The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act came into force on June 28, 2002. It is Canada’s federal legislation governing immigration and the protection of individuals who are persecuted or in danger. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act provides a high-level framework that aims to reap the economic, social and cultural benefits of immigration, while protecting the health, safety, and security of Canadians.
The objectives of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act are achieved, in part, through a set of provisions that govern who is admissible to Canada. These provisions are a shared responsibility between the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, and the Minister of Public Safety. Individuals who are considered “inadmissible” to Canada are generally not allowed to enter Canada, either as a temporary or permanent resident. If an inadmissible person is already in Canada, that person may be subject to a removal order and would have to leave Canada.
Individuals may be inadmissible under nine different categories: (1) security, (2) human or international rights violations, (3) organized criminality, (4) serious criminality, criminality (5) health, (6) financial reasons, (7) misrepresentation, (8) non-compliance, and (9) an inadmissible family member. More detailed information is available on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.
In exceptional circumstances, an individual who is inadmissible may be permitted to enter after a comprehensive review of their situation. Depending on the circumstances, an individual may be issued a temporary resident permit. Other avenues which may be available include individual or deemed criminal rehabilitation, record suspension (formerly called “pardons” in Canada), an exemption from inadmissibility on humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds from the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, and permanent relief from inadmissibility from the Minister of Public Safety.
In 2010, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, in consultation with the Canada Border Services Agency and other federal partners, launched a review of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act’s inadmissibility and related provisions. The purpose of the review was to ensure that officials continue to have the tools necessary to maintain the integrity of Canada’s immigration system. This admissibility review also examined a number of recurrent issues that have surfaced since the implementation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in 2002.
As a result of the review, legislative changes were proposed in the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act to make it easier to remove dangerous foreign criminals and make it harder for those who pose a risk to Canadians to come to the country, while removing barriers for genuine visitors.
On June 19, 2013, the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act received Royal Assent.