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April 15, 2011

Proposed Amendments Regarding Family Violence

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) prevent a person from sponsoring members of the family class where the applicant has been convicted of an offense resulting in “bodily harm” against specific family members of an offence of a sexual nature against anyone.

This regulation is in place to protect foreign nationals from family violence. The sponsorship bar remains in effect until the individual is acquitted, pardoned or where five years elapse since the completion of the sentence.

The Federal Court decision Canada v. Brar 2008 FC 1285 brought a weakness in this regulation to light. A man convicted of killing his sister-in-law was allowed to sponsor his own wife since the sister-in-law did not meet the definition of a relative or family member in the Regulations. An amendment is being sought to expand the listed family relationships in the Regulations as well as to bar such individuals from family class sponsorship altogether.


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