2.C Settlement and Integration
C.1 What is the status of refugees upon arrival?
(ii) What rights and obligations flow from resettled refugees’ legal status(es)?
How Canada Does It
As permanent residents, resettled refugees share most of the same rights and obligations as Canadian citizens, such as access to social services and the obligation to pay taxes. They are also protected by Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Permanent residents may not vote, run for political office or hold some jobs that require a high level of security clearance.
The rights of permanent residents include:
- Access to most of the social benefits received by other Canadian citizens, including healthcare coverage;
- Ability to live, work or study anywhere in Canada;
- Ability to apply for Canadian citizenship; and
- Protection under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Permanent residents are obligated to:
- Remain in Canada for two years of every five-year period;
- Pay taxes; and
- Respect all Canadian laws.
When re-entering Canada, permanent residents are also required to carry their Permanent Residency Card, which provides proof of permanent residence.
Refugees can choose to remain permanent residents indefinitely or to apply for Canadian citizenship upon meeting requirements. It is also possible for refugees to renounce permanent residence or for their status to be revoked (see 2.C.1(iv)). While optional, permanent residents and protected persons may avail themselves of the services and supports funded through Canada’s Settlement Program.