“Less Complex Claims” Discrimination

March 24, 2022

The Ministry of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship has clarified that apostates and non-believers are eligible for the Less Complex Claims process that will allow them to avoid lengthy refugee hearings.

Here is Petition e-3638 and the Ministerial response:

Petition to the House of Commons in Parliament assembled


  • Non-believers are persecuted in several countries, both by government and the public;
  • Persecution of non-believers can result in serious injury, imprisonment, or death at the hands of family members, street mobs, or governments;
  • Some countries, including Saudi Arabia, wrongly label all non-believers as terrorists and this alone should not disqualify them for refugee status;
  • The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled several times that Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right to freedom from religion as much as the right to freedom of religion, a standard which Canada should apply to refugees as well as citizens; and
  • Non-believing refugee claimants for refugee status through the Less Complex Claims policy would be qualified by such international organizations as Humanists International, and Atheist Alliance International, both of which have Special Consultative Status at the United Nations, and Participatory Status at the Council of Europe.

We, the undersigned, citizens or residents of Canada, call upon the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to clarify the status of the Less Complex Claims policy, and to ensure that non-believers are included in the list of people eligible for any special refugee status so that they will be treated equally with those people belonging to the religions which are listed in the Less Complex Claims policy.

  1. Response by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
  2. Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Marie-France Lalonde, M.P.

The Task Force for Less Complex Claims (TFLCC) was established in 2018 by the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) as an innovative case management approach to increase productivity and efficiency of decision-making.

The TFLCC is a streamlined case management process for certain country and claim types, which allows for certain claims to be reviewed and decided without holding a hearing, or to proceed with a short hearing if only one or two issues need to be resolved.

Decisions to include a particular country of origin or type of claim under the TFLCC process are based on several assessments, including conditions relating to human rights, political activity, and legal systems.

If there are more complicated questions of credibility or identity, then such cases will proceed to a regular hearing.

Any claim that appears to be manifestly founded upon initial review may be considered for processing without a hearing or with only a short-hearing process. This may include claims from individuals who are members of a religion as well as claims from those who have chosen to be disassociated from a religious denomination or community, or those who hold no religious conviction, including non-believers.

In addition, counsel and claimants have the ability to identify claims they believe should be considered for triage as part of the TFLCC.

November 17, 2021

E-petition # E-3638 is open for signatures. Please go to https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Sign/e-3638, read the petition, and sign it. This petition replaced e-3114 that died on the order paper when Parliament was prorogued in August.

July 15, 2021
Our E-petition, #E-3114, has been read in the House

On June 22, petition E-3114 was read in the House of Commons by sponsoring MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith. Now. Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, Marco Mendicino has until August 6 to respond to the petition.

September 17, 2020:
SCS starts campaign to end discrimination against atheist refugee claimants

Note: You can scroll down to the submission form or read this information and go to the form below.

Recently, one of our supporters drew SCS’ attention to systemic discrimination against atheist refugee embedded in Canada’s refugee policies.

Specifically, in a document listing “Less Complex [Refugee] Claims, atheists are excluded from the list of refugee claimants who can by-pass hearings to attain refugee status , but several religious groups are included. https://irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/information-sheets/Pages/less-complex-claims.aspx

Significantly the document referenced above lists the same countries as the Freedom of Thought Report lists as countries that persecute and even execute atheists.

SCS has begun a campaign to eliminate this discrimination by writing directly to the Hon. Marco E.L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Canadian Citizenship pointing out the following:

  • atheists are persecuted just as much and sometimes more in these countries as people belonging to the religions listed,
  • the standard in Canada for human rights is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Supreme Court of Canada has declared several times that the charter guarantees the right to freedom from religion as much as the right to freedom of religion,
  • several atheists are currently in danger while awaiting the refugee hearings that could be avoided if they were not excluded from less complex claim status.

We have also copied this email to the shadow cabinet members of the Conservative, NDP, and Green Parties, as well as to the leader of the Bloc Québecois:

  • Raquel Dancho, Conservative – Raquel.Dancho@parl.gc.ca
  • Jenny Kwan, NDP,- Jenny.Kwan@parl.gc.ca
  • Claire Kelly, GPC – Claire.Kelly@greenparty.ca
  • Yves-François Blancher, BQ – Yves-Francois.Blanchet@parl.gc.ca

Web Page Scrubbed
On November 3, 2020, shortly after SCS emailed Minister Mendicino regarding this issue, the document listing the religions and countries in question was scrubbed from the web page. Here is a copy of some of the information that was scrubbed.

Please join us in insisting on clarification of this policy by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship. Go to:

https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Sign/e-3638 to read and sign e-3638.