An investigation has found that Canada is accepting asylum seeker applications at its highest rate since 1991 with experts suggesting a shorter timeline for hearings and an improved training system as the main factors bringing the rates up.
Canada's public broadcaster CBC got hold of 90,000 claims for asylum made between January 2013 and September 2017. According to its investigation, the first nine months of 2013 saw an acceptance rate of 44%, while in the same period in 2017 that had risen to 70%.
Experts said two factors had caused the increase: a change to the Immigrant and Refugee Board of Canada's system that meant claims had to be heard within 60 days instead of 18 months, and a new training programme for board members.
The data showed other trends in claims on the asylum system. In the almost five-year span, the most common reason cited by asylum seekers was corruption or criminals in their home country. That reason was also the least likely to win asylum.
The largest proportion of successful claims came from those fleeing for political reasons with the next largest number those fleeing for religious reasons. Twenty per cent of the religion claims came from Pakistan - with the majority of applicants being members of the Islamic Ahmadi sect.
China was the most common country of origin for claimants, though that rate started to drop in 2015. The next largest number of applications came from Pakistan, followed by Hungary, a number which also dropped over the period examined.
Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve tweeted: