Last Updated on February 12, 2011 by Steven Meurrens

People in possession of permanent resident visas who have not yet become permanent residents must inform Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) if they have either become married, entered into a common-law relationship, gotten divorced, or ended a common-law relationship.  They must also advise CIC if a material fact relevant to the issuance of the visa has changed since the visa was issued. 

Although I always tell the above to clients, I often get the sense that it is treated like a throwaway statement.  The recent Federal Court decision of Mai v. Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2011 FC 101, however, is a reminder of just how important updating CIC is.  

Mr. Mai (“M”) was born in Vietnam in 1982.  He father, a Canadian, sponsored him to immigrate to Canada in 2003.  At the time, M was single.  He obtained his visa and arrived in Canada in 2005. 

In the summer of 2004, however, he married his pregnant girlfriend.  Their child was born that fall.  M did not report either his marriage or the birth of his child to CIC during the processing of his application, nor upon the receipt of his permanent resident visa, nor upon his arrival to Canada. 

In 2006, M applied to sponsor his wife and child.  In his application to sponsor them, he declared that he and his wife were married in 2004, and that their son was born that same year. 

Not only did M’s sponsorship application fail, but the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) also initiated proceedings to have M removed from Canada for misrepresentation.

As I have noted in this blog several times, misrepresentation can apply to render permanent residents as well as foreign nationals inadmissible to Canada. 

Unfortunately for M, both the Immigration Appeal Division and the Federal Court accepted CBSA’s actions.

The message is clear: It behooves applicants to update CIC during the application process.