A refugee is “a person who is forced to flee from persecution”. In 1951, the Geneva Convention defined a refugee as a person who is “outside their country of origin and has a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”. (Canadian Council for Refugees)
The Canadian government reports that from 2000 to 2002, more than 26,800 government-assisted refugees settled in Canada. UNHCR reports that there is an absence of Canadian refugee records, but is estimated at more than 24,000 refugees came to Canada in 2007. (UNHCR, 2007 Global Trends)
The number of refugees that come each year to Canada fluctuates. Canada accepts less than a tenth of 1% of our population. Less than half of refugee claimants are granted refugee status. In 1998 44% of refugee claims were accepted.(4) The average acceptance rate over the last 5 years (1994-1998) was 48%. (Canadian Council for Refugees)
The UNHCR estimates that there are 67 million people that are forcibly displaced in the world, of them 16 million are refugees. There are 51 million internally displaced people worldwide, these are people who remain within their country of origin's boarders but are endangered due to armed conflict (26 million) and natural disasters (25 million).
“An immigrant is someone who has settled permanently in another country. Immigrants choose to move, whereas refugees are forced to flee”. (Canadian Council for Refugees)