Many different terms are used to describe refugees. Each of them has a particular legal meaning and implication. Using terms properly is an important way to identify the barriers and address them.
Refugee – a person who is forced to flee from persecution and who is located outside of their home country.
Convention refugee – a person who meets the refugee definition in the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. This definition is used in Canadian law and is widely accepted internationally. To meet the definition, a person must be outside their country of origin and have a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
Refugee claimant or Asylum Seeker – a person who has fled their country and is asking for protection in another country.
Permanent resident – a person granted the right to live permanently in Canada. The person may have come to Canada as an immigrant or as a refugee. Permanent residents who become Canadian citizens are no longer permanent residents.
View the full glossary of commonly used terms when discussing refugee status here: http://ccrweb.ca/en/glossary