The issue of risk is not relevant for cessation hearing, Balouch v Canada (PSEP) 2015 FC 765

by Jenny Rokhline

An interesting decision on cessation of refugee protection was released by Federal Court this month. The Court was tabled to review the IRB decision that granted the Minister of CIC to cease refugee status.

The facts of the case were as following:

  • The Applicant received her refugee status as a Christian in Iran in 2008;
  • In 2010, the Applicant applied for an Iranian passport and traveled to Iran to visit a close relative;
  • While in Iran, the Applicant underwent a foot surgery and remained in Iran for recovery for six months
  • In July 2013, the Applicant returned to Iran to visit a relative who was undergoing a serious medical procedure
  • While in Iran this time, the Applicant underwent a cosmetic surgery on her nose and had some dental work done.
  • Upon her return to Canada, the Applicant was questioned by the CBSA and disclosed that she visited Iran for cosmetic surgery.

The Minister brought an application for cessation of the refugee status. The Board found that the Minister established the grounds for cessation since the Applicant re-availed herself to the country of her persecution.

The Court in this case was required to answer one question: the reasonableness of the Board’s decision.

The Court found that the decision was reasonable and the Applicant had meet the three factors for re-availment.

Legally Canadian: According to the UNHCR guidelines, a person has re-availed him/herself if three of the following criteria are met: the refugee acted voluntarily, the refugee had the intention to re-avail of the protection of the country of nationality, and there must be actual re-availment.

The Applicant argued that the Board failed to assess the issue of a continuous risk to the Applicant at the time of the cessation hearing. The Court, however, found that the issue of risk is not relevant to the cessation hearing. The Court further added that this issue can be assessed on the PRRA application.

The following question was certified:

When deciding whether to allow an application by the Minister for cessation of refugee status pursuant to s. 108(1)(a) of theImmigration and Refugee Protection Act based on past actions, can the Board allow the Minister’s application without addressing whether the person is at risk of persecution upon return to their country of nationality at the time of the cessation hearing?

If you are or you you think might become the subject to the cessation application, please contact us ASAP to discuss your options by emailing to

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