Journal of Law and Social Policy


Carole Fiore

Document Type


English Abstract

The Supreme Court of Canada bas in its recent decision in Ward v. Attorney General (Canada) considered the meaning of the term "Convention refugee" in section 2 (1) of the Immigration Act. The decision gives a progressive interpretation to the term, relying upon general themes in international human rights and anti-discrimination, and identifying three categories within the concept of a "social group": 1) groups defined by an innate or immutable characteristic; 2) voluntary associations for reasons essential to human dignity; and 3) voluntary associations of such long standing as to be immutable. Under the first category, women, linguistic groups and persons persecuted for their sexual orientation may be considered to be members of a social group. As well, persecution may now be established by showing restrictions of fundamental human rights recognized in international Conventions, and not just by showing detention or torture.