On November 6, 2017 Ralph Goodale, Canada’s Public Safety Minister, issued a Ministerial Direction to the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) titled Minors in Canada’s Immigration Detention System (the “Ministerial Direction”), as part of its National Immigration Detention Framework (the “NIDF”).  The Ministerial Direction notes that: Canada’s immigration detention program is based on the principle that detention shall be used only as a last resort, in limited circumstances and only after appropriate alternatives to detention (“ATDs”) are considered and determined to be unsuitable or unavailable; The well-being of children, family unity and […]

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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 […]

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In 2013 the Federal Court released its decision in Martin-Ivie v. Canada (Attorney General), 2013 FC 772 (“Martin-Ivie“), a case which involved a Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA“) officer who sued CBSA over what she regarded as safety issues.  The case revealed much about the operations of the CBSA at land ports of entry.  I have combined information from Martin-Ivie with what is found in the People Processing Manual and the Customs Enforcement Manual to help provide further understanding of what CBSA officers are looking at on their computers at primary inspection (“Primary“). The […]

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The Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA“) in 2011 produced the Integrated Intelligence / Enforcement Priorities Report (the “Report“).  The Report is interesting because it presents succinct descriptions of what CBSA considers to be areas of importance in the enforcement context related to immigration, and why it considers these issues important. Practitioners may find these summaries useful in explaining to clients why we ask some of the questions that we do. I have reproduced sections of the report below: Residence Fraud What Is It Canada’s immigration and citizenship legislation both contain residency obligations […]

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Hussain v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2013 FC 636 This was a FSWP case involving an officer who refused an applicant’s application because the officer determined that the applicant’s work experience was equivalent to “computer and information systems administrator” rather than “computer and information systems manager”.  In overturning the decision, the Court determined that the question is not which National Occupational Classification most resembles an applicant’s experience, but rather the applicant can demonstrate that he/she has one year of skilled work experience in a specific NOC. The following three paragraphs are […]

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When the Canada Border Services Agency began dramatically increasing enforcement operations, many wondered where the Department was going to detain individuals. The provinces, especially Ontario, has indicated for many years that they do not want to be in the “detention business.”  The internal document below shows that at one point the Department went so far as to approach the Department of National Defence to host some immigration detainees, particularly in the case of mass arrivals and security certificate cases.  Ultimately, as the document below also indicates, the Department of National Defence […]

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Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA“) officers at land border crossings are faced with an impossible task.  They have to interdict individuals who may be a public or health risk, process hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals and permanent residents who have assorted applications and immigration requirements which must be assessed, and collect taxes.  CBSA Officers have to do all of this while somehow maintaining a balance between ensuring compliance with the law and ensuring that wait times at the border are not unnecessarily long.  The failure to do either perfectly without […]

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When a person has goods (as distinguished from monetary instruments and conveyances  seized at customs, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA“) has established three “levels” or “degrees” of breach for the purpose of determining the penalty.  These levels are described in Part 5 Chapter 2 of the Customs Enforcement Manual. Level 1 Level 1 applies to violations of lesser culpability.  It will be applied where a person’s efforts to hide something from CBSA were initial and effectual.  It is generally applied to offences of omission rather than commission. In the context of Non-Report and […]

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On March 15, 2013, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA“) conducted a raid on a construction site in Vancouver.  Much of the media attention has focused on the fact that a reality television crew apparently followed the CBSA officers onto the premise.  Many have also commented on how surprised they were that the CBSA apparently arrested many foreign nationals without warrants, and wondered whether this was legal.  It is. Section 55(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the “Act“) states that: An officer may, without a warrant, arrest and detain a foreign […]

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Many individuals know that people who are exempt from the requirement to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa can apply for a Work Permit at a Canadian Port of Entry.  What many do not realize is that this extends to people from any country who are returning to Canada after a trip to the United States.  Specifically, r. 190 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations states that: (3) A foreign national is exempt from the requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa if they are seeking to enter and remain in Canada solely (f) to re-enter […]

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