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Canada Program - Canada Global Refugee Stream for Human Rights Defenders

The Canadian government (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, IRCC) has established a dedicated refugee stream for human rights defenders at risk who, due to intense persecution, are looking for a permanent resettlement option in Canada. The number of places available to human rights defenders at risk are limited, with Front Line Defenders invited to refer up to 125 cases to the IRCC per calendar year, including family members (I.e. approximately 35 human rights defenders, plus family members, per calendar year). Applicants must meet specific criteria in order to be eligible to apply.

The eligibility criteria are:

  • The applicant must be able to demonstrate that they are a human rights defender at risk, with a demonstrable track record of human rights work.
  • The applicant must meet the criteria to qualify as a refugee (see UNHCR definition)
  • The applicant must have fled their home country due to persecution
  • The applicant must be without access to a durable solution in the new host country
  • The applicant must be interested in permanent resettlement in Canada

If you would like to make an inquiry, please complete this secure / encrypted inquiry form

Please note;

  • The Global Stream (all countries) referral places for 2023 have been fully allocated.
  • Concerning Afghanistan, the dedicated Afghan Stream for Human Rights Defenders completed on 31 March 2023. A number of Global Stream referral places have been allocated to Afghan HRDs, with referral places to Afghan HRDs and their families fully allocated for 2023 and 2024. Additional places for Afghan HRDs outside of these limited Global Stream places are not available to Front Line Defenders at this time.
  • Due to the considerable numbers applying for a very limited number of places, those who do not demonstrate their ability to meet the criteria will not be contacted.
  • Repeated emailing to lobby in support of an inquiry is strongly discouraged and will result in no response.
  • The Refugee Stream is not a quick solution for emergency situations, but a process that may take several months or upwards of one year and will require the submission of several detailed forms, comprehensive references and support documentation.
  • The Refugee Stream is managed by the Canadian Government. Front Line Defenders will advise the Canadian Government on human rights defenders at risk. Front Line Defenders will not be involved in the final decision or the resettlement process itself.
  • There is no fee to complete this referral process. Please do not fall victim to any unauthorized individuals requesting payment to submit an application on your behalf or guaranteeing acceptance of a referral for a fee.