Honesty is the best policy when Immigrating to Canada

By Chen Shen and Eric Chow

Canada is an attractive country for new immigrants and Vancouver is where many choose their start in Canada. With high demand and limited availability, some immigrants might be tempted or misled by unscrupulous consultants to make themselves look more attractive through falsehood or omissions. It would be a grave mistake to do so and it could jeopardize the applicant’s whole future in Canada.

Canada’s society and immigration system relies on the integrity of the application process to admit the best-suited immigrants, and take misrepresentation extremely seriously. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act allows the government to revoke the visa or Permanent Resident status of anyone found to have made misrepresentations in a material way. This means that anything which would have affected their decision, or could have affected the decision, could lead to a revocation of the status.

The risk does not end at Permanent Residency. The Citizenship Act even allows the revocation of citizenship if it was obtained by false representation, fraud, or omissions of important information. This power is routinely exercised by the Federal government.

If you are accused of committing a misrepresentation, a report will be made to the Immigration and Refugee Board, which will hold a hearing about the accusation. If you are found to have committed a misrepresentation at this hearing, the Board will likely issue a Removal Order against you, which will deport you out of Canada.

However, Canada recognizes Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds to allow some individuals to stay even if it is found that they have committed a material misrepresentation. If you are a Permanent Resident, you may make an appeal on these grounds. The factors that will be considered were set out in Ribic v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), [1985] IABD No 4, which are:

  1. The seriousness of the misrepresentation and the circumstances surrounding it
  2. The remorsefulness of the appellant
  3. The length of time spent in Canada and the degree to which the appellant is established in Canada
  4. The appellant’s family in Canada and the impact on the family that removal would cause
  5. The support available to the appellant in the family and the community
  6. The degree of hardship that would be caused to the appellant by removal from Canada, including the conditions in the likely country of removal; and
  7. The best interests of the children affected

Appellants who now have Canadian family and dependent children, who have become productive members of Canadian society, are often given a second chance to remain in Canada despite their earlier misrepresentation. There may also be other appropriate ways to stay in Canada, such as a refugee application, depending on why you left your original country.

Misrepresentation on an immigration application can have severe consequences for applicant even if it was not initially found out, and even if the applicant did not intentionally lie. If you are accused of committing a misrepresentation, it is important to speak to a lawyer immediately to know your legal jeopardy, your rights, and your options. Don’t miss the opportunity to defend yourself right from the start.

If you have an immigration matter that involves making an immigration application, please contact Joyce Ling.  If you have an immigration matter that may require you to make an appeal to the Immigration and Refugee Board or Federal Court, please contact Chen Shen or Dan Henderson.