On Feb 2, 2017 Daily Xtra reported: Documents obtained by Xtra show fewer LGBT refugees arriving in Canada but more asylum requests granted
Canada’s acceptance of LGBT asylum seekers has climbed after a controversial 2012 clamp-down on claimants from so-called “safe countries,” according to data obtained by Xtra.
Documents released through the Access to Information Act reveal that Canada approved 69 percent of asylum claims classified as “sexual orientation and gender minorities” in 2015, compared with an average of 61 percent in the preceding four years.
Meanwhile, the number of people making SOGI claims has only slightly risen, with 1,286 claims decided in 2015 compared with an average of 1,132 in the preceding four years.
The documents cover asylum claims classified as SOGI and processed between 2011 and 2015. The data only includes Immigration and Refugee Board decisions on inland claims; it doesn’t include Canada’s intake of sponsored and non-sponsored refugees who arrive through the United Nations Refugee Agency.
The Immigration and Refugee Board stresses these are rough numbers because some refugee claims involve more than one category, and some refugees are granted asylum for a reason other than the main category under which they had filed a claim.
“Claim-type categories are generic and are the ‘best fit’ for each case given the available categories,” the tribunal said in its data release. The data sorts claims by the year they were adjudicated, though many claims have taken years to be decided, while some are appealed.
Sean Rehaag, a professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School has researched refugee claims for years. He says the success rate of SOGI claims dwarfs other categories like political refugees or persecuted religious minorities.
“That suggests that there’s widespread persecution against LGBT claimants and that the Immigration and Refugee Board is recognizing that,” he says. “Frankly, it reflects the reality of rampant homophobia in many countries around the world.”