Bill C-43 Comes into Force

In June 2012 I wrote about how the Conservative government had introduced Bill C-43, the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act (“Bill C-43“).  Amongst other things, Bill C-43 increases the penalties for misrepresentation, removes appeal rights for permanent residents who are sentenced to a length of imprisonment of six months or more, gives the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada the power to let otherwise inadmissible people to Canada into the country based on his discretion, and prohibits visa officers from considering humanitarian & compassionate factors in certain scenarios.

On June 19, 2013, Bill C-43 received Royal Assent.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) has now begun rolling out Operational Bulletins to instruct visa officers of its implications.

Operational Bulletin 532 – Coming into Force of Bill C-43 – Inadmissibility on Security Grounds (“OB-532”)

Subsection 34(1)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA“) previously provided that a permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible to Canada on security grounds for:

engaging in an act of espionage or an act of subversion against a democratic government, institution or process as they are understood in Canada

IRPA 34(1)(a) has been reworded to provide that a permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible to Canada on security grounds for:

engaging in an act of espionage that is against Canada or that is contrary to Canada’s interests

As well, a new IRPA 34(1)(b.1) will make a permanent resident or a foreign national inadmissible to Canada on security grounds for:

engaging in an act of subversion against a democratic government, institution or process as they are understood in Canada

The question that arises from this change is what constitutes espionage that is “contrary to Canada’s interest” that is not espionage against Canada or a democratic institution or process.  Espionage against a Province?  Industrial espionage?

Operational Bulletin 531 – Coming into Force of Bill C-43 – Obligations for Certain Persons Making an Application under IRPA (“OB-531”)

Individuals making visa and permit applications have always had the obligation to answer any questions truthfully.

Bill C-43 now also provides that a person who makes an application must, on the request of an officer, appear for an examination.

It also provides that a foreign national who makes an application must, on request of an officer, appear for an interview for the purpose of an investigation conducted by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and to answer all questions truthfully.

Operational Bulletin 525 – Coming into Force of Bill C-43 – Changes in Appeal Rights to the Immigration Appeal Division (“IAD”) as a Result of Bill C-43 (“OB-525”)

This is the big one.

Permanent residents and foreign nationals with convictions punished in Canada by a term of imprisonment of six months or longer no longer have a right of appeal to the IAD. Previously, the term of imprisonment was two years or longer.

A new bar has also been introduced where those with a conviction outside of Canada or those who committed an act outside Canada which if committed in Canada would carry a maximum sentence of at least 10 years are also ineligible to submit an appeal to the IAD.

OB-525 elaborates on the transitional provisions.

Operational Bulletin 527 – Coming into Force of Bill C-43 – Changes to Humanitarian & Compassionate Requests (“OB-527”)

Individuals who are inadmissible to Canada pursuant to IRPA ss. 34, 36, or 37 can no longer overcome their inadmissibilities based on humanitarian & compassionate factors.

Medical Examinations for Live-in Caregivers

On August 20th, Citizenship and Immigration Canada released Operational Bulletin 232 – Live-in Caregiver Program: Revised in Canada Medical Examination Procedures.

The revised instructions apply only to the live-in caregiver. Medical examinations for family members remain unchanged. It also does not affect the initial overseas examination to qualify for a work permit as a live-in caregiver.
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Canadian Visa Requirements for Lithuania and Poland

On July 19, 2010, Citizenship and Immigration Canada released Operational Bulletin 221 – Passport Requirements for Citizens of Lithuania and Poland. The bulletin addresses the acceptability of non e-passports issued by the Governments of Lithuania and Poland.

On January 1, 2009, Canada introduced a regulatory amendment for nationals of Lithuania and Poland as a requirement to benefit from a visa exemption for individuals traveling to Canada on an e-passport.  People traveling on an e-passport would not require a visa, while those who did not would.

Electronic Passport

Canada also indicated that effective January 1, 2011, it would restrict all travel to Canada so that only Lithuanians and Poles who possessed e-passports would be admissible.

Operational Bulletin 221 seems to cancel the January 1, 2011, proposed restriction. Nationals that hold e-passports will continue to enjoy visa-free access to Canada, however, those that don’t hold electronic passports will be able to apply for a temporary resident visa.

Do Cruise Ship Employees Need Work Permits?


Attributed to mjb84 on Flickr.


On June 23, 2010, Citizenship and Immigration Canada released Operational Bulletin 214 (the “Bulletin“).  The Bulletin creates guidelines for immigration officers regarding foreign nationals entering Canada as members of a crew on a vessel, specifically cruise ships.

Regulation 186(s) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the “Regulations“) states that a member of a crew is permitted to work in Canada without a work permit under certain conditions. The Regulations state:

R186(s). A foreign national may work in Canada without a work permit as a member of a crew who is employed by a foreign company aboard a means of transportation that

(i) is foreign-owned and not registered in Canada, and

(ii) is engaged primarily in international transportation

There was previously uncertainty regarding what was meant by “engaged primarily in international transportation”.  The new guidelines are meant to settle this issue.

If a ship meets the definition of “coasting trade” as defined in Canada’s Coasting Trade Act then its employees will need a work permit.

“the carriage of goods or passengers by ship… from one place in Canada… to any other place in Canada.. either directly or by way of a place outside Canada”

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Post-Graduation Work Permit Program Rules

The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (“PGWPP“) allows students who have graduated from most Canadian public post-secondary institutions to stay and work in Canada upon graduation.  As someone who remembers the frustration of international students who had to leave Canada upon graduating even though they would have jumped at the opportunity to stay, work, and pay taxes in Canada, it is certainly a welcome program.

The PGWPP permits are open work permits. There is no requirement for a job offer prior to applying.  There is no restriction on the type of work that can be performed.

If an international student in Canada completes a post-secondary program of study that is two or more years, the student can apply for a three-year work permit. If the program of study is between eight months and two years, then the student will be eligible for a work permit lasting for a period equal to the duration of the student’s  studies.

The application for the PGWPP must be submitted within 90 days of formal written notification that you have met the requirements for graduation.

Combining Programs

One question that frequently arises is what would happen if a student obtains a second one-year diploma after having already completed a one-year diploma prior to that?  Would the student be eligible for a one year PGWPP or a two-year?

Pursuant to a recent Citizenship and Immigration Canada operational bulletin, it appears that the length of the two one-year degrees may be combined to obtain a three-year work permit.  The bulletin uses the example of a student who obtains a one-year diploma program in Canada, and then completes a one-year MBA.  Prior to this operational bulletin, many assume that the student would only have been eligible for a one-year work permit.  The recent bulletin, however, clarifies that a three-year work permit would be issued.

Implication of Doing a Victory Lap

A second clarification in the operational bulletin is that a student in the last session of a program of study needs to only take two additional classes in order to be eligible for the program.

For those that are doing what is known as a “victory lap”, or who have to take one or two courses to get their degree, this is also a welcome change.

Post-Graduate Work Permits in British Columbia

Lately, I have received numerous enquiries regarding which private post-secondary institutions are eligible to have their students receive Post-Graduate Work Permits (“PGWP“) in British Columbia.  Coincidentally, on June 5, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“), issued Operational Bulletin 262 (“OB 262“), which addresses the issue.

First, it is important to note the distinction between students enrolled in a degree program at a private post-secondary institution, and students enrolled in a diploma or certificate program.  All students in Canadian private institutions which are authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees are eligible to participate in the general PGWP.

As well, there is a Pilot Project in British Columbia which provides that diploma and certificate students at certain British Columbia private post-secondary institutions are eligible to receive Post-Graduate Work Permits.  The Pilot Project expires on January 31, 2013, and international students accepted into programs of study at participating institutions after August 31, 2012 are not eligible to participate in the pilot.

Students who have completed a program of study that is at least eight months or more and received a diploma or certificate in a career training program from the following institutions are eligible to apply under the Pilot Project:

  • Sprott-Shaw Degree College
  • Arbutus College of Communication Arts;
  • Business and Technology
  • Ashton College
  • Canadian Tourism College
  • Centre for Arts and Technology
  • Eton College
  • Greystone College
  • John Casablancas Institute of Applied Arts
  • MTI Community College
  • Omni College
  • Pacific Audio Visual Institute
  • Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts
  • Pacific Rim Early Childhood Institute
  • Sprott-Shaw Community College
  • Stenberg College
  • Universal Learning Institute
  • Vancouver Central College
  • Vancouver Film School
  • Vancouver Institute of Media Arts

Additional requirements, and discussions of specific scenarios (such as transfer students), can be found here.

LMO Exemption Announced for Foreign Medical Residents and Research Fellows

CIC has waived the requirement for a Labour Market Opinion for foreign medical residents and medical research fellows completing their training or research in Canada. The decision is effective September 1, 2010.
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