IRCC announced on July 16, 2021 that it is introducing a new path to Canada for refugees fearing persecution because of their defence of human rights. The new stream will accept up to 250 human-rights defenders each year, including their family members. Special emphasis is being placed on journalists, women, and advocates for LGBTQ2+ individuals.
The announcement comes over a year after Prime Minister Trudeau first directed Immigration Minister Mendicino to “introduce a dedicated refugee stream providing safe haven for human rights advocates, journalists and humanitarian workers at risk”.
IRCC has said that it will partner with the United Nations Refugee Agency and international organizations such as ProtectDefenders.eu and Front Line Defenders. These organizations specialize in helping people who face threats due to their work defending human rights.
To be eligible for the new refugee stream, applicants must be referred to Canada by the United Nations Refugee Agency and must also meet Canadian screening requirements, including but not limited to security and health screening. Immigration Minister Mendicino said that Canada will be relying on international organizations to help identify and connect Canada with those needing resettlement protection.