Immigration Division Changes Resulting from New Legislation

On June 28, Bill C-31, the Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act, received Royal Assent. This Act amends both the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Balanced Refugee Reform Act. Most of the changes that affected the Immigration Division (ID) came into force on Royal Assent of Bill C-31.

Impacts of Bill C-31 on the ID

Provisions that apply to all detention reviews

  • In all cases, detention must be continued if the Minister is taking necessary steps to inquire into a reasonable suspicion that the person concerned is inadmissible on grounds of security, violating human or international rights, criminality, serious criminality or organized criminality. These last three categories have been added under Bill C-31.

Provisions that apply to the detention reviews of Designated Foreign Nationals only

  • Detention would be mandatory for designated foreign nationals 16 and older
  • A first detention review for DFNs must be held within 14 days or without delay afterward, and subsequent detention reviews would be held six months later and every six months thereafter until the person concerned is released or until a positive decision is made on their refugee claim.
  • The Minister may, on request of a designated foreign national, order their release from detention if, in the Minister's opinion, exceptional circumstances exist that warrant the release
  • The Minister may, on the Minister's own initiative, order release of a designated foreign national if, in the Minister's opinion, the reasons for the detention no longer exist
  • The provisions allowing the Minister to designate an irregular arrival are retroactive to March 31, 2009.  However, mandatory arrest and detention of designated foreign nationals is not retroactive.