Just the Facts
Asylum Claimants

Release date: May 17, 2019

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) figures are considered preliminary and subject to change. Updated data are published to the IRCC website on a monthly basis as they become available and according to the monthly data release schedule. For the most up-to-date data available, please refer to the IRCC sources below.

Asylum claimants are individuals who request refugee protection upon or after arrival in Canada. Asylum claims can be received at a port of entry, at a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) inland office or an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) inland office.  Claims are then referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). While their claims are being considered, these individuals are considered non-permanent residents in Canada.

Asylum claimants whose claims are accepted can become permanent residents. For more information on this process, please refer to the IRCC website: Backgrounder: Claiming asylum in Canada – what happens?

The number of asylum claimants has fluctuated over time

The number of asylum claimants has fluctuated over the years with previous observed peaks in 2008 (about 37,000) and 2001 (about 44,000).The number of asylum claimants more than tripled since 2015, increasing from about 16,000 in 2015 to over 50,000 in 2017. 

Chart 1 Number of asylum claimants by year of claim

Data table for Chart 1 
Data table for Chart 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 1. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Number (appearing as column headers).
Year Number
2000 37,748
2001 44,640
2002 33,426
2003 31,872
2004 25,526
2005 19,748
2006 22,920
2007 28,496
2008 36,856
2009 33,153
2010 23,130
2011 25,315
2012 20,472
2013 10,365
2014 13,442
2015 16,058
2016 23,870
2017 50,389
2018 55,023

The data included in this chart are considered preliminary and subject to change. For the most up-to-date information available, please refer to Asylum claims.

The number of asylum claimants has been increasing in recent years reaching a peak in August 2017

The number of claimants has increased since the beginning of 2017, from 2,629 in January 2017 to 5,118 in December 2018.

Chart 2 Number of recent asylum claimants by month and year of claim

Data table for Chart 2 
Data table for Chart 2
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 2 2017, 2018 and 2019, calculated using number units of measure (appearing as column headers).
2017 2018 2019
number
January 2,629 4,003 4,434
February 2,903 3,908 4,447
March 3,431 4,202 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
April 3,071 4,814 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
May 3,132 4,526 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
June 3,273 3,773 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
July 5,114 4,402 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
August 8,801 4,975 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
September 4,719 5,171 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
October 4,754 5,611 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
November 4,186 5,210 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
December 4,376 4,428 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period

The data included in this chart are considered preliminary and subject to change. For the most up-to-date information available, please refer to Asylum claims.

The recent increase in the number of asylum claimants is partly explained by the rise in irregular migrants

The increase in the number of asylum claimants over the past 2 years is partly explained by an increase in irregular migrants (individuals entering Canada between ports of entry) claiming asylum in Canada. However, asylum claims being submitted by those entering Canada regularly are also increasing.

Asylum claimants seeking entrance into Canada between ports of entry are intercepted by the RCMP. In most cases, apprehended individuals are turned over to CBSA or IRCC for an asylum claim to be processed. 

Chart 3 Asylum claimants intercepted by the RCMP between ports of entry by month and year

Data table for Chart 3 
Data table for Chart 3
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 3 2017, 2018 and 2019, calculated using number units of measure (appearing as column headers).
2017 2018 2019
number
January 315 1,517 888
February 678 1,565 808
March 897 1,970 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
April 859 2,560 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
May 742 1,869 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
June 884 1,263 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
July 3,134 1,634 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
August 5,712 1,747 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
September 1,881 1,601 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
October 1,890 1,394 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
November 1,623 1,019 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
December 1,978 1,280 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period

The data included in this chart are considered preliminary and subject to change. For the most up-to-date information available, please refer to Asylum claims.

Over the last two years, asylum claimants intercepted between ports of entry by the RCMP represented about 40% of the total number of asylum claimants.

Chart 4 Ratio of interceptions by the RCMP between ports of entry to total asylum claims, by month and year

Data table for Chart 4 
Data table for Chart 4
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 4 2017, 2018 and 2019, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
2017 2018 2019
percent
January 12.0 37.9 20.0
February 23.4 40.0 18.2
March 26.1 46.9 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
April 28.0 53.2 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
May 23.7 41.3 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
June 27.0 33.5 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
July 61.3 37.1 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
August 64.9 35.1 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
September 39.9 31.0 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
October 39.8 24.8 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
November 38.8 19.6 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
December 45.2 28.9 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period

The data included in this chart are considered preliminary and subject to change. For the most up-to-date information available, please refer to Asylum claims.

Who are the recent asylum claimants and where do they come from?

The countries of citizenship for asylum claimants vary over time, and typically reflect global migration trends.  While Haiti, Nigeria, and the United States of America were the top three source countries for asylum claimants in 2017, Mexico, Haiti and Colombia were the principal countries of citizenship for asylum claimants in 2007. 

A disproportionately high number of asylum claimants in 2017 were children aged 0 to 14.  Over 26% of 2017 asylum claimants were aged 0-14. This compares with about 16% of the population living in Canada on July 1st, 2017 in the same age group (Statistics Canada.  Table  17-10-0005-01   Population estimates on July 1st, by age and sex).

The majority of asylum claimants in 2017 were male.


Table 1
Top 5 countries of citizenship for asylum claimants in 2007 and 2017
Table summary
This table displays the results of Top 5 countries of citizenship for asylum claimants in 2007 and 2017 Number (appearing as column headers).
Number
2007 Asylum claimants: top 5 countries of citizenship
Mexico 7,153
Haiti 3,240
Colombia 2,572
United States of America 1,807
People's Republic of China 1,341
Other countries of origin 12,383
Total 28,496
2017 Asylum claimants: top 5 countries of citizenship
Haiti 7,787
Nigeria 6,007
United States of America 2,541
Turkey 2,200
Pakistan 1,751
Other countries of origin 30,103
Total 50,389

The data included in this table are considered preliminary and subject to change. For the most up-to-date information available, please refer to Asylum claims.


Table 2
Age group and gender for asylum claimants in 2017
Table summary
This table displays the results of Age group and gender for asylum claimants in 2017. The information is grouped by Age group (appearing as row headers), Male, Female and Total, calculated using number and percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age group Male Female Total
number percent number percent
0-14 6,810 51.6 6,383 48.4 13,193
15-24 3,709 58.2 2,663 41.8 6,375
25-34 7,010 55.2 5,674 44.7 12,688
35-44 6,516 58.2 4,683 41.8 11,205
45-54 2,619 58.8 1,832 41.1 4,453
55+ 1,162 46.9 1,313 53.1 2,475
Total 27,826 55.2 22,548 44.7 50,389

The data included in this table are considered preliminary and subject to change. For the most up-to-date information available, please refer to Asylum claims.

Not all asylum claimants become permanent residents of Canada

Each claim submitted by an asylum claimant is assessed and can be approved or denied.  Those whose claims are successful, can apply to become permanent residents as Protected Persons in Canada. While the majority of claimants become permanent residents as Protected Persons in Canada, they can also become permanent residents through other admission categories even if their claim is ultimately denied.


Table 3
Asylum claim process outcomes by year and outcome, 2007-2017
Table summary
This table displays the results of Asylum claim process outcomes by year and outcome. The information is grouped by Year claim was made (appearing as row headers), Total claimants, Final outcome still pending, Failed claimants, Successful claimants and Claimants who become permanent residents of Canada, calculated using number units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year claim was made Total claimants Final outcome still pending Failed claimantsTable 3 Note 1 Successful claimantsTable 3 Note 2 Claimants who become permanent residents of Canada
number
2007 28,496 282 17,054 11,160 16,684
2008 36,856 466 22,650 13,740 20,577
2009 33,153 635 22,422 10,096 15,119
2010 23,130 758 13,946 8,426 11,630
2011 25,315 1,566 14,981 8,768 11,488
2012 20,472 5,758 9,604 5,110 7,615
2013 10,365 282 4,612 5,471 6,152
2014 13,442 994 4,500 7,948 8,066
2015 16,058 1,111 5,246 9,701 8,431
2016 23,870 1,781 7,730 14,359 8,541
2017 50,389 27,225 10,930 12,234 1,987

The data included in this table are considered preliminary and subject to change. For the most up-to-date information available, please refer to Asylum claims.

The most common means of becoming permanent residents for asylum claimants are presented below.


Table 4
Principal admission categories of asylum claimants who become permanent residents of Canada
Table summary
This table displays the results of Principal admission categories of asylum claimants who become permanent residents of Canada. The information is grouped by Year claim was made (appearing as row headers), Total claimants who become permanent residents of Canada, Protected Persons in Canada, Immigrants sponsored by family, Humanitarian and Compassionate cases, Economic immigrants and All other admissions categories for asylum claimants, calculated using number units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year claim was made Total claimants who become permanent residents of Canada Protected Persons in Canada Immigrants sponsored by family Humanitarian and Compassionate cases Economic immigrants All other admissions categories for asylum claimants
number
2007 16,684 12,091 2,147 2,218 115 113
2008 20,577 14,874 2,574 2,695 148 286
2009 15,119 10,310 2,335 2,003 122 349
2010 11,630 8,121 1,715 1,332 85 377
2011 11,488 8,019 1,699 1,277 56 437
2012 7,615 5,083 1,381 804 44 303
2013 6,152 5,154 316 514 9 159
2014 8,066 7,301 252 348 6 159
2015 8,431 7,791 223 216 12 189
2016 8,541 8,131 159 70 7 174
2017 1,987 1,864 57 4 5 56

The data included in this table are considered preliminary and subject to change. For the most up-to-date information available, please refer to Asylum claims.

Most Protected Persons in Canada reside in Ontario

An asylum claimant whose claim is approved can apply to become permanent residents as Protected Persons in Canada. Over two thirds of Protected Persons in Canada admitted in 2016 resided in Ontario on December 31st in the same year.  By comparison, among all immigrants admitted in 2016, less than 40% resided in Ontario at the end of the same year. 


Table 5
Percentage of Protected Persons in Canada and all immigrants in Canada by province of residence on December 31st of their admission year
Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage of Protected Persons in Canada and all immigrants in Canada by province of residence on December 31st of their admission year 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, calculated using number and percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
number
Protected person in Canada by province of residence
Total 8,530 6,725 6,430 6,120 6,555 6,300
percent
Atlantic provinces 0.2 0.3 0.5 0.2 0.5 0.4
Quebec 20.2 21.6 20.2 24.2 24.2 19.0
Ontario 68.3 64.8 64.9 58.6 60.1 66.8
Manitoba 0.4 0.4 0.6 0.3 0.5 0.5
Saskatchewan 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.2 0.7 0.4
Alberta 5.7 8.3 8.9 11.2 9.2 7.7
British Columbia 4.6 4.0 4.2 5.1 4.9 5.2
Territories 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.2 0.0 0.0
number
Immigrants in Canada by province of residence
Total 152,585 162,900 168,735 174,385 180,375 186,485
percent
Atlantic provinces 2.2 2.1 2.2 2.4 2.2 3.4
Quebec 19.6 19.6 18.5 16.6 15.9 16.3
Ontario 39.7 38.5 39.5 37.6 38.8 39.3
Manitoba 6.1 4.8 4.7 5.5 4.9 4.8
Saskatchewan 3.7 4.3 4.2 4.4 4.4 4.3
Alberta 13.5 15.7 15.7 18.6 18.9 17.3
British Columbia 14.9 14.8 15.0 14.6 14.7 14.4
Territories 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2

Income of Protected Persons in Canada

The average wages of Protected Persons in Canada admitted in 2006 increased from $22,100, in their first year as permanent residents, to $32,500, 10 years after admission.  While 39% of Protected Persons in Canada claimed some social assistance in the year following admission, this declined to 20% 10 years after admission.


Table 6
Income measures by years since admission, for Protected Persons and all immigrants who were admitted in 2006 (2016 constant dollars)
Table summary
This table displays the results of Income measures by years since admission. The information is grouped by Immigrants admitted in 2006 (appearing as row headers), Total, Mean total income, Percentage with salaries and wages, Mean salaries and wages, Percentage with self-employment income, Mean self-employment income and Percentage with social assistance, calculated using number, dollars and percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Immigrants admitted in 2006 Total Mean total income Percentage with salaries and wages Mean salaries and wages Percentage with self-employment income Mean self-employment income Percentage with social assistance
number dollars percent dollars percent dollars percent
Protected Persons in Canada
1 year since admission 12,400 22,100 64 21,800 14 10,900 39
3 years since admission 12,680 24,900 64 24,900 17 10,800 29
5 years since admission 12,800 27,100 64 28,000 18 10,200 26
10 years since admission 13,170 32,500 64 33,300 17 11,900 20
All immigrants
1 year since admission 166,660 25,700 67 25,900 10 13,300 11
3 years since admission 173,945 29,900 66 30,500 12 12,600 10
5 years since admission 175,675 33,000 67 34,000 14 12,100 9
10 years since admission 179,420 40,300 67 40,700 14 13,600 7
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