Villafranca

Villafranca 1992 CarswellNat 78, [1992] F.C.J. No. 1189

• Police officer feared reprisals from communist terror group, the NPA, in the Philippines
• Court held that the claimant hadn’t effectively shown that the state was unable to protect him and sent the matter back.
• The Court makes reference to the idea that, in cases of persecution from non-state actors, claimants will normally have to show country in a state of complete lawlessness or civil war. This aspect of the decision no longer stands.
• Some key statements from the decision, however, continue to be cited:

o [7] No government that makes any claim to democratic values or protection of human rights can guarantee the protection of all of its citizens at all times. Thus, it is not enough for a claimant merely to show that his government has not always been effective at protecting persons in his particular situation…

Villafranca in other case-law:

Garcia v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), [2007] 4 FCR 385, 2007 FC 79 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/1qbvx>

o Error of law to require proof of war, invasion, or total collapse of internal order in state protection context – this aspect of Villafranca was implicitly overruled by Ward, which required clear, convincing and reliable evidence to rebut presumption that state could offer adequate protection.

Tomlinson v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2012 FC 822 (CanLII), http://canlii.ca/t/fs2sd

o But what level of effectiveness of state protection is sufficient?
o Question of “operational adequacy”

Ruszo v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2013 FC 1004 (CanLII), http://canlii.ca/t/g0zp8

o This is a decision by the chief justice of the FC holding that “operational adequacy” of the state’s efforts, rather than “serious efforts”, is the correct test for state protection

• What does Villafrranca stand for now?

o State cannot be expected to offer perfect protection
o People aren’t refugees just because the state cannot protect you 100% of the time
o Note that this case was decided in the context of terrorism of non-state actors