March 22, 2017

Now That I Have Declared My Criminal Record What Happens at a Secondary Examination?

Posted by Mario Bellissimo - Bellissimo Law Group PC

In Part I of this blog we answered yes to the question do I have to declare my criminal record when I enter Canada even if I am not asked?  With the advent of electronic travel authorizations this may not be the surprise or under the radar issue it has been to date but is still worth discussing.   The Act and Regulations impose positive obligations on persons seeking to enter Canada depending on their status, criminality and reason for coming to Canada.  The objectives of the Act for conducting primary and secondary immigration examinations are:

  • to facilitate the entry of persons who have the right to enter Canada;
  • to facilitate the entry of foreign nationals into Canada for purposes such as trade and commerce, tourism, international understanding and cultural, educational and scientific activities;
  • to protect the health and safety of Canadians and to maintain the security of Canadian society;
  • to promote international justice and security by denying access to Canadian territory to persons who are criminals or security risks; and
  • to offer safe haven to persons with a well-founded fear of persecution based  on  race,  religion,  nationality,  political opinion or membership in a particular social group, as well as those at risk of torture or cruel and unusual

Secondary Examinations

In-depth examinations, known as Immigration Secondary examinations, are not conducted at the Primary Inspection Line (PIL). Immigration Secondary Examinations focus on issues of identity, citizenship, residency, intentions, funds available, personal history, background and a key consideration for Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers at the POE is to investigate inadmissibility.  Once inadmissibility is determined, a person may be denied entry, allowed to withdraw entry (in some cases), allowed entry upon a temporary entry permit (exceptional) and most frequently pursuant to subsection 44(1) of the Act, if the officer at any time is of the opinion that the person at the border is inadmissible, an inadmissibility report can be written. This will be followed by enforcement action and likely a removal order.

Nevertheless, it is still best to declare inadmissibility because a foreign national as one example, does not want to compromise a potential rehabilitation application in the future with a misrepresentation finding that results in a five year ban in the end.   Not all criminal offences result in a finding of inadmissibility but most do including driving under the influence.  Sometimes an officer will make a finding of inadmissibility based on past conduct that did not result in a criminal conviction but is deemed to constitute committing a criminal act.  It is always best to consult with a Canadian immigration lawyer if you have any concerns about your status and potential admissibility.

So when you have a record the truth will “set you free” even if in this case,depending upon your criminality, it may not mean entry to Canada immediately.

For more information on Criminality and TRPs, please click here and here.