Chapter 8 - Internal flight alternative

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  1. 8.1. The two-prong test and general principles
  2. 8.2. Notice - Burden of proof
  3. 8.3. Interpretation and application of the two-pronged test
    1. 8.3.1. Fear of persecution
    2. 8.3.2. Reasonable in all the circumstances

8. Internal flight alternative (IFA)

8.1. The two-prong test and general principles

The question of whether an IFA exists is an integral part of the Convention refugee definition.Note 1 It arises when a claimant who despite meeting all the elements of the Convention refugee definition in their home area of the country never theless is not a Convention refugee because the person has an IFA elsewhere in that country. The key concepts concerning IFA come from two cases: RasaratnamNote 2 and Thirunavukkarasu.Note 3 From these cases it is clear that the test to be applied in determining whether there is an IFA is two-pronged.

  1. "… the Board must be satisfied on a balance of probabilities that there is no serious possibility of the claimant being persecuted in the part of the country to which it finds an IFA exists."Note 4
  2. Moreover, conditions in the part of the country considered to be an IFA must be such that it would not be unreasonable, in all the circumstances, including those particular to the claimant, for him to seek refuge there.Note 5

Both prongs must be satisfied for a finding that the claimant has an IFA.

The Court of Appeal in KanagaratnamNote 6, was of the view that the determination of whether a claimant has a well-founded fear of persecution in their home area of the country is not a prerequisite to the consideration of an IFA. At the same time, if a claimant fails to meet elements of the definition in the home area, it is open to the tribunal not to proceed to do an IFA analysis.Note 7

The concept of an IFA does not require that the safe haven be in another city or province of the state of origin so long as it is truly an area in which the claimant can seek refuge from the experienced persecution.Note 8 At the same time, an IFA may still exist where the risks in the proposed IFA are risks faced by all inhabitants.Note 9

A finding of IFA must be based on a distinct evaluation of a region for that purpose taking into account the claimant’s identity. It cannot be inferred from earlier findings of fact unconnected to the issue of an IFA.Note 10 Any harm described in section 96 or subsection 97(1) that, according to the claimant, exists in the proposed IFA should be considered under the first prong of the IFA test, whether or not these harms are also alleged in the region of origin.Note 11

The relationship between IFA, change of circumstances and the applicability of “compelling reasons” was considered by the Court,Note 12 which concluded that where an IFA applies to a claimant, that person is not and never could have been a Convention refugee. Accordingly, they could not cease to be a Convention refugee on the basis of a change of circumstances.

With respect to whether an “external flight alternative” might exist in the European Union for claimants who might have experienced persecution in one of the member states, the closest to a determination that this concept may not be applicable in Canadian law can be inferred from the MortocianNote 13 case. The Court was considering the RPD’s determination, which it found reasonable, that the Romanian claimant of Roma ethnicity was not a Convention refugee or a person in need of protection because what he faced was discrimination not amounting to persecution. The issue of an external flight alternative in the EU was addressed as follows:

[15] Regarding discrimination in employment, the Applicant submits that the Board, in essence, relied on an External Flight Alternative, suggesting that the Applicant could be employed elsewhere in the European Union. In addition, the Applicant submits that the Board failed to consider that the Applicant would be forced to work at menial jobs and or at a lesser wage in Romania and that this constitutes persecution.

[16] With respect to the notion of an External Flight Alternative, I agree with the Applicant that there is no such requirement. An Applicant need not demonstrate that they are unable to go to any country where they may have the right to work in order to establish that they satisfy the Convention refugee definition. Despite the increased mobility within the European Union [EU], those who work in other countries do not enjoy all the privileges of nationals and while they may be permitted to work, the periods of employment are limited. The European Union is a union of several distinct countries and is not one country. Whether this argument is cast as an Internal Flight Alternative within the EU or an External Flight Alternative beyond the country of origin, there is no requirement on an Applicant to exhaust employment opportunities in other countries.

8.2. Notice - Burden of proof

Two other general principles that emerge from Rasaratnam and Thirunavukkarasu concern notice and burden of proof. With respect to notice, the issue of IFA must be raised by the panel or the Minister (before or during the hearing). The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) does not automatically put claimants on notice that IFA is an issue in the claim. The principles regarding fair notice expressed in Rasaratnam and Thirunavukkarasu are still relevant under IRPA.Note 14 The notice must be clear and sufficient.Note 15

It is a breach of natural justice to tell the claimant that IFA is not an issue and then, later, make a contrary finding on that issue.Note 16 Extensive questioning during the hearing (by the Board or by counsel) on the subject of IFA can be sufficient notice.Note 17

With respect to burden of proof, once the issue is raised, the onus is on the claimant to show that they do not have an IFA. Even though the burden of proof rests on the claimant, the Board cannot base a finding that there is an IFA, in the absence of sufficient evidence, solely on the basis that the claimant has not fulfilled the onus of proof.Note 18

There is no onus on a claimant to personally test the viability of an IFA before seeking protection in Canada.Note 19

While in earlier jurisprudence there was inconsistency about whether a specific location or region must be identified as the potential IFA,Note 20 more recent case law suggests that the RPD must identify the specific IFA locations.Note 21 The outcome of any one particular judicial review application involving this issue may hinge on how clearly the claimant was questioned regarding the IFA issue and how clearly the panel explains its findings.

8.3. Interpretation and application of the two-pronged test

The abundance of case law on the topic of IFA basically concerns the interpretation and application of the two-pronged test. Some factors are relevant to both prongs of the test, some are relevant to one or the other prong.

8.3.1. Fear of persecution

On the issue of whether there is a serious possibility of persecution in the potential IFA, the considerations are basically the same as when making this determination with respect to the claimant's home area of the country. However, there are some specific points concerning this issue and IFA that are noteworthy:

  1. In determining whether there is an objective basis for fearing persecution in the IFA, the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) must consider the personal circumstances of the claimant, and not just general evidence concerning other persons who live there.Note 22
  2. The RPD must consider the circumstances of those persons in the IFA who are situated similarly to the claimant.Note 23
  3. In assessing the particular circumstances of the claimant, the RPD may consider the condition of family members who have sought refuge in the IFA.Note 24
  4. The nature and the agents of the persecution feared ought to suggest that the persecution would be confined to particular areas of the country.Note 25 In a case where the agents of persecution were the local police, the Court found that if the claimant was of no interest to the central authorities, the claimant may be able to relocate to other areas.Note 26 The fact that the agents of persecution are the central authority in the country does not necessarily prevent a finding that there is an IFA.Note 27
  5. If an individual had to remain in hiding to avoid problems, this would not be evidence of an IFA.Note 28 Similarly, if a person has to hide their sexual orientation in order to be safe, the IFA is not available.Note 29
  6. When assessing the ability of the agents of harm to locate the claimant in the proposed IFA, it is necessary to consider whether members of the claimant’s family living in that IFA could reveal the claimant’s whereabouts to the agents of harm or otherwise help those agents to locate the claimant.Note 30
  7. There is some lack of clarity concerning how the concept of cumulative harassment or cumulative grounds applies in the consideration of IFA.Note 31 In Karthikesu, the Court appears to find that experiences in the non-IFA area do not form part of a cumulative assessment when considering the IFA area. In Balasubramaniam, however, the Court suggests that depending on the tribunal’s other findings “… it [the tribunal] may or may not have to consider the question of the cumulative effect of all the incidents that occurred to the applicant at the hands of the Sri Lankan armed forces to determine whether these, together with the likelihood of continuing harassment at the hands of the authorities, might constitute persecution on a cumulative basis.”(Emphasis added). This statement seems to suggest that experiences in the non-IFA area can form part of a cumulative assessment when considering the IFA area.
  8. Large urban areas cannot be assumed to be an IFA by virtue of their population size alone.Note 32
  9. The fact that a putative location was “far away”, would not, without more, constitute a viable IFA.Note 33

8.3.2. Reasonable in all the circumstances

The second prong of the IFA test may be stated as follows: would it be unduly harsh to expect the claimant to move to another, less hostile part of the country before seeking refugee status abroad?Note 34 The test is an objective one: is it objectively reasonable to expect the claimant to seek safety in a different part of the country? ThirunavukkarasuNote 35 sets a very high threshold for what makes an IFA unreasonable in all the circumstances. The hardship associated with dislocation and relocation is not the kind of undue hardship that renders an IFA unreasonable. The standard is high and requires proof of adverse conditions which would jeopardize the life and safety of the claimant in travelling to and in living in the IFA location.Note 36

An IFA cannot be speculative or theoretical only; it must be a realistic, attainable option. The claimant cannot be required to encounter great physical danger or to undergo undue hardship in travelling there or staying there.Note 37 However, it is not enough for the claimant to say that they do not like the weather there, or that they have no friends or relatives there, or that they may not be able to find suitable work there.Note 38

A distinction must be maintained between the reasonableness of an IFA and humanitarian and compassionate considerations. The fact that a claimant might be better off in Canada, physically, economically and emotionally than in a safe place in theur own country is not a factor to consider in assessing the reasonableness of the IFA.Note 39

Regarding the issue of “reasonable in all the circumstances”, the Court of Appeal has stated that the circumstances must be relevant to the IFA question. They cannot be catalogued in the abstract. They will vary from case to case.Note 40

The Federal Court has provided the following general guidance:

  1. The test is a flexible one that takes into account the particular situation of the claimant and the particular country involved.Note 41 The evidence, before the RPD, of circumstances in the IFA must be more than general information and must be relevant to the claimant's specific circumstances.Note 42
  2. Psychological evidence is central to the question of whether an IFA is reasonable and cannot be disregarded.Note 43
  3. The regional conditions which would make an IFA reasonable must be considered.Note 44
  4. The presence or absence of family in the IFA is a factor in assessing reasonableness,Note 45 especially in the case of minor claimants.Note 46 However, the absence of relatives in an IFA would have to jeopardize the safety of a claimant before that factor would make an IFA unreasonable.Note 47
  5. A destroyed infrastructure and economy in the IFA, and the stability or instability of the government that is in place there, are relevant factors.Note 48 Instability alone is not the test of reasonableness,Note 49 nor is a disintegrating infrastructure.Note 50
  6. An IFA is not reasonable if it requires the perpetuation of human rights abuses.Note 51
  7. Hardship in accessing the IFA must be assessed. The proposed IFA must be reasonably accessible to the claimant. The claimant should not be required to undergo great physical danger or undue hardship in travelling to the proposed IFA; for example, claimants should not be required “to cross battle lines where fighting is going on at great risk to their lives in order to reach a place of safety.”Note 52
  8. In gender-based claims, the Board must have regard to section C4 of the Gender Guidelines.Note 53
  9. (i) The Court has commented that the extent to which an applicant has settled in Canada is irrelevant to the question of whether it was reasonable for the applicant to relocate to an IFA.Note 54 As well, consideration of the presence of relatives in the country where asylum is sought is not relevant to the IFA test.Note 55


Note 1

Rasaratnam v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), [1992] 1 F.C. 706 (C.A.), at 710. Velasquez v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2010 FC 1201;  Ohwofasa v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 266.

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Note 2


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Note 3

Thirunavukkarasu v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), [1994] 1 F.C. 589 (C.A.).

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Note 4

Rasaratnam, supra, note 1 at 710. In Chowdhury, Swapan v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-5618-06), de Montigny, January 8, 2008; 2008 FC 18, the Court noted that it is an error to require a claimant to show that persecution in the IFA "would" happen. See also Sokol, Sterbyci v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-1767-09), O'Keefe, December 8, 2009; 2009 FC 1257. In Iqbal, Sherry v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-3224-17), McDonald, March 15, 2018; 2018 FC 299 the Court quashed a visa officer’s decision because his statement that there was a “low risk” that the applicant would be harmed in the IFA location did not allow the Court to determine that he had applied the correct test.

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Note 5

Ibid., at 709 and 711.

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Note 6

Kanagaratnam, Parameswary v. M.E.I. (F.C.A., no. A-356-94), Strayer, Linden, McDonald, January 17, 1996.  Reported: Kanagaratnam v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration) (1996), 36 Imm. L.R. (2d) 180 (F.C.A.); Arunachalam, Sinnathamby v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-157-96), MacKay, August 14, 1996.  The Court, in Sarker, noted that when looking at the existence of an IFA, the Board could find that the claimant faced harm, could assume (without finally determining the question) that he faced harm, or could ignore the whole question, as long as the Board applied the correct test to the IFA analysis, and the conclusion of an IFA was supported by the evidence. See Sarker, Ataur Rahman v. M.C.I. (F.C. no. IMM-5515-04), Snider, March 11, 2005; 2005 FC 353; Kazeem v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 185; Nzayisenga, Jean Claude v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-5203-11), Mandamin, September 30, 2012; 2012 FC 1103; and Dakpokpo, Hilary Usomhine v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-4559-16), Zinn, June 13, 2017; 2017 FC 580.

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Note 7

Hernandez Cardozo, Eduardo v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-5095-11), Shore, February 9, 2012; 2012 FC 190. In this case, the claimant failed to establish a subjective fear and thus it was open to the RPD not to perform an IFA analysis.

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Note 8

Jilani, Zia Uddin Ahmed v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-711-07), Mosley, December 21, 2007; 2007 FC 1354.

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Note 9

In Muhammed, Falululla Peer v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-5122-11), Harrington, February 17, 2012; 2012 FC 226, the risks in the proposed IFA area included unexploded landmines and infrastructural issues affecting millions of Sri Lankans of all backgrounds. In Henry v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2021 FC 24, at para 62, the Court found that it was open to the RAD to conclude that there was an IFA because the hardships the claimant might face in Haiti “are no different from the persecution experienced by all other women in Haiti.” See also Anaya Moreno v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 396.

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Note 10

Selvakumaran, Sivachelam v. M.C.I (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-5103-01), Mckeown, May 31, 2002.

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Note 11

See Thirunavukkarasu, supra, note 3, for an example of a decision in which the Court concluded that the proposed IFA was not viable because the claimant would also be subjected to a risk there, though a different risk from the one he faced in his region of origin. In Thirunavukkarasu, the Court agreed that the claimant, a Tamil, had a well-founded fear of being persecuted by the LTTE in northern Sri Lanka, on the basis of his political opinion. However, Colombo was not a viable IFA because the claimant had a well-founded fear of being persecuted there by the Sri Lankan government on the basis of his race.

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Note 12

Singh, Gurmeet v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-75-95), Richard, July 4, 1995. Reported: Singh, (Gurmeet) v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) (1995), 30 Imm. L.R. (2d) 226 (F.C.T.D.), at 4. See also, Sangha, Karamjit Singh v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-1555-98), Reed, October 28, 1998.

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Note 13

Mortocian, Alexandru v. M.C.I. (F.C. no., IMM-3837-12), Kane, December 7, 2012; 2012 F.C. 1447.

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Note 14

Thevarajah, Anton Felix v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-695-04), Mosley, November 24, 2004; 2004 FC 1654; Qaddafi v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2016 FC 629.

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Note 15

Ay, Hasan v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-4149-09), Boivin, June 21, 2010; 2010 FC 671. In Figueroa v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2016 FC 521, at para 56, the Court stated that although it would be “preferable for the RPD to provide notice before the hearing, jurisprudence suggests that notice during the hearing, so long as it is clear and the Applicants have an opportunity to respond, is also sufficient”; see also Khan v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 1101, para 26.

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Note 16

Moya, Jaime Olvera v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-5436-01), Beaudry, November 6, 2002.

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Note 17

Hasnain, Khalid v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. A-962-92), McKeown, December 14, 1995. In Scott, Dailon Ronald v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-2691-12), Gagné, September 10, 2012; 2012 FC 1066, the questioning by counsel and the oral and written arguments were held to be adequate notice that IFA was an issue in the case. In Figueroa v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2016 FC 521, the Court concluded that the RPD’s discussion of an IFA at the hearing was sufficient notice to the claimants that IFA was a determinative issue.

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Note 18

Chauhdry, Mukhtar Ahmed v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-3951-97), Wetston, August 17, 1998.

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Note 19

Alvapillai, Ramasethu v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-4226-97), Rothstein, August 14, 1998. In Estrado Lugo, Regina v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-1166-09), O’Keefe, February 18, 2010; 2010 FC 170, the Court noted that there was no obligation on the claimants to have already sought state protection in the proposed IFA location , or to have lived or even travelled there. See also Ramirez Martinez, Jorge Armando v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-1284-09), Snider, June 1, 2010; 2010 FC 600, where the Court, quoting Alvapillai, held that it is an error to require that the IFA be tested before seeking refugee protection in Canada. Lugo was cited with approval in Aigbe v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 895, at para 19.

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Note 20

In Rabbani, Sayed Moheyudee v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-236-96), Noël, January 16, 1997, the Court said that the CRDD must identify a specific geographic location; but in Singh, Ranjit v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. A-605-92), Reed, July 23, 1996, the Court rejected the claimant's argument that the CRDD should identify a place within the country as an IFA, especially in a country as large as India. In Vidal, Daniel Fernando v. M.E.I. (F.C.T.D., no. A-644-92), Gibson, May 15, 1997 no notice was given at outset of hearing, but counsel presented evidence on IFA. The Court found no prejudice was suffered by the claimant as a result of the failure to give notice. Similarly, in Gosal, Pardeep Singh v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-2316-97), Reed, March 11, 1998, the Court found that one need not identify a specific location within the country for an IFA analysis. Rabbani was distinguished on its facts as in that case the country concerned was Afghanistan and control over areas considered safe tended to shift. In Moreb, Sliman v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-287-05), von Finckenstein, July 5, 2005; 2005 FC 945, the Court found the RPD to have erred when it referred to Jerusalem and Nazareth as the only possible IFA locations and then went on to consider Tel-Aviv-Yafo as an IFA. The Court offered that the panel could have raised the issue of IFA generally without referring to any specific location.

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Note 21

In Utoh, Helen v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-6120-11), Rennie, April 10, 2012; 2012 FC 399, at para 20, the Court noted the following: “The jurisprudence is clear that the Board must identify the specific IFA locations”. This case relied on the checklist of legal criteria for determining whether an IFA exists set out in Gallo Farias, Alejandrina Dayna v. M.C.I.(F.C., no. IMM-658-08), Kelen, September 16, 2008; 2008 FC 1035, where the first criteria is set out as follows:

If IFA will be an issue, the Refugee Board must give notice to the refugee claimant prior to the hearing (Rasaratnam …, Thirunavukkarasu) and identify a specific IFA location(s) within the refugee claimant’s country of origin (Rabbani …, Camargo …)

In Ahmed, Ishtiaq v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-2931-99), Hansen, March 29, 2000, the Court found the CRDD had erred in considering Islamabad and Karachi as possible IFAs when the claimant only had notice that Lahore was being considered as a possible IFA. In contrast, in Hamid v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 145, at paras 38 and 39, the Court concluded that, in accordance with Gallo Farias, the RPD had clearly identified Islamabad as an IFA and that the claimant had been “given a full opportunity to challenge the suitability of Islamabad as an IFA.”

In Lopez Martinez, Heydi Vanessa v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-5081-09), Pinard, May 25, 2010; 2010 FC 550, the Court, at para 23, noted: “…I do not propose that the Board is under an obligation to provide justification for selecting the city it did initially…” (Emphasis added). But note that the Board did have to explain why the proposed IFA was safe given that the agent of harm was active there.

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Note 22

See for example: Abubakar, Fahmey Abdalla Ali v. M.E.I. (F.C.T.D., no. A-572-92), Wetston, September 9, 1993, at 3-5; Pathmakanthan, Indradevi v. M.E.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-2367-93), Denault, November 2, 1993. Reported: Pathmakanthan v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration) (1993), 23 Imm. L.R. (2d) 76 (F.C.T.D.), at 79-80; Kaler, Minder Singh v. M.E.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-794-93), Cullen, February 3, 1994, at 9; Dhillon, Harbhagwant Singh v. S.S.C (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-3256-93), Rouleau, March 17, 1994, at 3; Jeyachandran, Senthan v. S.G.C. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-799-94), McKeown, March 30, 1995; Ratnam, Selvanayagam v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-1881-94), Richard, March 31, 1995. In Aria, Ashraf v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-2499-12), de Montigny, April 2, 2013; 2013 FC 324, the RPD erred when it stated that it was “not credible that all young women are subject to forced marriages which are not forced by their own families”. A serious possibility of persecution does not mean that “all young women” would be subject to forced marriages with warlords. It is an error to interpret the first prong of the test as requiring that all similarly situated individuals would be persecuted in the IFA area. In Ambrose-Esede, Benedicta Osemen v. M.C.I. (F.C. no. IMM-1685-18), Russell, December 11, 2018; 2018 FC 1241, the Court quashed an RPD decision in which the RPD had concluded there was a viable IFA. The Court held that the fact the claimant was a lawyer and her name, along with her contact information, would appear on the Nigerian Bar Association’s members’ portal would make her easy to locate in the IFA location. See also Kim v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 581, in which the Court concluded as follows at para 88: “[T]he Officer failed to consider the Applicant’s hardship in relation to his mental health condition and high suicide rates in South Korea. Moreover, the Officer erred in their treatment of the Applicant’s claims of harassment and discrimination due to his status as a defector.”

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Note 23

Kahlon, Hari Singh v. S.G.C (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-532-93), Gibson, August 5, 1993.  Reported: Kahlon v. Canada (Solicitor General), (1993), 24 Imm. L.R. (2d) 219 (F.C.T.D.), at 222-224; Manoharan, Vanajah v. M.E.I. (F.C.T.D., no. A-1156-92), Rouleau, December 6, 1993, at 7-8. In Fi v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2006 FC 1125, at para 14, the Court noted that “it is trite law that persecution under section 96 of the IRPA can be established by examining the treatment of similarly situated individuals and that the claimant does not have to show that he has himself been persecuted in the past or would himself be persecuted in the future”. Fi was cited with approval in Cao v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2019 FC 231, at para 26.

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Note 24

See for example Ali, Chaudhary Liaqat v. M.E.I. (F.C.T.D., no. A-1461-92), Noël, January 20, 1994, at 5-6.

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Note 25

Ahmed, Ali v. M.E.I. (F.C.A., no. A-89-92), Marceau, Desjardins, Décary, July 14, 1993.  Reported: Ahmed v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration) (1993), 156 N.R. 221 (F.C.A.), at 223-224.  See also for example: M.E.I. v. Sharbdeen, Mohammed Faroudeen (F.C.A., no. A-488-93), Mahoney, MacGuigan, Linden, March 21, 1994.  Reported: Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration) v. Sharbdeen (1994), 23 Imm. L.R. (2d) 300 (F.C.A.) (although this issue appears to be considered under reasonableness); Nadarajah, Sivasothy Nathan v. M.E.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-4215-93), Simpson, July 26, 1994; Randhawa, Faheem Anwar v. S.G.C. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-5621-93), Rouleau, August 12, 1994; Zetino, Rudys Francisco Mendoza v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-6173-93), Cullen, October 13, 1994.  Reported: Zetino v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) (1994), 25 Imm. L.R. (2d) 300 (F.C.T.D.) (although this issue may be considered under reasonableness); See also Khan, Naqui Mohd v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-4127-01), Rothstein, July 26, 2002, where the court found that the localized nature of the claimants activities and the region's legal system supported the panel's finding of an IFA outside of that region. In Siddiq, Dawood v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-1684-03), Harrington, March 31, 2004; 2004 FC 490, the Court found that a failure to address the question of persecution by national authorities when considering an internal flight alternative is a reviewable error. In Torres v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2011 FC 581, the Court set aside a negative decision concerning a claimant who feared Los Zetas. The Court concluded that the RPD had not addressed certain elements of the evidence that supported the presence of Los Zetas in the proposed IFAs. However, in Ngaju v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2019 FC 29, the Court upheld a negative decision concerning a claimant who feared her husband. The RPD had concluded that the claimant “did not provide any evidence about her husband's wealth and influence” and that this was important because it affected his ability to find her in Lagos. According to the Court, this conclusion was reasonable. See also Kazeem v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 185.

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Note 26

Singh, Harminder v. M.C.I. (F.C. no. IMM-4333-13), Gleason, March 20, 2014; 2014 FC 269. See also Sidhu v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 191, where the Court found that, as there was no evidence that a complaint of criminal activity had been brought against the applicant, it was highly unlikely that his name would be found in the CCTNS (a criminal record check system) or that members of the Congress Party of Punjab would search for him in one of the proposed IFAs, let alone the Punjabi police. The Court also found that the claimant’s argument that the CCTNS, the tenant registration system and some classified system containing a list of individuals of interest to a given police force are all somehow connected was simply not supported by the objective documentary evidence.

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Note 27

Saini, Makhan Singh v. M.E.I. (F.C.A., no. A-750-91), Mahoney, Stone, Linden, March 22, 1993. Reported: Saini v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration) (1993), 151 N.R. 239 (F.C.A.), leave to appeal to the S.C.C. denied: Saini v. M.E.I. (S.C.C., no. 23619), Lamer, McLachlin, Major), August 12, 1993. Reported: Saini v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration) (1993), 158 N.R. 300 (S.C.C.). See also for example: Sidhu, Jadgish Singh v. M.E.I. (F.C.T.D., no. 92-A-6540), Muldoon, May 31, 1993; Badesha, Jagir Singh v. S.S.C. (F.C.T.D., no. A-1544-92), Wetston, January 19, 1994. Reported: Badesha v. Canada (Secretary of State) (1994), 23 Imm. L.R. (2d) 190 (F.C.T.D.); Uppal, Jatinder Singh v. S.S.C. (F.C.T.D., no. A-17-93), Wetston, January 19, 1994, affirmed: Uppal, Jatinder Singh v. M.C.I. (F.C.A., no. A-42-94), Isaac, Hugessen, Décary, November 1, 1994; Kaler, supra, note 22, at 9; Karthikesu, Cumariah v. M.E.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-2998-93), Strayer, May 26, 1994; Guraya, Balihar Singh v. S.S.C. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-4058-93), Pinard, July 8, 1994; Balasubramaniam, Veergathy v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-1902-93), McKeown, October 4, 1994; Dhillon, Inderjit Kaur v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-2652-94), McKeown, February 1, 1995; Zamora Huerta, Erika Angelina v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-1985-07), Blanchard, May 8, 2008; 2008 FC 586; and Fosu, Frank Atta v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-935-08), Zinn, October 8, 2008; 2008 FC 1135. The means and the motivations of the agent of harm are two separate things: Leon v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 428. In Kumar v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2012 FC 30, the claimants argued that the police officers they feared had the means to find them anywhere in India. In upholding the rejection of the claims based on the existence of an IFA, the Court concluded that this did not establish “the intention of those same local police officers to use these means specifically against the [claimants].” In Idris, Omer Mahmoud Hussein v. M.C.I. (F.C. no. IMM-2321-18), Brown, January 9, 2019; 2019 FC 24 the Court held that an IFA was viable despite the fact the claimant had been targeted by the Sudanese security forces. He was targeted to spy on the customers in his shop and now that the shop was closed, there was no reason for the security forces to be interested in him. See also Hamid v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 145.

In Sharbdeen, supra, note 25, in quashing the CRDD decision, the Court cited Saini and stated that in order to find a viable IFA in a part of the country controlled by the same army who was persecuting the claimant, it would require an evidentiary basis. Saini has been distinguished in Singh, Sucha v. M.E.I. (F.C.T.D., no. 93-A-91), Dubé, June 23, 1993, where the Court held that the CRDD's conclusion that an IFA existed because there was not a nation-wide campaign against the claimant's ethnic group did not satisfy the criteria for finding an IFA as established in Rasaratnam, supra, note 1.

Return to note 27 referrer

Note 28

Murillo Taborda, Lissed v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-9365-12), Kane, September 17, 2013; 2013 FC 957; Zaytoun, Hussein v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-1769-14), Mactavish, October 2, 2014; 2014 FC 939; and Ehondor, Tosan Erhun v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-2372-17), Brown, December 14, 2017; 2017 FC 1143. In Zamora, supra, note 27, at para 29, the Court noted that “[n]ot to be able to share your whereabouts with family or friends is tantamount to requiring the Applicant to go into hiding.” In Ali v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 93, at para 50, the Court stated that it was unreasonable that the applicants would be “forced to hide from family members and friends and cut off communications.”

Return to note 28 referrer

Note 29

Fosu, Frank Atta v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-935-08), Zinn, October 8, 2008; 2008 FC 1135. The Fosu decision was cited with approval in Akpojiyovwi, Evelyn Oboaguonona v. M.C.I. (F.C. no. IMM-200-18), Roussel, July 17, 2018; 2018 FC 745 at para 9, and in A.B. v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 203, at para 49. Also, it is not reasonable for the Board to suggest that the claimant should avoid contact with family members in the IFA to avoid the risk of being located:  I.M.P.P. v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-4049-09), Mosley, March 9, 2010; 2010 FC 259.

Return to note 29 referrer

Note 30

Oyadoyin v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 1195; Rivera Benavides v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 810; A.B. v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 915.

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Note 31

Karthikesu, Cumariah v. M.E.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-2998-93), Strayer, May 26, 1994, Balasubramaniam, Veergathy v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-1902-93), McKeown, October 4, 1994.

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Note 32

Reynoso, Edith Isabel Guardian v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-2110-94), Muldoon, January 29, 1996; Sanno, Aminata v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-2124-95), Tremblay-Lamer, April 25, 1996.

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Note 33

Cadena Ramirez, Francisco José v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-5911-09), Rennie, December 20, 2010; 2010 FC 1276. The location and size of the IFA are nonetheless relevant factors to be considered when assessing the claimant’s risk in the proposed IFA. See Hernandez, Ricarda Rosario v. M.C.I. (F.C., IMM-2982-08), Phelan, January 30, 2009; 2009 FC 106, para 24: “The Member took account of the size and nature of the two cities, as well as their diverse and cosmopolitan nature, which addresses in part the likelihood of the [claimants] being pursued or found in either location.”

Return to note 33 referrer

Note 34

Thirunavukkarasu, supra, note 3.

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Note 35


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Note 36

Ranganathan v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), (F.C.A., no. A-348-99), Létourneau, Sexton, Malone, December 21, 2000; [2001] 2 F.C. 164 (C.A.). In Sikiratu Iyile, Sandra v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-6609-10), Harrington, July 25, 2011; 2011 FC 928, the Court rejected the claimant’s argument that it would be inhumane to send her back to Lagos, to return her to a life of begging and prostitution. The Court noted this is a situation in which any young uneducated female might find herself in a big city. It does not give rise to a refugee claim. It agreed with the RPD that although she professed that she had no knowledge of help available in Lagos from NGOs, she now had the knowledge and these organizations can help to find her shelter and employment. In Iyere v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2018 FC 67, at para 32, the Court noted, as the FCA stated in para 15 of Ranganathan,that “[t]here is a high onus on a refugee claimant to demonstrate that a proposed IFA is unreasonable”. The Court also noted that the case law must be read as “setting up a very high threshold for the unreasonableness test.” See also Arabambi v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 98, para 41.

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Note 37

Thirunavukkarasu, supra, note 3. In applying the principle set out in Thirunavukkarasu that the IFA must be an area that is realistically attainable, the Court in Playasova, Liudmila Fedor v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-3931-02), Martineau, July 18, 2003; 2003 FC 901 stated that the failure of the RPD to consider that the claimant could only relocate to the IFA if she had the means to pay bribes to obtain a propiska was an error. In Dubravac, Petar v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-839-94), Rothstein, February 1, 1995. Reported: Dubravac v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) (1995), 29 Imm. L.R. (2d) 55 (F.C.T.D.), where the claimant’s hometown had been surrounded by opposing Serbian forces, the Court commented that they “would not be required to go from their hometown to the safe zone of Croatia, but … from wherever they were relanded upon being sent back.”

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Note 38

Thirunavukkarasu, supra, note 3. The inability to earn a living or access housing in the proposed IFA may have an impact on the claimant’s life or safety and is therefore a relevant factor to be considered when assessing the reasonableness of the proposed IFA. However, to establish that an IFA is unreasonable, it is not “enough for refugee claimants to say . . that they may not be able to find suitable work [in the proposed IFA].” See also Akunwa v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 1179.

Return to note 38 referrer

Note 39

Ranganathan, supra, note 36. See also Mukhal v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 868, paras 87-90. In that case, although the Court recognized “that there may be similarities between the factors considered under the second branch of the IFA test and the hardship factors considered in [a humanitarian and compassionate] application”, it concluded that the best interests of the child do not necessarily have to be analyzed when assessing the reasonableness of an IFA.

Return to note 39 referrer

Note 40

Sharbdeen: M.E.I. v. Sharbdeen, Mohammed Faroudeen(F.C.A., A-488-93), Mahoney, MacGuigan, Linden, March 21, 1994.Reported: Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration) v. Sharbdeen (1994), 23 Imm. L.R. (2d) 300 (F.C.A.).

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Note 41

See for example: Thirunavukkarasu, supra, note 3; Rasaratnam, supra, note 1; Fernando, Joseph Stanley v. M.E.I. (F.C.T.D., no. 92-A-6986), McKeown, May 19, 1993; Abubakar, supra, note 22; Megag, Sahra Abdilahi v. M.E.I. (F.C.T.D., no. A-822-92), Rothstein, December 10, 1993; Chkiaou, Dimitri v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no., IMM-266-94), Cullen, March 7, 1995; and Sanno, supra, note 32. In Yoganathan, Kandasamy v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-3588-97), Gibson, April 20, 1998, the Court noted that, in assessing the reasonableness of the IFA, the CRDD must look at the personal circumstances of the claimant and it is insufficient to simply assess whether the claimant fits the "most at risk profile." In Cartagena, Wilber Orlando v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-961-06), Mosley, March 4, 2008; 2008 FC 289, the Court noted that the Board failed to take into account the claimant’s vulnerable mind-set; and in Calderon, Sonia Blancas v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-5367-08), Near, March 8, 2010; 2010 FC 263, the Court noted that it was unduly harsh and unreasonable for the RPD to hold that the claimant had a viable IFA as long as she never attempted to re-secure custody of her young children from her abusive ex-husband. See also Oluwo v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 760; and Feboke v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 155, in which the Court concluded that the RAD had been reasonable in its assessment of the evidence regarding the applicants’ mental health and the impact of relocation to the proposed IFAs, having regard to their specific circumstances.

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Note 42

In Premanathan, Gopalasamy v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-4423-96), Simpson, August 29, 1997, it was noted that random roundups and routine reporting requirements do not make IFA unreasonable. In Kaillyapillai, Srivasan v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-1263-96), Richard, February 27, 1997, the Court found no IFA in Colombo for a claimant who had been arrested, beaten and released and told to leave Colombo. In Masalov, Sergey v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-7207-13), Diner, March 4, 2015; 2015 FC 277, the Court found that it was unreasonable to expect the applicants to relocate to the proposed IFA. The principal applicant had attempted to relocate to Kazan but could only obtain temporary residence for three or four days because he was unable to obtain a Propiska registration. The documentary evidence listed the cascading effects of an inability to register and how it operates as an invitation for harassment by the authorities. Also, expecting an elderly couple to endure persistent police harassment is unreasonable, as it implicates their safety within the IFA. See also Mansour v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2021 FC 40, para 49.

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Note 43

Cartagena, supra, note 41. See also Okafor, Sara v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-6848-10), Beaudry, August 17, 2011; 2011 FC 1002. In Kauhonina, Claretha v. M.C.I. (F.C. no. IMM-2459-18), Diner, December 21, 2018; 2018 FC 1300 the Court quashed an RPD decision wherein it found there to be a viable in Namibia for the claimant. The Court held that the Board did not engage with the psychiatric report which set out her mental health issues and treatment she had been receiving at a major hospital in Toronto over two years. The Board also did not acknowledge her profile as a single mother of two young children. In Cardenas v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2017 FC 1194, at para 21, the Court noted that one of the factors that must be taken into account, if it is raised under the second prong of the IFA test, is “whether there is any particular characteristic of the claimant that makes it unreasonable to expect him or her to relocate to the proposed IFA. For example, if a claimant has a medical condition requiring regular treatment and assistance, it would be unreasonable to expect that claimant to relocate to an area where such medical assistance is unavailable.”

In Thirunavukkarasu, supra, note 3, the Court found that the state of the claimant’s physical or mental health may affect the reasonableness of an IFA. However, the onus is on the claimant to establish that they would be unable to access adequate treatment in the proposed IFA. In Olusola v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 799, at para 43, the Court noted, “A decision maker’s assessment of the second prong of the IFA test can be rendered unreasonable if it disregards a claimant’s psychological report or how relocation could affect their mental health.” See also Olalere v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2017 FC 385, para 51.

Return to note 43 referrer

Note 44

In Idrees, Muhammad v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-4136-13), Diner, December 10, 2014; 2014 FC 1194, the Court found that the RPD failed to consider the applicant’s risk of ethnic violence in determining whether it was reasonable for him, an ethnic Pashtun, to seek refuge in Karachi. In Chand, Mool v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-61-14), Rennie, February 19, 2015; 2015 FC 212, the RPD was faulted with ignoring evidence of acts of violence and forced conversions against Hindus in finding that it was reasonable for the claimants to relocate to Karachi. In two cases involving Colombians and the finding that Bogota would constitute a safe IFA, the Court stated that the RPD ignored evidence that internally displaced persons (IDP) in Colombia lead a fragile and vulnerable existence and that they face life in overcrowded slums where they experience violations of their fundamental human rights. See Arias Ultima, Angela Maria v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-3984-12), Manson, January 25, 2013; 2013 FC 81; and Barragan Gonzalez, Julio Angelo v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-6335-13), Boswell, April 20, 2015; 2015 FC 502. In Pidhorna v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2016 FC 1, the Court upheld the RAD’s conclusion that the claimants had an IFA in Kiev. As the Court noted, the claimants, who were retired, had been educated in Ukraine, where they had lived their entire lives; they spoke Russian and Ukrainian and faced no “cultural or linguistic barriers” in that country. Relocation to Kiev may not have been their first preference, but it was not unreasonable for the RAD to find that Kiev offered a viable IFA. In Potes Mina v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2016 FC 834, the Court concluded that the claimants’ status as Afro-Colombians was “certainly a factor” that had to be assessed under the second prong of the IFA test when deciding whether it was reasonable, in all the circumstances, for the claimants to move to Bogota. The Court noted that the RAD had “devote[d] considerable time to this factor”. In the end, the Court upheld the RAD’s finding that, even though there was discrimination against Afro-Colombians, the claimants had not established that Bogota was an unreasonable IFA.

In Hamdan v. Canada (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship), 2017 FC 643, the claimants were a Venezuelan family who alleged that Maracaibo was not a safe IFA because of the widespread violence there. The Court found that the “generalized criminal risks” in Maracaibo were a relevant factor that the RPD should have considered under the second prong of the IFA test, but that this factor “would have carried relatively little weight” unless there was evidence of general criminality in Maracaibo “that rose to the high threshold required to establish that it would be objectively unreasonable” for the claimants to be required to live there. In the end, the Court concluded that the level of generalized criminal violence in Maracaibo did not meet these requirements. Under the first prong, risk (risk of persecution, risk to life, or risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment) is assessed on the basis of section 96 and subsection 97(1). However, the reasonableness of an IFA is assessed in light of the case law, including Ranganathan, supra, note 36. Accordingly, even risks so widespread that they could be characterized as “generalized” may rightly, in cases where they endanger the life or safety of a claimant, be considered as making the IFA unreasonable under the second prong of the IFA test.

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Note 45

Ranganathan, supra, note 36.  More than the mere absence of relatives is needed in order to make an IFA unreasonable. The presence of close relatives in the area of a potential IFA, the duration of previous residence, and past employment may influence whether or not it is “objectively reasonable” for the claimant to live in [the area of the potential IFA] without fear of persecution; these factors are not matters of personal comfort or convenience. The lack of family support in the proposed IFA is a relevant factor in assessing the IFA’s reasonableness, particularly in the case of minor claimants. However, a lack of family members in a proposed IFA must endanger the claimant’s life or safety for this factor to make the IFA unreasonable. Kulanthavelu, Gnanasegaram v. M.E.I. (F.C.T.D., IMM-57-93), Gibson, December 3, 1993, at 5 and 6. In Losowa Osengosengo, Victorine v. M.C.I. (F.C., IMM-4132-13), Gagné, March 13, 2014; 2014 FC 244, the Court established that it was unreasonable for the RPD to conclude that the claimant, a nun, could find an IFA in Kinshasa, where she had relatives and could earn a living as a teacher. The Court found that it was legitimate for the claimant, as a nun, to insist on continuing to live among her congregation, as it was her duty to do so. The Board should not have regarded the evidence concerning the possibility of the claimant taking refuge with her family as being determinative. See also Henry v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2021 FC 24.

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Note 46

The absence of family in an IFA is relevant to determining the unreasonableness of requiring a child to live there. In Elmi, Mahamud Hussein v. M.E.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-580-98), McKeown, March 12, 1999, the Somalian claimant was 16 years old at the time of the hearing before the Convention Refugee Determination Division. The Board rejected the claim because there was an IFA. The Court set aside the Board’s decision on the basis that the Board had not properly considered the claimant’s age under the second prong of the IFA test. The Court concluded, “What is merely inconvenient for an adult might well constitute ‘undue hardship’ for a child, particularly the absence of any friend or relation.” Similarly, in Hassan, Liban v. M.E.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-3634-98), Campbell, April 14, 1999, the Court found that in the case of a minor, an IFA cannot be reasonable unless proper settlement arrangements are made. In contrast, in Molina v. Canada (itizenship and Immigration), 2016 FC 349, the Nicaraguan claimant had turned 18 the month before the RPD hearing. The RPD found that an IFA was available in Managua. The claimant argued that the RPD had erred in applying the second prong of the IFA test because it had failed to consider the fact that he was a minor when he arrived in Canada, had no family support in Managua and had only limited financial means. The Court disagreed and concluded that the RPD’s decision was reasonable, given that the claimant’s aunts lived only a two-hour drive from Managua and the claimant had completed his secondary school studies in Nicaragua. In light of these facts, the Court ruled that the RPD’s conclusions that the claimant should be able to find work or even pursue his studies in medicine were not speculative in nature. See also Mora Alcca v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 236 .

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Note 47

Ranganathan, supra, note 36.  As the Court put it: “The absence of relatives in a safe place, whether taken alone or in conjunction with other factors, can only amount to such condition if it meets that threshold, that is to say if it establishes that, as a result, a claimant's life or safety would be jeopardized. This is in sharp contrast with undue hardship resulting from loss of employment, loss of status, reduction in quality of life, loss of aspirations, loss of beloved ones and frustration of one's wishes and expectations.” See also Mora Alcca v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 236.

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Note 48

Farrah, Sahra Said v. M.E.I. (F.C.T.D., no. A-694-92), Reed, October 5, 1993, at 3. Regarding stability, see also Tawfik, Taha Mohammed v. M.E.I. (F.C.T.D., no. 93-A-311), MacKay, August 23, 1993. Reported: Tawfik v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration) (1993), 26 Imm. L.R. (2d) 148 (F.C.T.D.).

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Note 49

Megag, supra, note 41. This case was relied on in Muhammed, Falululla, Peer v. M.C.I. (F.C. no., IMM-5122-11), Harrington, February 17, 2012; 2012 FC 226. The Court noted that [I]t was submitted that it would be unreasonable to have Mr. Peer Muhammed relocate in the east because, although not as ravaged as other parts of the country in the civil war, there are unexploded landmines and the infrastructure leaves much to be desired. However, this is a situation facing millions of Sri Lankans, Sinhalese and Tamils alike, be they Buddhist, Hindu, Christian or Muslim.”

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Note 50

Rumb, Serge v. M.E.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-1481-98), Reed, February 12, 1999. The Court held that, “[I]nsofar as the IFA is concerned, a disintegrating infrastructure is not equivalent to a dessert, or to a battle zone. In the first place, one must be careful when comparing the infrastructures of countries that the standard of our own is not held up as the required standard. There are many countries where telephones do not work well or all the time, where the roads are very very poor, where electricity only works at certain times. These conditions are not such however, that a person can say they cannot live in that country because it is not practical (reasonable) to do so. The Board was not in error in failing to assess the deteriorating infrastructure as a reason the applicant could not live in Kinshasa or elsewhere in the Congo.”

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Note 51

Mimica, Milanka v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-3014-95), Rothstein, June 19, 1996, the claimant could only find accommodation in the IFA, the Serbian controlled part of Bosnia, if the current Muslim residents of the area were forcibly expelled because of their religion/ethnicity to make room for returning Serbian refugees. The Court held that making accommodation available to the claimant would be as a result of human rights abuses to other residents and that this could not be the basis of a finding of a viable internal flight alternative.

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Note 52

Rasaratnam, supra, note 1. In Hashmat, Suhil v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-2331-96), Teitelbaum, May 9, 1997, the claimant could only access the IFA in northern Afghanistan by going through the neighbouring state of Uzbekistan. The Court found it unreasonable for the panel to conclude, without any evidence, that the claimant would be allowed to cross the border. The Court also noted that the Immigration Act would not allow removal to a country that is not the claimant’s country of birth, nationality or former residence. See also Dirshe, Safi Mohamud v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-2124-96), Cullen, July 2, 1997, where the Court noted that a real possibility of rape while trying to get to the IFA makes it an unreasonable option. In fact, in Hashmat,the Court found there to be undue hardship in reaching the IFA because the claimant’s wife and child, who were not claimants, would have to travel with him to reach the IFA and there was evidence of widespread rape of women and children making that journey. In Tahlil, Mohamed Sugule v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-5920-10), Zinn, July 5, 2011; 2011 FC 817, the Court directed that if the applicant was removed from Canada to Somalia, he be returned directly to Bosaso and was not to travel into or through other areas of Somalia. In Ajelal, Mustafa v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-4522-13), Diner, November 19, 2014; 2014 FC 1093, the Court allowed the judicial review application noting that if the RPD wanted the claimant to reach either of the two identified IFAs, it failed to state how he would avoid going through the Tripoli airport, or alternate routes to the places of supposed safe haven.

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Note 53

In Syvyryn, Ganna v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-1569-09), Snider, October 13, 2009; 2009 FC 1027, the Court set aside a negative decision because the RPD's analysis of the second prong was “inadequate.” The Court concluded that the RPD had relied solely on the fact that the claimant had more than 20 years of experience in the accounting field and had not conducted any analysis based on the claimant's age, gender or personal circumstances, as required by the Chairperson's Guideline 4. The Court noted that the documentary evidence showed that women of the claimant's age faced considerable discrimination in finding employment in Ukraine. The RPD did not take these factors into account in reaching its conclusion that it would be reasonable for the claimant to relocate to Kiev. See also Kayumba, Bijou Kamwanga v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-1920-09), Beaudry, February 10, 2010; 2010 FC 138 and Olalere v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2017 FC 385. In Agimelen Oriazouwani, Winifred v. M.C.I. (F.C., no. IMM-6440-10), Shore, July 8, 2011; 2011 FC 827, the RPD's finding that an IFA existed did not take into account the specific evidence as to the unreasonableness of the IFA for the applicant and her two minor children especially in light of the Chairperson's Gender Guidelines. The RPD failed to consider the contradictory documentary evidence regarding female genital mutilation indicating that what is criminalized through legislation has not as yet become generalized in practice in respect to tenable protection.

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Note 54

In Utoh, supra, note 21, the RPD rejected the refugee protection claim because there was an IFA, concluding that it was reasonable for the claimant to relocate within Nigeria. The only reason given was that the claimant had “managed to establish herself in a foreign country, namely Canada” and that she “should [therefore] be able to relocate relatively easily in her own native country.” The Court set aside the decision. It concluded that “the extent to which the [claimant] has settled in Canada is irrelevant to the question before the Board.”

A distinction was drawn between Utoh and Momodu v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2015 FC 1365, which concerned another female claimant from Nigeria whose claim was rejected because of the existence of an IFA. In Momodu, the Court ruled that the judge in Utoh had “concluded quite correctly” that the Board had erred when it referred to the claimant’s ability “to establish a new home in Canada as evidence of adaptability.” Nevertheless, the Court found that the RAD had not made any errors in the present case, given that “[t]he adaptability of the [principal claimant] in this matter relates to her ability to take herself out of danger and travel unaccompanied to foreign lands, in addition to her childcare and employment experiences.”

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Note 55

Smirnova, Svetlana v. M.C.I. (FC., no. IMM-6641-12), Noël, April 12 2013; 2013 FC 347.

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