About Asylum Seekers: General Information


  • PRAIDA offers health care and social services to asylum seekers and to people who need to regularize their immigration status
  • Expertise and support for public and community organizations serving that clientele
  • Training and research

Client Profile

  • People who want to apply for refugee status, but have not yet approached immigration authorities
  • Asylum seekers
  • People who are applying for refugee status
  • Asylum seekers turned down by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada:
    • Preparing for their voluntary departure or removal from Canada
    • Undergoing a Federal Court judicial review
    • Who have asked Citizenship and Immigration Canada for a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA)
    • Who have applied for permanent residency on humanitarian grounds
    • From a country under moratorium (removal indefinitely suspended)
    • People other than asylum seekers in the process of regularizing their status by applying for a PRRA or permanent residency on humanitarian grounds
    • Unaccompanied minors (asylum seekers under 18, separated from both their parents and in Quebec without a legally responsible adult)

Children with Special Needs

Following families who have one or more children with special needs: intellectual disability, physical and/or motor disability, developmental delay, learning difficulty, etc.

Unaccompanied Minors

PRAIDA has a regional mandate to help unaccompanied minors. Minors who come to PRAIDA have their needs assessed immediately and they are followed by a social worker (navigator), who assists with their social integration. A designated representative is also assigned to take charge of their immigration case.

Designated Representatives

In some cases, the Immigration and Refugee Board asks PRAIDA to act as their designated representative. The designated representative looks out for the interests of unaccompanied minors or people unable to understand the immigration procedures. At PRAIDA, the designated representative is a social worker supported by a multidisciplinary team.

The designated representative informs and consults the minor or person who is unable to understand the procedure when decisions have to be made in their case.

Foster Families

Foster families (familles d’entraide) are generally known to unaccompanied minors (UMIs) and are part of their extended families already settled in Montreal or elsewhere in Canada . The difference between familles d’entraide and regular foster families is generally their ethnocultural group, the way they are recruited, type of assessment and amount of financial support. PRAIDA’s role is to systematically assess the family’s ability to care for the unaccompanied minor.

Family Budget Supplement

This supplement is paid to families with more than two dependent children who cannot receive child support benefits from Retraite Québec or the Canada child benefit from the Canada Revenue Agency because they are asylum seekers.

The decision to provide financial support is based on a psychosocial assessment.

Intake Teams

PRAIDA’s intake service is the point of entry into the health and social services system for asylum seekers and others with precarious immigration status.

Psychosocial triage

In triage, a social worker assesses walk-in clients and prioritizes their cases based on their needs. Depending on their problems, the social worker may also steer clients to PRAIDA’s medical services or to one or more outside resources.

Preliminary psychosocial assessment

The preliminary psychosocial assessment is a brief assessment of the client’s situation and expressed needs by an intake social worker at their first meeting.

Short-term follow-up

Short-term follow-up is a series of meetings and services provided by an intake social worker over a defined period of time, in which the social worker tries to stabilize the client’s problem situation.

Crisis intervention

Crises are related primarily to loss of bearings: identity, family and social system.

Support from partners through PRAIDA voice mail

Voice mail is available to institutions that require information on immigration, the different statuses and access to services for their clients.

PRAIDA Referral Process (for Professionals)

Every new client must visit PRAIDA.

  • If you are a member of the health and social services system, you can refer asylum seekers for psychosocial follow-up by faxing an interagency service request (DSIE) to 514-286-5733.

Follow-up Team

The psychosocial team provides medium- and long-term services to clients referred by the intake team or other professionals from a variety of agencies:

  • Psychosocial assistance for complex problems related to the asylum-seeking process
  • Psychosocial assessment and follow-up for vulnerable people: trauma victims, people with mental health problems associated with the migration process, victims of intimate partner violence, complex immigration cases, children with special needs, etc.
  • Crisis intervention (suicidal thoughts, disorganization, etc.)
  • Psychosocial assessment and follow-up for unaccompanied minors (child asylum seekers who have arrived in Canada without their biological parents or a legal guardian)
  • Mediation with various government organizations to gain access to services for asylum seekers
  • Recommendations for general and specific services at integrated university health and social service centres (CIUSSSs) and neighbourhood integrated health and social service centres (CISSSs) once they are accepted as refugees

Teaching, Research and State-of-the-Art Practices

PRAIDA’s teaching, training and research fall under the six headings of the university-related mission of the Integrated Health and Social Service Network for West Central Montreal . Those activities include the following:

  • Training, supervision and knowledge transfer for university students and medical residents
  • Research on issues involving asylum seekers and refugees
  • Taking part in conferences, round tables, training workshops, etc., on subjects involving asylum seekers and refugees
  • Hosting and talking to teams from other countries working with asylum seekers
  • Serving as liaison with the refugee and asylum seeker expertise centre and the SHERPA-METISS research centre

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