About the Journal

Focus and Scope

Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees is a non-profit, independent, open access, interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed, bilingual journal. Founded in 1981, it publishes analytical, reflective, and probing articles from a wide range of disciplinary and regional perspectives, presenting writings of academics, policy-makers, and practitioners in the field of forced migration. The journal provides space for discussion of emerging themes and debates, as well as ongoing topics. It also features a book/film review section and occasionally publishes special issues on specific themes related to forced migration. Refuge publishes articles in both English and French. Refuge articles are indexed and abstracted widely, from the DOAJ, Érudit, Google Scholar and Scopus (Elesvier) to PAIS International (ProQuest).

All works submitted to Refuge must be original and must not be submitted for consideration with other journals. Refuge does not publish personal reflections on forced migration experiences, fiction, artwork or poetry. We equally do not publish scoping (or literature) reviews - unless the authors can demonstrate that the review makes an original contribution to the field of forced migration studies.

Historical Evolution of Refuge

In the late 1970s, coinciding with the large-scale resettlement of Indo-Chinese refugees in Canada, a literature began to emerge concerning the origin and dynamics of refugee movements and the policies related to the reception and integration of refugees in Canada. Refuge was founded at York University in 1981 to serve as a communications medium for this new interdisciplinary field of enquiry.

Relatively short academic articles summarized the “state of the art” in various domains related to refugees. Special emphasis was directed towards policy issues and the dynamics and impact of refugee movements to Canada.

In 2000, Refuge began to solicit longer, in-depth articles. The transition to a fully academic, peer reviewed journal was assisted, in 2002, by a special initiatives grant from the Social Science and Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). This grant also funded the development of bilingual promotional material, the launching of Refuge’s website, and outreach to new contributors and subscribers. Refuge has been fortunate to have received multiyear funding from SSHRC under its Aid to Scholarly Journals program since 2005.

Publication Frequency

Refuge transitioned to a continuous publication model in 2022.

This means that we will publish an article for an issue as and when it is accepted, rather than waiting for all articles intended for that issue to be ready before proceeding to publication. The current issue thus remains ‘open’ for a while. When another article is published, it goes to the top of that particular section, until the next accepted article is ready. 

Articles will continue to be grouped into general and special issues. We anticipate to continue publishing two issues per year. In exceptional cases, Refuge may publish three issues per year. 

Open Access Policy

In 2013, Refuge transitioned to an open access policy, whereby all current and archived issues are available free of charge through our website. All archived issues can be accessed through the Archives page.

This policy is motivated by a desire to make high-quality research available to a broader audience outside of academic institutions in the global North, including readers who may not have access to academic libraries, including practitioners, people in situations of forced migration, and readers from the global south. By making our full archives widely available and accessible, Refuge underscores its history and unique leadership position in the field of refugee studies as one of the oldest journals in the field. This accessibility also facilitates the ability of scholars to widely cite articles of Refuge, thereby increasing our global academic impact.

Publication Fees

We do not charge article submission or processing fees (APCs). 


All Refuge authors retain the copyright over their work, and license it under the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License International (CC BY-NC 4.0) to the general public.

This license allows for non-commercial use, reproduction and adaption of the material in any medium or format, with proper attribution.

Since authors retain the copyright over their work, Refuge encourages self-archiving by authors of manuscripts accepted for publication.

Authors are also permitted to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) before and during the submission process - this applies to the submitted, accepted, and published versions of the manuscript. This can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (see The Effect of Open Access). 

For general information on Creative Commons licences, visit the Creative Commons site. For the CC BY-NC 4.0 license, review the human-readable summary.

Note that with Refuge's transition to open access, all past content became retroactively open access as well. Copyright was automatically transferred to the authors (and is no longer held by Access Copyright).

Privacy Statement

The names and email addresses entered in this journal site will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of this journal and will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party.

Sources of Support

Refuge is a non-profit, independent journal, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, York University (Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies) and Coalition Publica.


Refuge is a non-profit, scholar-lead publication. Our submission and publication engine is powered by OJS (Open Journal Systems), “the most widely used open-source journal publishing platform in existence, with over 10,000 journals using it worldwide.” The journal is digitally hosted by York Digital Journals (YDJ) and published in conjunction with the Centre for Refugee Studies, York University.

Land Acknowledgement

Refuge, through its affiliation with York University, acknowledges its presence on the traditional territory of many Indigenous Nations. The area known as Tkaronto has been care taken by the Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and the Huron-Wendat. It is now home to many First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities. We acknowledge the current treaty holders, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. This territory is subject of the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement to peaceably share and care for the Great Lakes region.