Human Smuggling – A Very Broad Offence [Updated – December 3, 2015]

10th Jul 2014 Comments Off on Human Smuggling – A Very Broad Offence [Updated – December 3, 2015]

A Canadian citizen helps an undocumented refugee claimant come to Canada without the proper documentation to seek asylum by paying for part of his transportation.

A Canadian marries a foreign national, and helps bring her to Canada without going through the proper process. The couple are now staying with the Canadian’s mother, who is providing temporary accommodation while the couple looks for a place to rent.

When asked to describe a human smuggler, most people are unlikely to think of the above two scenarios. Rather, they will generally describe organized criminal elements who are paid to transport people across borders. However, in Canada it was unclear until November 2015 if the offence of “human smuggling” encompassed the above two scenarios, when the Supreme Court of Canada issued its decision in R v. Appulonappa, 2015 SCC 59.

Background to Appulonappa

Appulonappa arose from the October 17 2009 arrival to Vancouver Island of the MV Ocean Lady, which carried 76 undocumented Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers to Canada. The Crown charged four individuals with human smuggling pursuant to s. 117 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c 27 (“IRPA”), which states:

No person shall knowingly organize, induce, aid or abet the coming into Canada of one or more persons who are not in possession of a visa, passport or other document required by this Act.

No proceedings for an offence under this section may be instituted except by or with the consent of the Attorney General of Canada.

IRPA s. 117 is very broad, and consists of the following four elements:

  1. The person being smuggled did not have the required documents to enter Canada;

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Due Process When Everything is a Crime: Court Strikes Down Human Smuggling Law

21st Jan 2013 Comments Off on Due Process When Everything is a Crime: Court Strikes Down Human Smuggling Law

The British Columbia Supreme Court (“BCSC“) in R v. Appulonappa has struck down s. 117 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA“).  Section 117 theoretically prohibited human smuggling.  Its exact wording was:

117. (1) No person shall knowingly organize, induce, aid or abet the coming into Canada of one or more persons who are not in possession of a visa, passport or other document required by this Act.

(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) with respect to fewer than 10 persons is guilty of an offence and liable

(a) on conviction on indictment

(i) for a first offence, to a fine of not more than $500,000 or to a term of imprisonment of not more than 10 years, or to both, or

(ii) for a subsequent offence, to a fine of not more than $1,000,000 or to a term of imprisonment of not more than 14 years, or to both; and

(b) on summary conviction, to a fine of not more than $100,000 or to a term of imprisonment of not more than two years, or to both.

(3) A person who contravenes subsection (1) with respect to a group of 10 persons or more is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction by way of indictment to a fine of not more than $1,000,000 or to life imprisonment, or to both.

(4) No proceedings for an offence under this section may be instituted except by or with the consent of the Attorney General of Canada.

As the BCSC noted, it is legitimate, necessary, and laudable for the Canadian government to attack and criminalize what is commonly referred to as human smuggling.

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Canada Launches Blue Blindfold Campaign

8th Sep 2010 Comments Off on Canada Launches Blue Blindfold Campaign

According to the Toronto Star, the federal government has taken a page from Ireland, the UK, and the United States, and launched its own version of the Blue Blindfold Campaign. This awareness campaign will urge Canadians to “stop turning a blind eye to potential victims of human trafficking”, and to anonymously report what they see.

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