Hilo v. Canada

Hilo v. Canada (Minister of Employment & Immigration) 1991 CarswellNat 96

  • Applicant left Syria as a 15-year-old in 1987 and had his refugee hearing in Canada at the age of 17 in 1989
  • In Syria was part of a group that met at people’s houses – were trying to fundraise to send charitable funds/supplies to Lebanon at the suggestion of a Shia imam
  • Security forces visited the house on 2 occasions and on the second occasion arrested the applicant’s brother, who hasn’t been heard from since
  • After that, got visa to USA, where he met another brother who was a US citizen, but who was not able to arrange permanent status for him in the US
  • Lived in USA for 18 months then came to Canada
  • Rejected on the basis of a lack of credibility
  • The Board noted the following in its reasons:


  • The claimant’s testimony lacked detail and was sometimes inconsistent. He was often unable to answer questions and sometimes appeared uninterested in doing so. While this may be partly due to the claimant’s young age, the panel was not fully satisfied of his credibility as a witness.


  • In my view, the board was under a duty to give its reasons for casting doubt upon the appellant’s credibility in clear and unmistakable terms.The board’s credibility assessment, quoted supra, is defective because it is couched in vague and general terms. The board concluded that the appellant’s evidence lacked detail and was sometimes inconsistent. Surely particulars of the lack of detail and of the inconsistencies should have been provided. Likewise particulars of his inability to answer questions should have been made available. (Hilo v. Canada (Minister of Employment & Immigration) (1991), 15 Imm. L.R. (2d) 199 at para.6) (C.A.).