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Criminal Inadmissibility

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Criminal Inadmissibility

You may be denied a visa, or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), refused entry to, or removed from Canada for any of these reasons:

Security reasons, including:

  • Espionage
  • Subversion (attempts to overthrow a government, etc.)
  • Violence or terrorism, or
  • Membership in an organization involved in any of these

Human or international rights violations, including:

  • War crimes
  • Crimes against humanity
  • Being a senior official in a government engaged in gross human rights violations or subject to international sanctions.

A foreign national may be inadmissible to Canada for having a criminal conviction record, regardless of where the offence is committed. However, it is important to note that, except for crimes against humanity, the alleged activity must be a crime both in the place where it is committed and in Canada. For offences outside Canada, a conviction is not necessary. It is sufficient if the essential elements of an offence can be proven. However, only an actual conviction in Canada will make a person inadmissible on criminal grounds.

Not every type of sanctioned criminal activity will render a person inadmissible to Canada. Moreover, depending on the seriousness of the crime, different consequences may follow. The penalty for the offence or the foreign category of the offence is unimportant. If there is a Canadian equivalent, it is the category of the Canadian equivalent which is relevant, what prospective maximum punishment may be faced under prosecution of that offense. In Canada we use the terms Indictable and Summary to characterize the seriousness of offenses.

A person is inadmissible if he or she has been convicted of an offence, in Canada, or elsewhere in the world, of an equivalent Canadian offence – that would be at least a dual procedure (hybrid) offence in Canada. In Canada, a dual procedure offence is one that may be prosecuted by indictment or by summary conviction. Most offences in Canada are in fact dual procedure. According to IRPA, if a foreign offense is equated to a Canadian offense and it is found to be a dual procedure offense, it is deemed to be an Indictable offense, regardless of if there is a Crown election to proceed summarily. A person convicted of an offense that is equated to a straight summary conviction in Canada will not subsequently be inadmissible.

Equating foreign offences to Canadian Acts of Parliament, such as the Canadian Criminal Code, is a determination made by an Immigration Officer. The Officer will first determine whether there is a criminal conviction record that renders the applicant inadmissible. If there is a properly constituted conviction record, the offense which renders the offender inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the subsequent regulations enacted there under will be the focus of the officer.
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