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The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) is a crucial cornerstone of Canadian law, which sets forth the country’s policies towards individuals who wish to immigrate or seek asylum in Canada. The Act, which was passed in 2001, has had numerous impacts on various Canadian laws, ushering in significant transitional provisions and related amendments. In this article, legal experts at LexLords Canada Immigration Lawyers will provide a comprehensive overview of these complex legal issues, offering readers insights drawn from years of experience.
To appreciate the impact of the IRPA, it is essential to understand its primary objectives. The Act aims to:
1. Specify the conditions under which foreign nationals may enter and remain in Canada – this includes both regular migrants such as skilled workers, business investors, and family members, as well as refugees,
2. Determine responsibilities and rights of these foreign nationals inside Canada,
3. Establish procedures for enforcing these rules and regulations.
One significant way the IRPA has impacted Canadian law is through its transitional provisions. These govern the application of the IRPA to immigration or refugee protection proceedings initiated under the former Immigration Act. The transitional provisions ensure that these ongoing cases are not disadvantaged by the new rules and procedures implemented under the IRPA.
A noteworthy example can be seen through the case of “Varela v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration),  3 F.C.R. 223”. In this case, the Federal Court analyzed the application of the IRPA’s transitional provision, Section 190, in situations where a person made a refugee claim before the enforcement of IRPA but received a decision after.
The Court concluded that Section 190 establishes a ‘fork in the road’ and directs decision-makers to apply either the former Immigration Act or IRPA, depending on the stage of the proceeding.
This case exemplifies how courts interpret and apply the IRPA’s transitional provisions, providing clarity to other similar situations and guiding the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) and the federal courts in their decision-making processes.
Another significant impact of the IRPA is its amendments to existing Canadian laws such as the Canada Evidence Act and the Federal Court Act. These amendments were adopted to adapt the existing laws to the new framework established by the IRPA. For instance, Section 86 of IRPA amends Section 38 of the Canada Evidence Act, enabling the Federal Court to review decisions regarding the disclosure of potentially injurious information.
A case based on this provision, “Almrei (Re),  3 F.C.R. 774” involved an individual who was detained on a security certificate under the IRPA. The court’s decision in this case has become a key jurisprudence regarding issues of protection against self-incrimination under Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Moreover, Section 110 of IRPA empowers the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) to affirm, set aside or substitute decisions made by the Refugee Protection Division (RPD). In “Hernandez Febles v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration),  3 S.C.R. 431”, the Supreme Court of Canada held that those who committed serious crimes abroad are ineligible for refugee protection, illustrating the intersections of IRPA with criminal law and international human rights law.
In conclusion, as legal experts from LexLords Canada Immigration Lawyers have explained, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act has profoundly shaped Canadian law. Its transitional provisions and related amendments have had far-reaching effects on various areas of law, including immigration proceedings, evidentiary rules, federal court procedures, and human rights protections. Through careful analysis of case law, it is clear that the impact of IRPA is both nuanced and pervasive, underscoring the importance of understanding its role in shaping Canadian legal landscape.