Refugee Rights

Historically, Canada has been known for its excellence in refugee protection. In 1986, the UN’s annual Nansen Refugee Award was given to the “people of Canada” in honour of outstanding service to the cause of refugees. Canada remains the only country-as-laureate in the award’s 60-year history.

Canada has received global recognition for the successes of our private sponsorship of refugees program. Many country representatives from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States have visited Ottawa to learn more about Canada's private sponsorship program.

CPJ works to educate the public — especially churches — on the ever-changing landscape of refugee legislation in Canada. Through research, policy monitoring, and publishing, we bring attention to the impact of legislative change on refugees and claimants, and on the groups who sponsor and support them to come to Canada.

We speak out against policies that disregard the rights and pre-migration experiences of refugees and newcomers to Canada. We also engage with parliamentarians to bring a public justice and human rights framework to the issues.

CPJ is a member of the Canadian Council for Refugees, a national umbrella organization committed to the rights and protection of refugees and other vulnerable migrants in Canada.

With Reclaiming ProtectionCPJ calls for an overhaul to the Safe Third Country Agreement, a policy that allows the Canada Border Services Agency to refuse most refugee claims made at the Canada-U.S. border. By rescinding the policy, Canada can better uphold its international obligations to refugees, as well as the rights of refugees to receive due process.

In April 2017, we released A Half Welcome, our report on private sponsorship issues in Canada which highlights refugee sponsorship agreements holders' top concerns with federal government policy.

In 2020, CPJ published Continuing Welcome: A Progress Report on A Half Welcome. It tracked progress on these concerns and ongoing gaps in Canada's refugee sponsorship program.

CPJ provides timely analysis and research on refugee rights. Contact Stephen Kaduuli for more information.

(CPJ does not provide refugee resettlement services. The Government of Canada maintains a list of Sponsorship Agreement Holders for private refugee sponsorship.)


CPJ's research highlights the concerns of refugees, advocates, and sponsorship agreements holders in Canada. A Half Welcome, CPJ's 2017 report on private sponsorship issues in Canada, highlights refugee sponsorship agreements holders' top concerns with federal government policy. In 2020, CPJ published Continuing Welcome: A Progress Report on A Half Welcome.

Policy Statements

Canadians take pride in our country’s multiculturalism. To truly embrace it, we need a new approach to how we treat those who seek refuge within our borders. Public justice means enacting policies that promote refugee resettlement and supporting refugees after they arrive in Canada.

Church Resources

Want to help your church engage with refugee issues in Canada and beyond? Use these resources to highlight current issues involving refugees today, create discussion points, engage in direct action, and gain a deepened understanding of the Biblical call to welcome the stranger.

Take Action

Use our advocacy resources to call for just refugee policies in Canada, including an end to the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the U.S. and the removal of travel loan repayment for resettled refugees.


Keep up-to-date with the latest news and views from CPJ on refugee rights by reading the articles written by CPJ staff and citing CPJ’s work.