Bill C-43, also known as “Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act” became law after receiving Royal Assent on June 19, 2013.
The Bill implements new significant changes to the legislative provisions dealing with inadmissibility and security grounds. Below is a short summary of the changes.
1) Evaluation of Inadmissibility
Section 34(1)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Proteciton Act (IRPA) has been changed from inadmissibility on the grounds of an act of espionage or subversion against a democratic government, institution or process as they are understood in Canada to acts of espionage against Canada alone or that are contrary to Canada’s interest.
Under section 15 of the IRPA an officer has the authority to examine persons making an application under the Act. Under setion 16, applicatns are obligated to answer all questions truthfully and provide all relevant information. Bill C-43 adds subsection 16 (1.1) which stipulates that applicants are obliged to appear for examination at the request of an officer. The new subsection 16(2.1) further stipulates that a foreign national who makes an application also has the obligation to appear before Canadian Security Intelligence Services (CSIS).
2) Consequences of Inadmissibility
A foreign national determined to be inadmissible on security grounds, for violating human and international rights or for organizing criminality is ineligible for permanent residence based on humanitarian grounds (sections 34, 35 and 37 of the IRPA).
With the elimination of Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) relief for inadmissible foreign nationals, the remaining two types of relief are the PRRA application and Ministerial relief under 34.2.
The current penalty for misrepresentation – an inadmissibility ground – is two years ban from entering or remaining in Canada. The Bill increases the penalty for misrepresentation to five years. Bill further stipulates that a foreign national cannot apply for permanent resident status while he or she is inadmissible for misrepresentation.
Bill C-43 states that regulations may be drafted to include conditions that must be imposed when releasing an individual who is a subject to a report of inadmissibility or a removal order for inadmissibility on grounds of security. Prescribed conditions are lifted when security concerns are addressed – the person is found innocent, suspicions are confirmed and actions are taken to further limit the risk to Canada.
3) Categories of Inadmissibility
Bill C-43 expands the scope of people ineligible to appeal by indicating that serious criminality constitutes a crime punished in Canada by a term of at least 6 months imprisonment. As a result individuals who fall into this category lose their rights of appeal of removal orders at the Immigration Appeal Division.
The Bill eliminates rights of appeal for those found inadmissible on grounds of serious criminality for convictions or committing actions that constitute an offence outside Canada and that, if committed in Canada, would be punishable by a maximum term of at least 10 years of imprisonment.
Bill C-43 amends the IRPA so that temporary residents and applicants for that status are inadmissible if their family member is inadmissible on grounds of security, violating human and international rights, or organizing criminality, even if the inadmissible person is non-accompanying.
4) Ministerial Discretion
Bill C-43 makes it so that the Minister is limited to national security and public safety considerations when reaching his or her decision about allowing an inadmissible person remain in Canada. Such considerations are broader than whether a person presents danger to the public or the security of Canada.
Bill C-43 allows the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to issue a declaration, which does not permit a foreign national to become a temporary resident. As such, the foreign national must not seek to enter or remain in Canada as a temporary resident. The validity of declaration must be specified by the Minister.
5) New Regulatory Authorities Regarding Applications
Bill C-43 allows for regulations to empower officers to inspect or require documents to verify compliance with undertakings. Undertakings are required in the family sponsorship context to hold sponsors accountable for financial assistance to their sponsored relatives.
The Bill introduces broader regulatory authority that applies to educational institutions in addition to employers and that impose requirements in relation to the authorization for foreign nationals to work and study in Canada.
The Bill allows for regulations that permit individuals to renounce their permanent residence status. A person who renounces their status in Canada becomes a temporary resident for 6 months after the application is approved. This does not occur if the status is renounced while the person is physically not in Canada or if he/she renounces the status at the port of entry.
To find out how these changes might affect you, we suggest you contact an immigration lawyer.