Assented to 2001-11-01
An Act respecting immigration to Canada and the granting of refugee protection to persons who are displaced, persecuted or in danger
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:
Marginal note:Short title
2 (1) The definitions in this subsection apply in this Act.
Board means the Immigration and Refugee Board, which consists of the Refugee Protection Division, Refugee Appeal Division, Immigration Division and Immigration Appeal Division. (Commission)
- Convention Against Torture
Convention Against Torture means the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, signed at New York on December 10, 1984. Article 1 of the Convention Against Torture is set out in the schedule. (Convention contre la torture)
- designated foreign national
designated foreign national has the meaning assigned by subsection 20.1(2). (étranger désigné)
- foreign national
foreign national means a person who is not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, and includes a stateless person. (étranger)
- permanent resident
permanent resident means a person who has acquired permanent resident status and has not subsequently lost that status under section 46. (résident permanent)
- Refugee Convention
Refugee Convention means the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, signed at Geneva on July 28, 1951, and the Protocol to that Convention, signed at New York on January 31, 1967. Sections E and F of Article 1 of the Refugee Convention are set out in the schedule. (Convention sur les réfugiés)
Marginal note:Act includes regulations and instructions
(2) Unless otherwise indicated, references in this Act to “this Act” include regulations made under it and instructions given under subsection 14.1(1).
- 2001, c. 27, s. 2
- 2012, c. 17, s. 2, c. 19, s. 700
Objectives and Application
Marginal note:Objectives — immigration
3 (1) The objectives of this Act with respect to immigration are
(a) to permit Canada to pursue the maximum social, cultural and economic benefits of immigration;
(b) to enrich and strengthen the social and cultural fabric of Canadian society, while respecting the federal, bilingual and multicultural character of Canada;
(b.1) to support and assist the development of minority official languages communities in Canada;
(c) to support the development of a strong and prosperous Canadian economy, in which the benefits of immigration are shared across all regions of Canada;
(d) to see that families are reunited in Canada;
(e) to promote the successful integration of permanent residents into Canada, while recognizing that integration involves mutual obligations for new immigrants and Canadian society;
(f) to support, by means of consistent standards and prompt processing, the attainment of immigration goals established by the Government of Canada in consultation with the provinces;
(f.1) to maintain, through the establishment of fair and efficient procedures, the integrity of the Canadian immigration system;
(g) to facilitate the entry of visitors, students and temporary workers for purposes such as trade, commerce, tourism, international understanding and cultural, educational and scientific activities;
(h) to protect public health and safety and to maintain the security of Canadian society;
(i) to promote international justice and security by fostering respect for human rights and by denying access to Canadian territory to persons who are criminals or security risks; and
(j) to work in cooperation with the provinces to secure better recognition of the foreign credentials of permanent residents and their more rapid integration into society.
Marginal note:Objectives — refugees
(2) The objectives of this Act with respect to refugees are
(a) to recognize that the refugee program is in the first instance about saving lives and offering protection to the displaced and persecuted;
(b) to fulfil Canada’s international legal obligations with respect to refugees and affirm Canada’s commitment to international efforts to provide assistance to those in need of resettlement;
(c) to grant, as a fundamental expression of Canada’s humanitarian ideals, fair consideration to those who come to Canada claiming persecution;
(d) 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 treatment or punishment;
(e) to establish fair and efficient procedures that will maintain the integrity of the Canadian refugee protection system, while upholding Canada’s respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all human beings;
(f) to support the self-sufficiency and the social and economic well-being of refugees by facilitating reunification with their family members in Canada;
(g) to protect the health and safety of Canadians and to maintain the security of Canadian society; and
(h) to promote international justice and security by denying access to Canadian territory to persons, including refugee claimants, who are security risks or serious criminals.
(3) This Act is to be construed and applied in a manner that
(a) furthers the domestic and international interests of Canada;
(b) promotes accountability and transparency by enhancing public awareness of immigration and refugee programs;
(c) facilitates cooperation between the Government of Canada, provincial governments, foreign states, international organizations and non-governmental organizations;
(d) ensures that decisions taken under this Act are consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including its principles of equality and freedom from discrimination and of the equality of English and French as the official languages of Canada;
(e) supports the commitment of the Government of Canada to enhance the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada; and
(f) complies with international human rights instruments to which Canada is signatory.
- 2001, c. 27, s. 3
- 2012, c. 1, s. 205
- 2019, c. 29, s. 301
Marginal note:Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
4 (1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration is responsible for the administration of this Act.
Marginal note:Designated Minister
(1.1) The Governor in Council may, by order, designate a minister of the Crown as the Minister responsible for all matters under this Act relating to special advocates. If none is designated, the Minister of Justice is responsible for those matters.
Marginal note:Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
(2) The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is responsible for the administration of this Act as it relates to
(a) examinations at ports of entry;
(b) the enforcement of this Act, including arrest, detention and removal;
(c) the establishment of policies respecting the enforcement of this Act and inadmissibility on grounds of security, violating human or international rights, sanctions or organized criminality; or
(d) declarations referred to in section 42.1.
Marginal note:Minister of Employment and Social Development
(2.1) In making regulations under paragraphs 32(d.1) to (d.4), the Governor in Council may confer powers and duties on the Minister of Employment and Social Development.
(3) Subject to subsections (1) to (2), the Governor in Council may, by order,
(a) specify which Minister referred to in any of subsections (1) to (2) is the Minister for the purposes of any provision of this Act; and
(b) specify that more than one Minister may be the Minister for the purposes of any provision of this Act and specify the circumstances under which each Minister is the Minister.
(4) Any order made under subsection (3) must be published in Part II of the Canada Gazette.
- 2001, c. 27, s. 4
- 2005, c. 38, s. 118
- 2008, c. 3, s. 1
- 2012, c. 19, s. 701
- 2013, c. 16, s. 2, c. 40, s. 238
- 2014, c. 20, s. 299
- 2023, c. 19, s. 1
5 (1) Except as otherwise provided, the Governor in Council may make any regulation that is referred to in this Act or that prescribes any matter whose prescription is referred to in this Act.
(1.1) Regulations made under this Act that apply in respect of sponsorship applications or applications for permanent or temporary resident visas, permanent or temporary resident status or work or study permits may, if they so provide, apply in respect of any such applications that are pending on the day on which the regulations are made, other than
(a) applications to become a permanent resident made in Canada by protected persons; and
(b) applications for permanent resident visas made by persons referred to in subsection 99(2) and sponsorship applications made in respect of those applications.
Marginal note:Tabling and referral of proposed regulations
(2) The Minister shall cause a copy of each proposed regulation made under sections 17, 32, 53, 61, 87.2, 102, 116, 150 and 150.1 to be laid before each House of Parliament, and each House shall refer the proposed regulation to the appropriate Committee of that House.
Marginal note:Alteration of proposed regulation
(3) A proposed regulation that has been laid before each House of Parliament under subsection (2) does not need to be so laid again, whether or not it has been altered.
Marginal note:Making of regulations
(4) The Governor in Council may make the regulation at any time after the proposed regulation has been laid before each House of Parliament under subsection (2).
- 2001, c. 27, s. 5
- 2004, c. 15, s. 70
- 2008, c. 3, s. 2
- 2012, c. 19, s. 702
Marginal note:Designation of officers
6 (1) The Minister may designate any persons or class of persons as officers to carry out any purpose of any provision of this Act, and shall specify the powers and duties of the officers so designated.
Marginal note:Delegation of powers
(2) Anything that may be done by the Minister under this Act may be done by a person that the Minister authorizes in writing, without proof of the authenticity of the authorization.
(3) Despite subsection (2), the Minister may not delegate the power conferred by subsection 20.1(1), section 22.1 or subsection 42.1(1) or (2) or 77(1).
- 2001, c. 27, s. 6
- 2012, c. 17, s. 3
- 2013, c. 16, ss. 3, 36
Marginal note:International agreements
7 The Minister, with the approval of the Governor in Council, may enter into an agreement with the government of a foreign state or with an international organization for the purposes of this Act.
Marginal note:Federal-provincial agreements
8 (1) The Minister, with the approval of the Governor in Council, may enter into an agreement with the government of any province for the purposes of this Act. The Minister must publish, once a year, a list of the federal-provincial agreements that are in force.
Marginal note:Consistency with agreement
(2) Subject to subsection (3) but despite the other provisions of this Act, the following must be consistent with the federal-provincial agreements:
(a) the selection and sponsorship of, and the acquisition of status by, foreign nationals under this Act; and
(b) regulations governing those matters, including regulations respecting the examination in Canada of applications to become a permanent resident, or respecting the foreign nationals who may be selected on the basis of an investment in Canada.
Marginal note:Inadmissibility not limited
(3) Subsection (2) is not to be interpreted as limiting the application of any provision of this Act concerning inadmissibility to Canada.
Marginal note:Sole provincial responsibility — permanent residents
9 (1) Where a province has, under a federal-provincial agreement, sole responsibility for the selection of a foreign national who intends to reside in that province as a permanent resident, the following provisions apply to that foreign national, unless the agreement provides otherwise:
(a) the foreign national, unless inadmissible under this Act, shall be granted permanent resident status if the foreign national meets the province’s selection criteria;
(b) the foreign national shall not be granted permanent resident status if the foreign national does not meet the province’s selection criteria;
(c) the foreign national shall not be granted permanent resident status contrary to the provisions of the law of the province governing the number of foreign nationals who may settle in the province as permanent residents, whether that number is an estimate or a maximum, or governing the distribution of that number among classes of foreign nationals; and
(d) conditions imposed in accordance with the law of the province have the same force and effect as if they were made under this Act, if they are imposed on a foreign national on or before the grant of permanent resident status.
Marginal note:Sole provincial responsibility — appeals
(2) If a federal-provincial agreement gives a province sole responsibility to establish and apply financial criteria with respect to undertakings that sponsors living in that province may make in respect of a foreign national who applies to become a permanent resident, then, unless the agreement provides otherwise, the existence of a right of appeal under the law of that province respecting rejections by provincial officials of applications for sponsorship, for reasons of failing to meet financial criteria or failing to comply with a prior undertaking, prevents the sponsor, except on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, from appealing under this Act against a refusal, based on those reasons, of a visa or permanent resident status.
Marginal note:Consultations with the provinces
10 (1) The Minister may consult with the governments of the provinces on immigration and refugee protection policies and programs, in order to facilitate cooperation and to take into consideration the effects that the implementation of this Act may have on the provinces.
Marginal note:Required consultations
(2) The Minister must consult with the governments of the provinces respecting the number of foreign nationals in each class who will become permanent residents each year, their distribution in Canada taking into account regional economic and demographic requirements, and the measures to be undertaken to facilitate their integration into Canadian society.
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