The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) was passed, in part, to maintain the public health, safety, and security of Canadian society. However, as a result of IRPA's inadmissibility provisions, thousands of foreign nationals have been denied entry into Canada due to previous criminal records, even those involving only minor offenses.
The IRPA divides criminal offenses into two classes:
Serious Criminality. "A permanent resident or foreign national is inadmissible on grounds of serious criminality for: (b) having been convicted of an offence outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would constitute an offence under an Act of Parliament punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years; or (c) committing an act outside Canada that is an offence in the place where it was committed and that, if committed in Canada, would constitute an offence under an Act of Parliament punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years."
Criminality. "A foreign national is inadmissible on grounds of criminality for: (b) having been convicted outside Canada of an offence that, if committed in Canada, would constitute an indictable offence under an Act of Parliament, or of two offences not arising out of a single occurrence that, if committed in Canada, would constitute offences under an Act of Parliament; or (c) committing an act outside Canada that is an offence in the place where it was committed and that, if committed in Canada, would constitute an indictable offence under an Act of Parliament."
In general, temporary residents and applicants applying for permanent residence are considered inadmissible if the individual:
- was convicted of an offense in Canada;
- was convicted of an offense outside of Canada that is considered a crime in Canada; or
- committed an act outside of Canada that is considered a crime under the laws of the country where it occurred and would be punishable under Canadian law.
Under IRPA, an foreign national may seek relief under the following options:
Temporary Resident Permits
An foreign national who is inadmissible and unable to enter Canada may be issued a temporary resident permit (TRP).
To qualify for a TRP, the applicant must establish, to the satisfaction of an immigration officer, that the status is justified in the circumstances. The "justified in the circumstances" standard has been held by courts to be "exceptional circumstances."
A foreign national can apply for criminal rehabilitation when more than five (5) years have passed since the completion of his or her sentence, payment of a fine, and conclusion of any probation.
Criminal rehabilitation applies to a foreign national who committed offenses considered: (1) serious criminality, or (2) more than one conviction (even if they are for summary offenses).
A foreign national may be deemed rehabilitated if more than ten (10) years have passed since the completion of a sentence where the offense can be considered indictable or hybrid in Canada, or five (5) years when the offense is punishable by summary conviction. (Note: A conviction categorized as "serious criminality" requires a formal rehabilitation application.
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To schedule a consultation to discuss your Canadian immigration matter, please call or email the office. Once you schedule your consultation, you will be provided with a list of documents to submit prior to the consultation.