On June 1, 2018 Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada implemented a Temporary Public Policy Regarding Excessive Demand on Health and Social Services (the “Public Policy”).
Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act states that a foreign national is inadmissible to Canada on health grounds if their health condition might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health or social services.
Health services are defined as any health services for which the majority of the funds are contributed by governments, including the services of family physicians, medical specialists, nurses, chiropractors and physiotherapists, laboratory services and the supply of pharmaceutical or hospital care.
Social services means any social service, such as home care, specialized residence and residential services, special education services, social and vocational rehabilitation services, personal support services and the provision of devices related to those services (a) that are intended to assist a person in functioning physically, emotionally, socially, psychologically or vocationally and (b) for which the majority of the funding, including funding that provides direct or indirect financial support to an assisted person, is contributed by governments, either directly or through publicly-funded agencies.
Finally, excessive demand means a demand on health services or social services for which the anticipated costs would likely exceed average Canadian per capita health services and social services costs over a period of five consecutive years immediately following an immigration medical examination, unless there is evidence that significant costs are likely to be incurred beyond that period, in which case the period is no more than 10 consecutive years.
The 2018 threshold under Canadian immigration legislation is $6,604.
The Rationale for the Change
The Minister has stated that the following was the rationale for the introduction of the Public Policy.Read more ›
Although it is uncommon for the Canada Border Services Agency to search the electronic devices of people entering Canada, it does happen. In an episode of the Borderlines Podcast, which I co-host with Peter Edelmann and Deanna Okun-Nachoff, we discussed the constitutional legalities of the CBSA searching electronic devices with Marilyn Sanford, a criminal defence attorney.
This post provides a summary of the CBSA’s actual policies on the searching of electronic devices at Canadian ports of entry. The statutory ability of officers to do so derives from s. 139(1) of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which provides that an officer may search any person seeking to come into Canada and may search their luggage and personal effects, including the means of transportation that conveyed the person to Canada, if the officer believes that doing so would be relevant to their admissibility. This can include discovering possible criminal offences, unauthorized work, or a sole intention to reside permanently in Canada without having first obtained permanent resident status.
According to PRG-2015-31, officers are expected to understand and apply the following guidelines:
- Where the the admissibility of a traveller is in question, officers are justified in performing examinations of digital devices and media to discover documentary evidence pertaining to admissiblity, or a false identity.
- CBSA officers shall conduct examinations of digital devices and media with as much respect for traveller’s privacy as possible, considering that these examinations are usually more personal in nature than baggage examinations.
- Prior to examination of digital devices, officers will where possible disable wireless and internet connectivity (including by setting the phone to airplane mode) to limit the ability of the device to connect to remote hosts.
Last updated on March 2nd, 2019
Foreign nationals who are found to be inadmissible to Canada on the basis of security (including espionage, subversion, engaging in terrorism, or being a member of a group that engages in terrorism), certain human and international rights violations, or organised crime can still visit or immigrate to Canada despite being inadmissible for such serious reasons if they satisfy the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (the “Minister“) that their entry to Canada is not contrary to Canada’s national interest. Such applications are referred to as “Ministerial Relief applications.”
In assessing a Ministerial Relief application, Canadian immigration law somewhat confusingly provides that the Minister “may only take into account national security and public safety considerations, but, in his or her analysis, is not limited to considering the danger that the foreign national presents to the public or the security of Canada.”
Ministerial Relief applications, previously done under ss. 34(2), 35(2), and 37(2)(a) of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and now s. 42.1, have long been problematic. As the Government of Canada noted when it introduced a standardised process on March 10, 2017:
A number of issues have contributed to inefficiencies in terms of processing requests for Ministerial relief. These include the lack of a formalized application process, the inability to close applications as appropriate in the absence of a declaration by the Minister, and voluminous applicant submissions of varying degrees of relevance to the ministerial decision-making process. Currently, there is no standardized application form and applicants may seek Ministerial relief at any time. For instance, applicants may simply indicate that they wish to be considered for Ministerial relief, providing little or no supporting explanation or documentation. This means that resources are allocated to processing applications from individuals who may not be found inadmissible and thereby not require Ministerial relief (e.g.Read more ›
Last updated on August 21st, 2021
Section 44 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act states:
Preparation of report
44 (1) An officer who is of the opinion that a permanent resident or a foreign national who is in Canada is inadmissible may prepare a report setting out the relevant facts, which report shall be transmitted to the Minister.
Referral or removal order
(2) If the Minister is of the opinion that the report is well-founded, the Minister may refer the report to the Immigration Division for an admissibility hearing, except in the case of a permanent resident who is inadmissible solely on the grounds that they have failed to comply with the residency obligation under section 28 and except, in the circumstances prescribed by the regulations, in the case of a foreign national. In those cases, the Minister may make a removal order.
(3) An officer or the Immigration Division may impose any conditions, including the payment of a deposit or the posting of a guarantee for compliance with the conditions, that the officer or the Division considers necessary on a permanent resident or a foreign national who is the subject of a report, an admissibility hearing or, being in Canada, a removal order.
Conditions — inadmissibility on grounds of security
(4) If a report on inadmissibility on grounds of security is referred to the Immigration Division and the permanent resident or the foreign national who is the subject of the report is not detained, an officer shall also impose the prescribed conditions on the person.
Duration of conditions
(5) The prescribed conditions imposed under subsection (4) cease to apply only when
(a) the person is detained;Read more ›
Last updated on January 21st, 2020
Section 35 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the “IRPA“) provides that:
Human or international rights violations
35 (1) A permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible on grounds of violating human or international rights for
(a) committing an act outside Canada that constitutes an offence referred to in sections 4 to 7 of the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act;
(b) being a prescribed senior official in the service of a government that, in the opinion of the Minister, engages or has engaged in terrorism, systematic or gross human rights violations, or genocide, a war crime or a crime against humanity within the meaning of subsections 6(3) to (5) of the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act; or
(c) being a person, other than a permanent resident, whose entry into or stay in Canada is restricted pursuant to a decision, resolution or measure of an international organization of states or association of states, of which Canada is a member, that imposes sanctions on a country against which Canada has imposed or has agreed to impose sanctions in concert with that organization or association.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC“) has produced a useful internal document summarizing the jurisprudence (up to about 2010) on the interpretation of this section, and I have reproduced it below. More recent jurisprudence can be found throughout my blog, but the IRCC document is a very useful summary.
Please note that what I have reproduced below should not be viewed as legal advice. I obtained a copy of this internal Citizenship and Immigration Canada training guide through an Access to Information Act request (the “ATI”).Read more ›
Last updated on July 22nd, 2020
Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter“) provides that:
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.
There have been several Supreme Court of Canada (the “Supreme Court“) and Federal Court of Appeal decisions involving s. 7 of the Charter and Canadian immigration law.Read more ›
This is a companion post to my post on excessive demand here. It is more geared to lawyers and other readers of jurisprudence.Read more ›
Last updated on September 13th, 2018
On December 3, 2015, Don Davies, the member of Parliament for Vancouver Kingsway, introduced Bill C-214, An Act to Amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Appeals) (Bill C-214). If passed, Bill C-214 would provide a right of appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) for prospective immigrants whose applications for permanent residency are refused because Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) determines that they will likely represent an excessive demand on Canada’s health and social services systems.
Because Bill C-214 is a private member’s bill, it is unlikely to become law. Indeed, Davies has introduced similar bills in previous Parliamentary sessions, to no effect. However, what he is proposing is certainly worthy of discussion and debate. I hope that if he reads this post that he will consider my comments, if he ever reintroduces or amends his proposed legislation. As well, at the end of this article I will discuss another immigration issue that Davies has proposed that I hope he reintroduces soon.
Inadmissibility for Excessive Demand
Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act provides that foreign nationals are inadmissible to Canada on health grounds if their health conditions might reasonably be expected to cause an excessive demand on Canada’s health or social services.
Health services are any medical services for which the majority of funds are contributed by governments, including the services of family physicians, medical specialists, chiropractors and hospital care.
Social services include home care, residential services, social and vocational rehabilitation services that are intended to assist a person function physically, emotionally, socially, psychologically, or vocationally, and for which the majority of funding is contributed by governments. It includes special needs education for children.Read more ›
Last updated on March 9th, 2021
It is not uncommon for applicants to have a differing account of what transpired during a visa interview or a port of entry matter from what an immigration officer says occurred. As such, it is very important that applicants take detailed notes of every interaction that they have with government officials.
The Federal Court recently dealt with the issue of inconsistencies in Gedara v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2016 FC 209. The Federal Court stated (emphasis added, and citations removed for ease of reading):
The affidavits filed by the Applicant and by the Interviewing Officer present opposing accounts of the tone of the interview and whether concerns were specifically communicated. I find the Applicant’s affidavit more persuasive and assign it more weight for the following reasons.
I agree with the reasoning in Rukmangathan, above, at paras 30, 31, citing Parveen v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), that “…[v]isa officers deal with many applications, one can expect that they will not have as precise a memory of the event as does the applicant” The interview took place on March 11, 2015, yet the Officer’s affidavit was sworn in December 4, 2015 – approximately nine months later. The extended passage of time and the number of interviews this Officer would have conducted in the interim calls into question the reliability of her attested statements made months later.
As well, the Officer’s affidavit essentially reiterates the GCMS notes, adding very little to their substance.
The takeway from this decision is clear, and it is the importance of taking notes at the same time (or as shortly thereafter) as the interaction with the government official.
The Federal Court issued a similar statement in Rukmangathan v.Read more ›
On August 1, 2015, the Government of Canada launched the Electronic Travel Authorization (“eTA”) program. The program is similar to the United States of America’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization. Implementation of the eTA program will allow Canada to pre-screen eTA-required travellers to ensure that they are admissible to Canada.
As of March 15, 2016, most foreign nationals who are exempt from the requirement to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (“TRV“) to enter Canada will be required to obtain an eTA before they travel to Canada by air. A list of countries and territories whose citizens will need an eTA to travel to Canada can be found here. As such, it will no longer be the case that residents of these countries can simply purchase tickets and board planes to travel to Canada. Rather, an individual will be unable to board a commercial airline to Canada unless the airline first confirms that the individual possesses an eTA through the Canada Border Services Agency’s new Interactive Advance Passenger Information system.
Americans are exempted from the requirement to obtain an eTA.
The eTA is an online application on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) website. Applicants will need to provide their passport details, personal details, contact information, and answer background questions regarding their health, criminal history, and travel history. CIC anticipates that it will automatically process most eTA applications within minutes. When an eTA application cannot be automatically approved, it will be referred to a CIC officer for a manual review. Officers can request additional documents, and, where required, further the application to a Canadian visa office abroad for further processing, including a possible interview.
The eTA will be valid for five years or until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever occurs sooner.Read more ›
Please note that none of the information on this website should be construed as being legal advice. As well, you should not rely on any of the information contained in this website when determining whether and how to apply to a given program. Canadian immigration law is constantly changing, and the information above may be dated. If you have a question about the contents of this blog, or any question about Canadian immigration law, please contact the Author.
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