April 19, 2013 – The Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, Bill C-43, proposes major changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that will limit avenues of appeal to permanent residents with convictions, and give the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism much more discretion in matters of admissibility.
The Act passed its third reading in parliament in February, and entered its second reading in the Senate April 18, 2013.
Currently, admissibility appeals may be filed to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board by permanent residents sentenced to less than two years in Canada. This would be limited to those who are sentenced to less than six months.
Those who have committed, or have been convicted of, a crime outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would be punished by a maximum sentence of 10 years or more, could not appeal to the IAD.
A foreign national deemed inadmissible on grounds of security, human rights or international rights violations or organized criminality, would no longer be able to apply under Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds.
When considering a request for relief from inadmissibility, the Minister of Public Safety would not be able to consider Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds, but rather limit the scope to national security and public safety factors.
Those with a family member who is inadmissible on the grounds of security, human rights or international rights violations, or organized criminality would no longer be able to visit Canada even when traveling alone.
However, those with family members who are inadmissible on grounds of serious criminality, criminality, health, finance, misrepresentation or non-compliance would be able to enter temporarily.
Misrepresentation currently makes an individual inadmissible for two years; this number would be increased, and the foreign national would be prevented from applying for permanent residence or temporary entry for a period of five years.
In October, 2012, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism introduced changes that would give his office the power to bar foreign nationals from entering the country temporarily on public policy reasons for up to three years. The first instance where this power could be used would be in cases where a foreign national is proven to have made public statements to promote terrorism or terrorist violence, incite hatred against a specific group, or promote serious criminal activity. Secondly, the Minister could bar a foreign national who is or was a senior official of a government under sanctions, or a corrupt foreign official.
Other notable changes include the following:
- The Minister could set regulations imposing conditions on those involved in an application, such as employers or educational institutions.
- Regulations would set mandatory minimum conditions such as regular monitoring for those with a removal order from Canada on grounds of security, or who have a security certificate issued against them. Currently, such conditions are at the discretion of immigration officers, the IAD or the Federal Court.
- Applicants would have to attend an interview with CSIS if requested to do so by the Canada Boarder Services Agency.
- Permanent residents who wish to renounce their status would do so through an application rather than through an administrative process.
- Regarding Ministerial Relief for those who are inadmissible, a formal application process would be created (as opposed to an administrative one), although the Minister could still grant relief without an application.
- Whereas acts of espionage against “any democratic government, process or institution” currently make foreign nationals and permanent residents inadmissible, the new legislation would change this to acts of espionage against “Canada or contrary to the interests of Canada.”
– Written by Richard McKergow, a Paralegal licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada and guest author on this site.