Skip to content

Working with a Designated Representative

If you are a minor (under 18 years of age) and you are not here with a parent or guardian, you might have a “Designated Representative” to help you with your refugee case.

What is a Designated Representative?

You have many rights as a minor in the refugee process. Your Designated Representative is an adult who will make sure that others see, know and respect your rights in this process.

They will be with you and help when you:

Meet with your lawyer

Meet with immigration officers

Go to your hearing

What should my Designated Representative do?

Your Designated Representative should explain the immigration and refugee system to you so you know what is happening.

If you do not understand something, tell them you do not understand and ask them to explain it to you. They are here for you.

Your Designated Representative should help you prepare for your refugee hearing.

They should sit in on meetings with your lawyer and make sure the lawyer listens to you and understands what you want.

They should also help you to collect evidence for your refugee hearing, including reports and letters from your country that show what happened to you.

They should not do anything without your permission.

Your Designated Representative should give you emotional support throughout the refugee process.

You can talk to them about how you are feeling and when you need help.

Important things to know:

It is common for people to call a Designated Representative a “DR”

Your Designated Representative works for YOU, not for Immigration or any part of the Canadian government. They should be 100% on your team

Your Designated Representative should not tell anyone else what you tell them, unless you give them permission to or they are worried about your safety

When you turn 18, it is possible that you will no longer have a Designated Representative. You can still ask that person to support you, but the Immigration and Refugee Board will not consider them to be your Designated Representative

Who will be Designated Representative be?

A family member or a friend

You might be in Canada with an extended relative, such as an older sibling or an aunt.

You might also be staying with a community member, or have a family friend who is supporting you. One of these people could be your DR. You can talk to them and to your lawyer about this possibility.

Share this document with the person who is your DR so they understand how they are supposed to support you.

An independent or professional DR

If you do not have a family member, friend or a community member who can be your DR, you might have someone assigned to your case from the Immigration and Refugee Board.

This might be someone who is a social worker or a settlement worker. It might be someone from the Centre for Refugee Children. Or they might be another person with experience being a DR.