Exploring the Key Provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act: From Application Processing to Refugee Protection Principles
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) is a piece of Canadian federal legislation that was enacted in 2002, replacing the previous Immigration Act of 1976. The legislation has undergone numerous revisions and amendments over the years to adapt to a changing global context and evolving immigration needs.
Here at LexLords Canada Immigration Lawyers, our legal team has accrued vast experience with these regulations, and we’re here to dissect some of the key provisions of the IRPA. Our goal is to deepen your understanding of this important piece of legislation.
Key Provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
There are several key provisions of the IRPA that we will discuss in detail:
- Application processing
- Refugee protection principles
- Detention provisions
- Removal orders
- Grounds for inadmissibility
1. Application Processing
- The Act stipulates that applications must be processed in a timely and fair manner (section 12), and this principle was upheld in Chen v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2006 FC 1293.
- The minister has wide discretion to prioritize or backdate applications based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds (section 25). This was clarified in Baker v. Canada,  2 SCR 817.
- Application fees are regulated and are subject to change (section 89).
2. Refugee Protection Principles
Canada has a longstanding commitment to protecting refugees, and the IRPA outlines important principles in this regard.
- Refugee protection is extended to people with a well-founded fear of persecution in their home countries (section 96)
- Person who are at risk of torture, death or cruel and unusual treatment or punishment if they returned to their home countries are also protected as per section 97, as affirmed in Suresh v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration),  1 S.C.R. 3.
- Non-refoulement is a fundamental principle of the Act, meaning that individuals cannot be returned to places where they would be at risk. This principle was upheld in Hinzman v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2007 FC 14.
3. Detention Provisions
The IRPA includes provisions for the detention of non-citizens under certain conditions.
- A person can be detained if they are considered a danger to the public or if they are unlikely to appear for an immigration proceeding (section 55).
- Detention of minors is a last resort measure (section 60).
- The legality of detention is subject to regular review, as confirmed in Al-Sweihat v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration),  FCT 971.
4. Removal Orders
The Act also provides for the removal of individuals who are inadmissible to Canada.
- Removal orders can be issued for varying reasons, including misrepresentation, criminality, and human rights violations (section 45).
- The principle of non-refoulement applies here too (section 115). As stated in the Supreme Court decision in Charkaoui v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2007 SCC 9, individuals cannot be removed to a place where they would be at risk.
5. Grounds for Inadmissibility
The last provision worth noting relates to grounds for inadmissibility, or reasons why someone might be denied entry or residency in Canada.
- Inadmissibility can be due to security concerns, human rights violations, criminality, health reasons, financial reasons, misrepresentation, and non-compliance with regulations (sections 34-42).
- The expansive interpretation of misrepresentation was affirmed by the Federal Court in Singh v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2012 FC 305.