Unaccompanied/Separated Minors and Refugee Protection in Canada: Filling Information Gaps


  • Judith Wouk Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  • Soojin Yu Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  • Lisa Roach Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  • Jessie Thomson Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  • Anmarie Harris Citizenship and Immigration Canada




Canada, unaccompanied minors, separated children, minor refugees, refugee protection, demographics


This paper fills information gaps with regard to unaccompanied/ separated minors in Canada. By the means of reviewing Citizenship and Immigration Canada administrative databases, it investigates how many unaccompanied/separated refugee minors exist, who they are, and how they are received in Canada.We found that there were fewer truly unaccompanied minors than previously reported. In the asylum stream, only 0.63 per cent (or 1,087) of the total claimant population were found to be unaccompanied by adults in the past five years. In the resettlement stream only two truly unaccompanied minors were resettled during 2003 and 2004. Regarding their socio-demographic characteristics, we found that unaccompanied minors compose a highly heterogeneous group from many different countries. Regarding how they were received in Canada, very little evidence existed. Our study found that unaccompanied and separated asylum-seeking minors showed a higher acceptance rate and quicker processing times than the adult population, but details about the minors’ actual reception into Canada remains to be further explored. This study recommends that Citizenship and Immigration Canada review its administrative databases with a view toward improving the data about separated/unaccompanied children. Consistent and detailed definitions are required to develop a comprehensive policy framework for unaccompanied/ separated minor refugees in Canada.


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How to Cite

Wouk, J., Yu, S., Roach, L., Thomson, J., & Harris, A. (2006). Unaccompanied/Separated Minors and Refugee Protection in Canada: Filling Information Gaps. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 23(2), 125–138. https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.21360

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