The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) provides integrated border services that support national security priorities and facilitate the free flow of people and goods, including food, plants and animals, across the border. Specific responsibilities include the following:
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) (French: Agence des services frontaliers du Canada - ASFC) is a federal law enforcement agency that is responsible for border enforcement, immigration enforcement and customs services. The Agency was created on December 12, 2003, by an order-in-council amalgamating Canada Customs (from the now-defunct Canada Customs and Revenue Agency) with border and enforcement personnel from the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
The Agency's creation was formalized by the Canada Border Services Agency Act, which received Royal Assent on November 3, 2005.
Since the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States, Canada's border operations have placed a dramatic new emphasis on national security and public safety. The Canada-United States Smart Border Declaration, created by John Manley and Tom Ridge, has provided objectives for co-operation between Canadian and American border operations.
The CBSA oversees approximately 1,200 service locations across Canada, and 39 in other countries. It employs over 12,000 public servants, and offers round-the-clock service at 119 land-border crossings and thirteen international airports.
Illegal migration requires that the CBSA remains vigilant in enforcing IRPA. In fiscal year 2009-2010, 9,420 individuals were detained by the CBSA for immigration reasons. In fiscal year 2008-2009, 13,249 individuals were removed from Canada. Of those, 1,855 were removed for criminality (14 percent), 9,672 were failed refugee claimants, and 1,722 were for other reasons. The top five removals by nationality in 2009 were Mexico (4,623), the United States (1,296), the Czech Republic (635), China (406) and Hungary (374).
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) provides integrated border services, such as managing, controlling and securing Canada's borders, in support of national security priorities. For example, the CBSA:
The CBSA is part of the Government of Canada's public safety portfolio. It is an agency of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEP).Immigration to Canada
The CBSA plays a key role in immigration to Canada, as it has assumed the port-of-entry and enforcement mandates formerly held by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. CBSA officers work on the front lines, screening persons entering the country and removing those who are unlawfully in Canada.
As of the end of 2003 there were up to 200,000 illegal immigrants in Canada (most residing in Ontario). Most are refugee claimants whose refugee applications were rejected by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. There are very few illegal immigrants who enter the country without first being admitted by the CBSA. The reason for this is that Canada is physically very difficult to get to, with the exception of crossing the Canada/U.S. border.
As the U.S. is itself a prime destination for illegal immigrants, not many illegal immigrants then attempt to cross the border into Canada in the wild. This differs significantly from the illegal immigration patterns in the U.S., which stem from illegal border crossings.
There has been a recent increase in the number of illegal entrants from St. Pierre & Miquelon who travel in make-shift boats. High unemployment in the French colony has spurred this increase, which has been acknowledged by the Government of France. The CBSA and Canadian Armed Forces (Navy) are considering increased marine patrols to intercept the illegal migrants. While residents could lawfully travel to France, the expensive airfare has made the relatively short 5.5-nautical-mile (10 km; 6 mi) boat ride to the Canadian province of Newfoundland more attractive for destitute economic migrants.
Border services officers at ports of entry make the final decision on who may enter Canada. With respect to the TFWP, this includes assessing admissibility, work permit eligibility and other documentary requirements. For more information on applying for work permits at ports of entry, please visit CIC's Web site.
Meeting all the requirements to work under the TFWP does not guarantee a person's entry into Canada. A prospective temporary foreign worker must also prove to a border services officer that he or she is admissible to Canada and meets the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (see sections 34-42 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act).
As part of its enforcement of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) may remove from Canada any person who has been issued a removal order for breaching the Act. There are three types of removal orders and each one has different consequences. A removal order can be appealed in certain situations. People cannot be removed from Canada if they have appealed a removal order and the appeal has not been decided, if they are involved in another legal proceeding or if they have been found to be people in need of protection.
CBSA officers carry out removals. In some cases, RCMP officers or medical personnel may assist them. Depending on the type of removal order required, the order is issued either by a CBSA officer or by a member of the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB), an independent tribunal. The IRB's Immigration Appeal Division hears appeals of eligible removal orders. The Federal Court may review the Immigration Appeal Division's ruling.
If either a CBSA officer or a member of the IRB's Immigration Division determines that a person has breached the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, he or she may issue one of the following removal orders:
Departure order: A departure order requires that the person leave Canada within 30 days after the order becomes enforceable.
Exclusion order: A person who has been removed as a result of an exclusion order cannot return to Canada for one year unless the written permission of the CBSA is obtained. However, people who are issued exclusion orders for misrepresentation cannot return for two years without written authorization from the CBSA.
Deportation order: A person who has been removed as a result of a deportation order is permanently barred from returning to Canada. Such people may never return unless they receive written permission from the CBSA.
All three removal orders require the person concerned to confirm his or her departure from Canada with the CBSA.
A departure order automatically becomes a deportation order when someone who has been issued a departure order does not leave Canada as required or leaves Canada without confirming his or her departure with the CBSA.
Departure and exclusion orders are usually issued for less serious violations.
If a person is issued a removal order and files a claim for refugee protection, the removal order does not come into force until the claim has been decided. If the claim for protection is accepted, the removal order is cancelled. Unsuccessful claimants who had conditional departure orders issued against them must leave Canada within 30 days of the date of the final determination of the claim or the order becomes enforceable.
In all cases, the individuals and their authorized representatives are informed of the reasons for the removal and are given a copy of the removal order. Family members in Canada who are dependants of the person subject to a removal order may be included in the removal order provided they are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents 19 years of age or over.
Once a removal order has been issued, the CBSA carries out the removal as soon as possible. The CBSA can assign an escort if there is concern that the person in question will not obey the removal order or if an escort is required to facilitate the removal. If the individual is considered very dangerous or a threat to the health or safety of other travellers, the RCMP or a medical officer may assist the CBSA in escorting the person out of the country.
Foreign nationals who hold a permanent resident visa, permanent residents and protected persons who have had removal orders issued against them at an examination or admissibility hearing can appeal to the IRB's Immigration Appeal Division. However, they cannot appeal if they have been found inadmissible for any of the following reasons:
An appeal can be launched by the person who was ordered removed or by the CBSA on behalf of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister of Public Safety or the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. The Immigration Appeal Division can stay (postpone) removal orders.
The Immigration Appeal Division hears appeals. If the appeal is rejected, the person can ask the Federal Court to review the Division's decision. The Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety can also request a review.
Sometimes there is a delay between the time a removal order is issued and the time the person actually leaves Canada. The reason(s) for this can include the following:
Appeals and legal proceedings: The person has appealed the removal order or may be involved in other legal proceedings, such as a criminal trial.
Claim for protection: The person has claimed to be a person in need of protection and the case has not been heard or decided.
Travel documents: The CBSA may have had difficulty obtaining passports or visas to permit the person to enter another country.
Identity: The person's identity or citizenship cannot be confirmed.
Failure to appear: The person does not appear for removal at the proper time or location, and the CBSA must issue an immigration arrest warrant.
Temporary suspension of removal: Dangerous conditions exist that make it impossible to safely return the person to the country of origin.
Pre-removal risk assessment: The person has applied to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to determine if he or she would be at risk (e.g. of torture, of cruel and unusual punishment) if returned to his or her country of nationality.
As part of its enforcement of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) may refuse to admit persons seeking to enter Canada and may order the removal of persons who have breached IRPA. In some cases, the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) can order persons who are in violation of IRPA to be removed. In certain cases, these removal orders may be appealed to the Immigration Appeal Division of the IRB.
The CBSA hearings officers represent the Minister of Public Safety at removal order appeal hearings before the IRB's Immigration Appeal Division. The IRB is an independent tribunal and its members are trained in immigration law. The Federal Court Trial Division may review the Immigration Appeal Division's determinations.
IRPA allows certain persons to appeal removal orders made by CBSA officers or by members of the IRB's Immigration Division. The following persons can appeal to the IRB's Immigration Appeal Division:
Normally persons will not be removed from Canada until their appeal has been decided. If they have been removed from Canada, they may be permitted to return to attend their appeal hearing.
In certain situations, foreign nationals and permanent residents do not have a right to appeal. Persons may lose their appeal rights if a CBSA officer or a member of the Immigration Division determines that they are security threats or war criminals, or that they have committed crimes against humanity, were involved in organized crime or are serious criminals. A serious criminal is a person who has been convicted of a crime in Canada that may be punishable by at least 10 years in prison and for which a sentence of at least two years is given.
Persons who have been issued a removal order may appeal it if they believe that any of the following circumstances applies:
The CBSA, on behalf of the Minister of Public Safety, may appeal a decision of the Immigration Division only on the basis that the decision was wrong in law, fact or both law and fact, or if there was a failure to observe a principle of natural justice.
Members of the Immigration Appeal Division hear appeals. The CBSA hearings officers represent the Minister of Public Safety at removal order appeal hearings. The hearings are held in public and operate much like a regular court. However, rules of evidence are more flexible and Division members can consider any evidence they believe is credible and trustworthy.
The Immigration Appeal Division can take one of three actions following an appeal hearing:
The Immigration Appeal Division will impose the following mandatory terms and conditions when granting a stay of removal (other terms and conditions may also be imposed):
If, at the end of the period of the stay, the person has complied with the terms and conditions, the Immigration Appeal Division may allow the appeal and cancel the removal order. If the terms and conditions have not been met, the CBSA can apply to have the stay cancelled and the appeal dismissed. Once the appeal is dismissed, the CBSA will carry out the removal order.
Both the person concerned and the Minister of Public Safety may apply to the Federal Court for a review of an Immigration Appeal Division decision. They must first obtain permission (leave) of the Federal Court to make the request for review. If the Federal Court grants permission, it will then review the request and dismiss it or set aside the Division's original decision and order a new appeal hearing.
Stays and Removal Orders- Delegation of ministerial powers, duties, and functions
To enforce the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) investigates possible breaches of the Act. If there is sufficient evidence of a breach of the Act, officers may deal with the people involved or direct them to appear at an admissibility hearing. An admissibility hearing is like a court hearing. It is held before a member of the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). In some cases, removal orders may be appealed to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) of the IRB. The Federal Court of Canada Trial Division may review the IAD's ruling.
Local and regional CBSA staff, including immigration enforcement officers, hearings officers and delegates of the Minister (usually local CBSA managers, supervisors or officers), are involved in the investigation and admissibility hearing process. Members of the Immigration Division conduct admissibility hearings. The IRB is independent of CBSA and its members are trained in immigration law. In some cases, removal orders may be appealed to the IAD of the IRB.
CBSA employs enforcement officers across Canada to investigate people who may have breached the Act. They work closely with the RCMP, local police and other agencies and, when necessary, can arrest, detain and remove people who breached the Act.
Investigations can begin with police reports, tips from the public, or the person's own admission. If there is sufficient evidence that a breach has been committed, the officer may submit a report to the Minister's delegate. The person under investigation may then face an administrative process for less complicated breaches, or an admissibility hearing presided over by a member of the Immigration Division, if the breach is more complicated.
For less complicated breaches (for example, when a visitor has remained in Canada longer than authorized), the Minister's delegate decides whether or not a breach has occurred and, if necessary, issues a removal order requiring the person to leave the country.
When a more complicated breach is alleged, the Minister's delegate reviews the investigation report and refers the matter to the Immigration Division for an admissibility hearing.
Admissibility hearings are similar to court hearings and are generally open to the public. However, they are held in camera if they concern refugee protection claimants or if the Division determines that there is:
Like a judge, a member of the Immigration Division presides over the admissibility hearing and listens to evidence presented by an officer representing the Minister, the person in question and his or her representative if there is one. Unlike a court hearing, however, there is no jury and there are fewer restrictions on evidence. At the end of the admissibility hearing, the member decides if the person is admissible. If the person is admissible, he or she is allowed to enter or remain in Canada. The member may set conditions.
If the person is inadmissible to Canada, a removal order is issued that requires the person to leave the country. The member can also decide if the person should be placed under detention or if conditions should be imposed upon release.
Some foreign nationals with permanent resident visas, some permanent residents and some protected persons who have had removal orders issued against them at an examination or admissibility hearing can appeal to the IRB's Immigration Appeal Division. Those who cannot appeal removal orders are foreign nationals, permanent residents and protected persons who are found inadmissible because they:
An appeal can be launched by the person who was ordered removed or by CBSA on behalf of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. The IAD can stay removal orders.
In-camera admissibility hearings involving refugee claimants Admissibility hearings for refugee protection claimants are held in-camera under the new Act. This recognizes the need to protect the confidentiality of the claimant.
British Columbia CBSA Immigration Offices
Canada Border Services Agency (Enforcement)
Library Square (7th Floor), 300 W. Georgia Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6B 6C9
Canada Border Services Agency
777 Dunsmuir St Suite 420
Vancouver V6B 1Y7, BC
Phone: (604) 666-0326
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