugee claim, this evidence may help to show:

  • that you are credible;
  • that you have a genuine fear of persecution in your country;
  • that the risk you face in your country is personal, and not generalized;
  • that the government in your country is unable to protect you, and/or
  • that you could not reasonably or safely live in another region of your country

Some examples of evidence that you can submit are proof of membership in political organizations, medical or psychological reports, police reports or documents, business records, news clippings, visas, travel documents (airplane, train or bus tickets), sworn statements from witnesses, photographs, notes or recordings of threats of violence against you, or documents related to past moves.

Conditions in your Country

This type of evidence includes reports from well-respected sources that documents country conditions that may relate to your claim such as political, social, cultural, economic, and human rights conditions. The presiding member at your hearing will use this information when making a decision on your claim.

The IRB produces National Documentation Packages (NDPs) for every country, and updates them on a regular basis. An NDP is a compilation of publicly available documents, and each NDP provides full citations to help you locate the documents that are not available on the IRB website. It is also your responsibility to check the IRB website for the newest version of the NDP for your home country prior to your hearing. You do not need to submit into evidence anything from these NDPs. They are considered as part of the evidence submitted in each claim.

The member may also decide to use other documents as well, for example, other reports produced by the IRB Research Directorate, media articles or reports from human rights organizations. Copies of any additional documents which the member finds useful will be sent to you before your hearing.

Witnesses

You may bring witnesses to your hearing if you think this will help your claim. A witness is a person who knows about your claim and can provide information that will help the member make a decision. Witnesses must be ready to answer questions about the information they provide at your hearing (their testimony). If you would like to have a witness, you must submit the following information about each witness, in writing no later than 10 days before the date of your hearing:

  • their contact information (address, telephone number and fax number);
  • a short statement on the purpose of their testimony and what it will be about;
  • how long their testimony will take;
  • your relationship to the witness;
  • whether you want them to testify in person, by videoconference or by telephone; and
  • whether they need an interpreter, and if so, the language and dialect they will use.
  • If the witness is an expert, you must also give information about their qualifications and include a report that summarizes their testimony and that must be signed by the witness.

Submitting Evidence

If you gather more documents to support your claim after you provided the BOC Form, you must immediately give two copies to the RPD. Copies of these additional documents and your list of witnesses (if you plan on having any) must be received by the RPD at least 10 days before your hearing. It is best for you to send your documents to the RPD as soon as you get them.

Follow these steps to submit documents and evidence to the RPD:

Step 1

If your documents are not in English or French, you must provide the translated documents and a translator's declaration to the RPD, along with the copies of the original documents. The translator's declaration must include:

  • the translator's name;
  • the translated language and dialect, if any;
  • a statement that the translation is accurate; and
  • the signature of the translator.
Step 2

Print, scan or photocopy all the documents on 8½ by 11 inch (21.5 by 28 cm) paper. The documents you provide must be typed in at least 12-point font or be photocopies of original documents. All photocopies must be clear and easy to read.

Step 3

Put the documents together and number the pages consecutively (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4…), as if they were one document. Then add a cover page with your name and address, the date, your claim number, and a list of all the documents you are submitting with their page numbers.

Step 4

Make a photocopy of your document package. You will keep a copy, and submit the other to the RPD.

Step 5

You can submit the document package to the RPD yourself, or you can send it by courier to the regional office that is handling your claim. If you have fewer than 20 pages in total, you can also send the package by fax. Your package must be received 10 days before your hearing, so it is important to leave enough time for delivery.

Or

You may choose to submit the package electronically through Canada Post’s secure epost Connect™ service. If you established a secure conversation when you submitted your Basis of Claim form, you can use the same conversation to submit documents.

Step 6

If the Minister’s counsel is participating either in person in your hearing or by submitting documents, you must also submit a copy of your package to them. If the Minister’s counsel is participating you will receive a Notice of Intervention no later than 10 days before the hearing. Their address will be on the notice that you received. You must also write a letter to the RPD confirming that you have sent a copy to the Minister’s counsel.

Step 7

Bring all paperwork related to your claim, including originals and copies, to your hearing.