Foreign nationals and permanent residents may be deported from Canada if they are found guilty of committing a ‘serious crime’.
What is a serious crime?
A serious crime is one that:
- Carries a potential prison sentence of 10 years or more, or
- Results in a prison sentence of at least six months
So, a foreign national or permanent resident can be deported if he/she is found guilty of a criminal offence and is sentenced to six months or more in prison.
Also, a foreign national or permanent resident can be deported if he/she is found guilty of an offence which could lead to a 10-year prison sentence, as set out under the Criminal Code. This includes offences such as murder, theft of over $5,000 and causing death by impaired driving. It does not matter what sentence the judge actually hands out – if the maximum penalty available is 10 years or more, it can result in deportation.
Who can be deported?
Permanent residents and other foreign nationals in Canada can be deported following a conviction for a serious criminal offence. This includes people who are in Canada as temporary workers, visitors, students and those on implied status.
Refugees can be also deported after committing a serious crime, although special protections do sometimes apply. Under Canadian law, refugees cannot be deported to a country where they are at risk of persecution, torture, or cruel or unusual treatment/punishment.
Canadian citizens cannot be deported, unless they are guilty of lying or omitting information on their citizenship application.
What happens if I’m convicted of a serious offence?
If you are convicted of a serious offence and you are a permanent resident/foreign national, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) will be informed. The CBSA may then arrange an admissibility hearing, although the CBSA is entitled to bypass this step and issue a deportation order. This means you could be deported without the benefit of a hearing.
Certain individuals have the right to appeal, but this is very limited. If you do have grounds for an appeal, you can protest that a deportation order should not be issued due to:
- A legal error, or
- Humanitarian and compassionate reasons
If you are arguing humanitarian or compassionate reasons, the Immigration Appeal Division will consider various factors when making their decision. This includes how long you have resided in Canada, the seriousness of the offence, and the extent of your attachment to your home country.
If the appeal is successful, the deportation order will be set aside. There may be certain conditions attached to this – for example, you may be allowed to stay, on the basis that you do not re-offend.
Vancouver criminal defence lawyers
If you have been accused of a criminal offence, the threat of deportation will be an added concern. If you are convicted, not only could you face a jail sentence and a criminal record, you could also be removed from the country without any say in the matter. This will be devastating if Canada is your home, and given the limited grounds for appeal, you may have no option but to comply.
That is why it is so important to have an expert criminal defence lawyer on your side. At Mickelson & Whysall Law Corporation, we understand the far-reaching consequences a criminal conviction can have – especially for non-Canadian citizens. We work tirelessly on your behalf to ensure you are not convicted of a serious crime, thereby allowing you to remain in the country.