Canadian government and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act recognize that the refugee program is, first and foremost, about saving lives and offering protection to the displaced and persecuted.
To fulfill its international legal obligations with respect to refugees, Canada offers safe heaven to persons with a well founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group (such as abused women or gays and lesbians, to name a few) as well as those at risk of torture or cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
Persons who fear persecution in their home country (or country of their habitual residence), in order to seek refugee protection, must first be outside of that country and must be unable or, due to a well founded fear, unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country (or return there).
A claim for refugee protection may be made in Canada at ports of entry or at inland offices at any time throughout the administrative or admissibility hearing process until a removal order is made.
A claim for protection may also be made outside of Canada, at a Canadian Embassy or High Commission, under the Convention refugee abroad class and members of the Humanitarian-protected persons abroad class (Country of asylum and Source country classes).