Borderlines Episode 17 – Issues with PreClearance at Customs Offices, with Michael Greene

26th Sep 2017 Comments Off on Borderlines Episode 17 – Issues with PreClearance at Customs Offices, with Michael Greene

Last updated on October 24th, 2020

Last Updated on October 24, 2020 by Steven Meurrens

The Liberal Government of Canada has introduced legislation that will expand the use of preclearance facilities by United States border officials in Canada, and authorize Canada to set up such facilities in the United States.

Michael Greene, Q.C. is an immigration lawyer in Calgary. He served as the National Chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship & Immigration Section in 2000-2001.

Michael joins to provide an overview of Bill C-23, the Preclearance Act, and resulting issues including the presence of armed US border officials in Canada, detention, the application of the Charter and the potential denial of entry to Canadian permanent residents.

The United States currently operates border preclearance facilities at a number of airports and ports in Canada. These are staffed and operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. Travelers pass through U.S. Immigration and Customs, Public Health, and Agriculture inspections before boarding their aircraft, ship, or train.

Bill C-23 will:

  • provide United States preclearance officers with enhanced powers, including the ability to carry firearms;
  • establish that the exercise of any power and performance of any duty or function by a United States preclearance officer is subject to Canadian law, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Bill of Rights and the Canadian Human Rights Act;
  • authorizes Canadian police officers and the officers of the Canada Border Services Agency to assist United States preclearance officers in the exercise of their powers and performance of their duties and functions;
  • allows a traveller bound for the United States to withdraw from the preclearance process, unless the traveller is detained;

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The Canada-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement

21st Sep 2017 Comments Off on The Canada-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement

Last updated on February 6th, 2019

Last Updated on February 6, 2019 by Steven Meurrens

On September 21, 2017 the immigration provisions of the Canada-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (“CETA”) came into effect.

Chapter 10 of CETA facilitates the temporary entry of business persons.  The European Union’s commitments are the most ambitious that the European Union has ever negotiated in a free trade agreement.  For Canada, CETA’s temporary entry provisions contain similar ideas to those contained in the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA“), although there are very significant differences.

CETA is significant from a Canadian immigration perspective because prospective foreign workers who are eligible for work permits under CETA do not require Labour Market Impact Assessments (“LMIAs“).  This means that companies do not have to first test the Canadian labour market before hiring a foreign worker, nor do they have to commit to labour market benefits.

Any Canadian businesses seeking to hire United States or Mexican nationals will typically begin by determining whether their prospective employees are eligible for work permits under NAFTA.  When CETA takes affect, the same will be true for Canadian employers hiring citizens from the European Union.

If you are a Canadian business seeking to employ a European Union national, or you are a European national seeking to work in Canada, the following are things that you should know about CETA.

1. CETA Contractual Service Providers will not need a LMIA to work in Canada for a 12-month period every 24 months.  

Contractual service providers are people employed by a European Union enterprise that does not have an establishment in Canada and that has signed a contract to supply a service to a consumer in Canada that requires the presence on a temporary basis of the European company’s employee in Canada.  

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Upfront Medicals in the Family Class

20th Sep 2017 Comments Off on Upfront Medicals in the Family Class

Last Updated on September 20, 2017 by Steven Meurrens

On September 20, 2017 Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada affirmed that upfront medical examinations are no longer available for Family Class applicants.

The inability of Family Class applicants to do upfront medical examinations was one of the changes introduced when the Liberal Government of Canada announced that it had reformed the Family Class application processing system to reduce backlogs.  At the time it was unclear why removing the ability of applicants to complete their medical examinations before applying for permanent residence would speed things up, and it is still not clear if (or why) this is the case.

It is also problematic for those who want to work in Canada during the processing of their application in certain occupations.

The issue involves Inside-Canada Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class (“SCPCC“) applicants who work in health or education professions and who are eligible for SCPCC work permits.  Because of IRCC’s announcement, applicants have had difficulty obtaining work permits that do not have medical restrictions. Indeed, in at least one case a Panel Physician refused to do a medical exam for a nurse who needed the medical restriction on her work permit removed, on the basis of IRCC’s instructions.

I hope that if anyone at IRCC is reading they reconsider their decision to not let Family Class applicants do upfront medicals, or at least clarifies that applicants who are applying under the SCPCC are exempt from the upfront medical restriction.

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