Fettering Discretion

30th Dec 2016 Comments Off on Fettering Discretion

In Gabriel v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), the officer stated:

Unfortunately, the regulations are silent regarding medical conditions of dependent children and determining their eligibility as dependents. Since there is no mention of [ ] medical condition exceptions Michael is not considered a dependent. While I empathize with Michael and his mother I am not satisfied that an exception should be made in this case. The decision to remove Michael from the application stands.

The Federal Court noted that this amounted to fettering discretion, stating that:

In my view the Decision shows that the Officer believed that, because the Regulations did not mention the possibility of an exception from the requirement for continuous study for students who became ill, she could not give Michael the benefit of such an exception and include him in Rose’s application for permanent residence as a dependent child notwithstanding the Absence.

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A Common Sense Approach to A44 Reports

26th Mar 2013 Comments Off on A Common Sense Approach to A44 Reports

Last updated on February 3rd, 2019

Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the “Act“) provides that an officer who believes that a foreign national or permanent resident in Canada is inadmissible to Canada (for criminality, health, overstay, working without authorization, etc.) may prepare a report alleging the inadmissibility (commonly known as an “A44 Report“).   The Act further provides that once an officer prepares an A44 Report, then the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA“) (the agency generally responsible for this) may commence removal proceedings, or, when necessary, refer the matter to the Immigration and Refugee Board, an independent administrative tribunal.

The use of the term “may” in the Act has caused much confusion.

In Cha v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2006 FCA 126 (“Cha“), the Federal Court of Appeal (the “FCA“) declared that the use of the word “may” did not actually grant CBSA officers broad discretion to exercise or not to exercise the power to write A44 Reports and to commence removal proceedings when it believed that someone was inadmissible to Canada.  The FCA stated (citations removed for ease of reading):

In Ruby v. Canada (Solicitor General) at pages 623 to 626, Létourneau J.A. reminded us that the use of the word “may” is often a signal that a margin of discretion is given to an administrative decision maker. It can sometimes be read in context as “must” or “shall”, thereby rebutting the presumptive rule in section 11 of the Interpretation Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. I‑21 that “may” is permissive. It can also be read as no more than a signal from the legislator that an official is being empowered to do something.

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