How Refugee Resettlement to Canada is Funded

A common complaint about refugee resettlement is the cost.  However, refugees resettled to Canada must pay for their medical exam and their travel to Canada.  Canada’s Immigrant Loans Program ensures that refugees who are unable to pay for their resettlement have access to a funding source.

Canadian immigration legislation provides that the most that can be loaned is $126,000,000.  Historically, the Government of Canada has issued $13,000,000 in loans annually.  Approximately 93% of loaned funds are repaid.  Since 2002, the average loan has been approximately $3,000, with roughly 20% of loans issued for more than $5,000.  The current policy is to cap the maximum loan amount to $10,000 per family.

2018 Changes

Prior to 2018, the loan repayment schedule was as follows:

Balance at Start of Repayment Period (Which Is 30 Days After Arrival in Canada)
Period the Loan
Must be Repaid in Full (Months)
Start of Interest Accrual
Up to $1,200 12 13th month
$1,201 to $2,400 24 25th month
$2,401 to $3,600 36 37th month
$3,601 to $4,800 48 37th month
Over $4,800 72 37th month

In 2018, the Government of Canada amended the above to:

  • eliminate interest charges on all new immigration loans;
  • eliminate further interest accumulation on all existing immigration loans;
  • defer the loan repayment start date from 30 days to one year; and
  • extend the repayment period for all loans by two years, thus reducing the required monthly instalment amount.



The Government of Canada’s rationale for eliminating interest charges and extending the repayment period as well as the period before the loan becomes repayable was that it would “give resettled refugees more time to focus on their integration, without needing to give immediate attention to loan repayments. Given their need to learn the language, along with other integration challenges they may face, many resettled refugees take more than one year to secure employment in Canada. Thus, these amendments will give them more time to repay their loans, and keep the loans fixed at the amount that was borrowed.”

The cost of eliminating interest was estimated to be $7.3 million over 10 years.

Canada’s Visa Office in Warsaw

Canada’s visa office in Warsaw processes permanent residence applications from Armenia, Belarus, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.  It processes temporary residence applications from Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland.

Temporary Residency Processing

From 2014 – 2016, the Warsaw visa office’s approval rates for temporary residence applications were as follows:

Year Category Applications Received Approval Time
2016 Visitor 1625 63
Student 153 41
Worker 161 62
eTA 9 N/A
2015 Visitor 1693 66
Student 187 37
Worker 983 81
2014 Visitor 2515 69
Student 340 43
Worker 1225 82

The above statistics do not include the electronic applications from nationals of countries where IRCC-Warsaw has file processing agreements with local offices.

Full Report

A full copy of a report that IRCC’s Warsaw office sent can be found below. It was obtained through an Access to Information Act request.




Sponsoring an Extended Family Member to Immigrate

It is generally well known that Canadian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor their spouses, common-law partners, children, parents and/or grand-parents to immigrate to Canada.

What is less well-known is that in certain circumstances it is also possible for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to sponsor an extended family member to immigrate.

The “Lonely Canadian” Category

Under a program that is generally referred to as the “Lonely Canadian Program” or the “Other Relative Program” a Canadian citizen or permanent resident can sponsor one adult son or daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew to immigrate to Canada.  If that extended family member is married or has children, the person being sponsored can bring their immediate family with them to Canada. As well, the person being sponsored has to be related to the sponsor by blood.

In order to sponsor such a relative, however, the Canadian or permanent resident must show that they do not have a spouse, common-law partner, child, parent or grandparent or child who is either a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, or who is a foreigner that can be sponsored.  For example, if a Canadian citizen is married they cannot sponsor their uncle to immigrate.  The program is designed to favour persons who do not have relations in Canada and have no possibility to sponsor immediate family.

The normal rules of sponsorship apply, and the Canadian sponsor would need to enter into an undertaking with the Government of Canada wherein they would commit to being financially responsible for their relative for a period of 10 years after they immigrate.

Ability to Sponsor a Parent

One issue that frequently arises in the Lonely Canadian Program is whether a Canadian can sponsor an extended relative to immigrate to Canada if that Canadian has a living parent or grandparent but is likely unable to sponsor them.  The answer is unfortunately confusing.

After several seemingly inconsistent decisions on the matter the Federal Court in Bousaleh v. Canada attempted to summarize the law by stating that if it is the Canadian sponsor who does not meet the requirements of sponsoring a parent or grandparent (due to, for example, financial issues) then the Canadian can sponsor their extended family member.  However, if it is the foreign parent or grandparent who does not meet the requirements of immigration (because of, for example, medical or criminal inadmissibility issues) then the Canadian cannot sponsor a different relative.

This seems like a somewhat unsatisfactory approach, and the Federal Court of Appeal is expected later this year or early next to answer the question of whether the determination of a Canadian’s ability to sponsor a relative under the Lonely Canadian program requires a visa officer to consider whether the Canadian’s hypothetical application to sponsor a parent or grandparent would have a reasonable chance of success.

A Caution

Our office has helped many people sponsor their extended relatives to immigrate. The result can be very fulfilling, and typically fills the Canadian sponsor with great pride.  However, on occasion Canadians have sponsored distant relatives who they may not know well. They may also have unrealistic, or insufficiently explained, expectations for how their relationship with their extended relative to proceed.   It is important that prospective sponsors understand that they remain financially liable for their extended relatives after they immigrate even if their relationship with their relative deteriorates and to make sure that they discuss any concerns and expectations that they have with their relative before sponsoring them.

Borderlines Episode 18 – An Introduction to Canadian Extradition Law, with Amanda Lord

Amanda Lord is a lawyer in the Criminal Law and International Assistance group at the Department of Justice of Canada. Her work involves court proceedings regarding Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance requests from foreign states and civil litigation on behalf of government agencies.

In this episode we discuss the Extradition and the State of Law.

2:30 Amanda Lord clarifies the distinction between extradition and immigration deporting proceedings. It is a different process with a different set of principles that apply, so it is important that people understand what extradition entails.

6:30 She explains the conditions for which a country will extradite an individual, the international treaties that must have been ratified by the Parties as well as the concept of double criminality.

8:50 Amanda explains the second criteria for extradition which is that it be an indictable offence with a minimum prison sentence of two years.

13:00 We ask about the process of extradition from foreign countries to Canada. Amanda explains that her department is not responsible for these, and she describes the procedures to be followed in such scenarios.

14:45 Amanda explains the extradition treaties to which Canada abides to and the differences between them.

18:45 An overview of the committal process and Charter protections.

25:45 The question of where an individual can be prosecuted is one that is commonly misunderstood. Amanda explains that foreign states decide if they can prosecute a person for offences committed outside their boundaries. Persons who commit offences in Canada may still be at risk of extradition where the effect of the offence is felt in a foreign state. An example would be sexual exploitation of children over the Internet though explicit messaging and photos, or distribution of child pornography.

36:13 An overview of how to challenge the prosecutor’s evidence.

43:00 Amanda provides examples of cases that resolve by way of a voluntary agreement at the Committal stage.

49:20 Amanda and Peter discuss the surrender stage.  Will a person be surrendered? If so, will there be conditions?

56:00 When should assurances be given? Would Canada extradite to countries that torture?




Borderlines Episode 20 – An Overview of Canadian Medical Inadmissibility Law, with Erin Roth

Erin Roth is a Lawyer with Edelmann & Co. Her work involves court proceedings regarding Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance requests from foreign states and civil litigation on behalf of government agencies.

In this episode Deanna and Erin discuss issues in Canadian medical inadmissibility law.  When can someone be inadmissible to Canada because they are sick?  How does one confront such an allegation? What changes are upcomming?

1:30 – This episode was recorded in November 2017. Deanna, in an introduction to the episode, provides an overview of the changes to Canadian medical inadmissibility law that the Government of Canada announced would be taking place this summer.

6:30 She explains the conditions for which a country will extradite an individual, the international treaties that must have been ratified by the Parties as well as the concept of double criminality.

8:50 Amanda explains the second criteria for extradition which is that it be an indictable offence with a minimum prison sentence of two years.

13:00 We ask about the process of extradition from foreign countries to Canada. Amanda explains that her department is not responsible for these, and she describes the procedures to be followed in such scenarios.

14:45 Amanda explains the extradition treaties to which Canada abides to and the differences between them.

28:00 – 

Law Cans Episode 3 – R v. Alex (Challenging Breathalyzer Results) with Kyla Lee

R v. Alex. is a 2017 Supreme Court of Canada decision in which the Supreme Court had to determine whether the Crown needed to prove that a police officer’s request that an individual blow into an approved screening device was reasonable before it could admit the results of the breathalyzer without having to call a toxicologist and a technician as a witness.

Kyla Lee is an Associate at Acumen Law Corporation, She is the host of Driving Law, a podcast which focuses on Canadian DUI law. She can be found at @IRPLawyer online.


1:20 – An overview of the facts of the case in R v. Alex. A person is pulled over during a seatbelt check in Penticton, British Columbia.  A police officer notices that he smelled an odour of liquor as he approached the vehicle and there was an open beer can on the floor near the passenger side. The driver, Mr. Alex, had “red cheeks” and “watery eyes.” There was nothing else to suggest that the person was impaired.  The driver had no difficulty parking the car and no difficulty exiting the vehicle. The police officer did not take any notes about why he thought Mr. Alex was drunk, but says that he wouldn’t have pulled him over if he did not think he had a reasonable suspicion.  The police officer requires that Mr. Alex use an approved screening device which he fails, which is almost double the legal limit of 0.08. He then takes him to a police station where his breath samples registered .140 and .130 mg of alcohol, which is almost double the legal limit.

1:34 – Introduction to who Kyla Lee is. Kyla is a criminal defense attorney in Vancouver. She is a member of the National College for DUI Defence, the DUI Defense Lawyers Association and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  She also has a podcast called Driving Law.

1:55 – What is the difference between an approved screening device and a breathalyzer?  Kyla has several in her office, and here are what they look like.



6:00 – Are breathalyzers reliable?

8:35 – The result of a breathalyzer can be provided in court by means of a certificate rather than the prosecution needing to call a breath technician to attest to the accuracy of the readings and an expert toxicologist if (1) each sample was taken as soon as practicable after the time when the offence was alleged to have been committed and, in the case of the first sample, not later than two hours after that time, with an interval of at least fifteen minutes between the times when the samples were taken, (2) each sample was received from the accused directly into an approved container or into an approved instrument operated by a qualified technician, and (3) an analysis of each sample was made by means of an approved instrument operated by a qualified technician.

14:35 – What did the court rule in R v. Alex? Does a request for a person to do an approved screening device have to be reasonable in order for the presumption to apply?

15:40 – How does a Charter challenge work in practice?

18:50 – When would a breathalyzer request be unreasonable?

20:20 – Are people obliged to speak to police officers at road checks?

23:20 – What are examples where Kyla was able to show that a breathalyzer request was unreasonable?

26:50 – How does British Columbia’s roadside prohibition regime work with respect to breathalyzers?  What challenges can be made to someone to has blown over 0.08 under BC’s roadside prohibition regime?

40:20 – What are Kyla’s thoughts to “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time?”

41:50 – How will the testing of marijuana work in impaired driving cases once cannabis is legalized?

44:20 – In addition to being a lawyer Kyla also has a marketing business. How does she balance being a lawyer and having a marketing business? What tips would she recommend to people wanting to have a law practice and a side business?


Anyone who presents themselves at a Canadian port of entry is making an application to enter Canada.  As such, that person is subject to an examination by an officer.  The purpose of such an examination is to determine whether or not the person can enter Canada as a visitor, student or foreign worker, and also to determine whether the individual is inadmissible to Canada.

Canadian immigration legislation requires that a person who is under examination must answer truthfully all questions put to them and also produce all relevant documents and information that an officer requires.

An officer during an examination can also compel a person to appear at a later date for further questioning.

When an Examination Ends

The examination of a person who seeks to enter Canada ends only when:

  • a determination is made that the person has a right to enter Canada, or is authorized to enter Canada as a temporary resident or permanent resident, the person is authorized to leave the port of entry at which the examination takes place and the person actually leaves the port of entry;
  • if the person is an in-transit passenger, the person departs from Canada;
  • the person is authorized to withdraw their application to enter Canada and an officer verifies their departure from Canada; or
  • an officer determines that someone is inadmissible to Canada and the person leaves the port of entry.

Refugee Claimants

There are special rules for when examination ends for refugee claimants.  In order to understand these rules, it is important to understand the process that a refugee claimant goes through when they file their initial claim.

When an individual makes a refugee claim when they are entering Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency will examine them.  The CBSA will determine whether the person is admissible to Canada and whether the refugee claim can be referred to the Refugee Protection Division.  A similar process occurs for inside-Canada refugee claimants.

A claim will be ineligible to be referred to the Refugee Protection Division for a refugee hearing if any of the following applies:

  • the person has already received protection as a refugee;
  • the Refugee Protection Division has already rejected claim by the person;
  • a prior claim by the person was determined to be ineligible to be referred to the Refugee Protection Division or if a previous claim had been withdrawn or abandoned;
  • the claimant has been recognized as a refugee by a country other than Canada and the claimant can be returned to that country;
  • the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States applies; or
  • or the claimant has been determined to be inadmissible on grounds of security, violating human or international rights, serious criminality or organized criminality.

When a refugee makes a refugee claim to a border officer, a decision on whether the claimant meets specific eligibility criteria must be made within three working days. If a determination of eligibility is not made within three working days of the claim being made to an officer, the claim is deemed referred to the Refugee Protection Division for a refugee protection hearing. However, the officer can suspend and terminate the refugee protection hearing before the Refugee Protection Division where information comes to an officer’s attention that a claim is ineligible to be referred after the claim has been referred but before a decision has been rendered on the claim.

When an Examination Ends for Refugee Claimants

As of March 27, 2018 Canadian immigration legislation provides that an officer’s examination of an individual who is making a refugee claim ends when the later of the following occurs:

  • an officer determines that their claim is ineligible to proceed to the Refugee Protection Division or the Refugee Protection Division accepts or rejects their claim;
  • a decision in respect of the person is made that they are inadmissible to Canada and, in the case of a claim made at a port of entry, the person leaves the port of entry.

Prior to March 27, 2018 Canadian immigration legislation was silent as to when the examination of a refugee claimant ended. As a result of these amendments, it is now clear that an officer can continue to examine a refugee claimant well after they file their claim and leave the port of entry.

During the period of examination, CBSA officers will be able to question refugee claimants and require the claimant to produce all relevant evidence and documents that the officer reasonably requires.  This includes documents that validate a person’s identity; criminal history; or involvement in organized crime, groups that pose a security risk, or government regimes involved in crimes against humanity.