Understanding Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) requires an appreciation of the balance between the rights of individuals seeking entry and the sovereign prerogatives of a nation-state. As legal experts at LexLords Canada Immigration Lawyers, we have an intimate understanding of these complexities, drawing from years of experience in immigration law. This article provides a dissection of some key sections of the IRPA and examines important case laws and judgments that have shaped its interpretation and application.
1) Entry and Status:
Under the IRPA, any foreign national can apply for entry to Canada, whether as a temporary resident, permanent resident or refugee claimant. However, the right to enter Canada is not absolute. It is subject to the individual meeting certain requirements such as demonstrating financial stability, presenting a valid passport, passing health and security checks, and having a bona fide reason for seeking entry (Section 11).
In the landmark case of Singh v Minister of Employment and Immigration (1985), the Supreme Court of Canada underlined that even non-citizens are protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This implies that all individuals seeking entry must be treated fairly during the immigration process.
Once admitted, immigrants have numerous rights, including access to healthcare, education, and freedom to live anywhere in Canada. If they acquire permanent resident status, they have nearly all the same rights as Canadian citizens, except for the right to vote and hold certain high-security government positions.
These rights were affirmed in Andrews v. Law Society of British Columbia (1989), where it was held that legal residence equates almost completely with citizenship in terms of rights and responsibilities granted to an individual.
Canada’s IRPA stipulates certain grounds for inadmissibility, such as criminality, security threats, human rights violations, financial reasons, misrepresentation, and non-compliance with the Act. Once declared inadmissible, a person can be denied entry or removed from Canada (Section 34-42).
In Agraira v Canada (2013), the Supreme Court clarified the discretion of the Minister of Public Safety to evaluate national interest when considering the admissibility of individuals previously deemed inadmissible.
4) Removal and Detention:
The IRPA authorizes the removal of individuals who are deemed inadmissible. However, such decisions can be reviewed by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). Similarly, the Act empowers immigration officers to detain individuals under specific circumstances, including when the individual is deemed a flight risk or a danger to the public.
The case of Charkaoui v Canada (2007) was essential in shaping the principles on detention and deportation. The Supreme Court held that indefinite detention and the lack of an effective review mechanism violated the Charter.
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act provides the legal basis for immigration to Canada. It seeks to strike a delicate balance between national security and individual rights. With landmark court decisions providing necessary interpretation and guidance, IRPA continues to evolve in response to changing realities and societal values.
By understanding these complexities, individuals can navigate their immigration journey more effectively. At LexLords Canada Immigration Lawyers, we remain committed to help individuals understand and navigate through this complex legal landscape.