Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


Both Canada and the United States are bound through the United Nations Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees to establish domestic laws consistent with the Protocol that facilitate the resettlement of refugees. Both countries define refugees as persons outside their country of residence who are unwilling or unable to return, owing to a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, social group, political opinion or nationality. However, the United States interprets this definition in a manner very different from that of Canada. Canada uses one standard for the classification of refugees and, with few exceptions, guarantees to all refugees proving a wellfounded fear of persecution the right to remain in Canada. In contrast, the United States only guarantees to refugees proving a clear probability of persecution the right not to be deported to the country in which the refugee fears persecution. This Note critically analyzes the two countries' definitions of refugees and the rights that such refugee determinations afford the refugee.