Immigration laws

There are six general sources of immigration law in Canada:

1) the IRPA (Immigration and Refugee Protection Act),
2) the IRP Regulations (
Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations),
3) the Manuals,
4) the Operational Bulletins,
5) the Ministerial Instructions and
6) case law.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (U.K.), 1982 c. 11 [Charter]) is also applicable to immigration matters; the IRPA and IRP Regulations must be consistent with Charter provisions.

An Act of Parliament is a statute (commonly called a law) enacted as primary legislation by a national or sub-national parliament.

In Commonwealth countries, the term is used both in a narrow sense, as the formal description of a law passed in certain territories, and in a wider (generic) sense for primary legislation passed in any country.

A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs a state, city, or county. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare policy. The word is often used to distinguish law made by legislative bodies from case law, decided by courts, and regulations issued by government agencies. Statutes are sometimes referred to as legislation or "black letter law". As a source of law, statutes are considered primary authority (as opposed to secondary authority).

Ideally all statutes must be in harmony with the fundamental law of the land (constitutional).

A draft Act of Parliament is known as a bill.

In Canada, the bill passes through the following stages:

  1. First reading: This stage is a mere formality.
  2. Second reading: As in the UK, the stage involves a debate on the general principles of the bill and is followed by a vote. Again, the second reading of a government bill is usually approved. A defeat for a Government bill on this reading signifies a major loss. If the bill is read a second time, then it progresses to the committee stage.
  3. Committee stage: This usually takes place in a standing committee of the Commons or Senate.
    • Standing committee: The standing committee is a permanent one; each committee deals with bills in specific subject areas. Canada's standing committees are similar to the UK's select committees.
    • Special committee: A committee established for a particular purpose, be it the examination of a bill or a particular issue.
    • Legislative committee: Similar to a special committee in that it is established for the consideration of a particular bill. The chairmanship is determined by the Speaker, rather than elected by the members of the committee. Not used in the Senate.
    • Committee of the Whole: The whole house sits as a committee in the House of Commons or Senate. Most often used to consider appropriation bills, but can be used to consider any bill.
The committee considers each clause of the bill, and may make amendments to it. Significant amendments may be made at committee stage. In some cases, whole groups of clauses are inserted or removed. However, if the Government holds a majority, almost all the amendments which are agreed to in committee will have been tabled by the Government to correct deficiencies in the bill or to enact changes to policy made since the bill was introduced (or, in some cases, to import material which was not ready when the bill was presented).
  1. Report stage: this takes place on the floor of the appropriate chamber, and allows the House or Senate to approve amendments made in committee, or to propose new ones.
  2. Third reading: A debate on the final text of the bill, as amended.
  3. Passage: The bill is then sent to the other House (to the Senate, if it originated in the House of Commons; to the Commons, if it is a Senate bill), where it will face a virtually identical process. If the other House amends the bill, the bill and amendments are sent back to the original House for a further stage.
  4. Consideration of Senate/Commons amendments: The House in which the bill originated considers the amendments made in the other House. It may agree to them, amend them, propose other amendments in lieu or reject them. If each House insists on disagreeing with the other, the Bill is lost.
  5. Disagreement between the Houses: There is no specific procedure under which the Senate's disagreement can be overruled by the Commons. The Senate's rejection is absolute.

The debate on each stage is actually debate on a specific motion. For the first reading, there is no debate. For the second reading, the motion is "That this bill be now read a second time and be referred to [name of committee]" and for third reading "That this bill be now read a third time and pass." In the Committee stage, each clause is called and motions for amendments to these clauses, or that the clause stand part of the bill are made. In the Report stage, the debate is on the motions for specific amendments.

Once a bill has passed both Houses in an identical form, it receives final, formal examination by the Governor General who invariably gives it the Royal Assent. Although the Governor General can in theory refuse to assent a bill or reserve the bill for the Queen at this stage, this power has fallen into disuse.

Bills being reviewed by Parliament are assigned numbers: 2 to 200 for government bills, 201 to 1000 for private member's bills, and 1001 up for private bills. They are preceded by C- if they originate in the House of Commons, or S- if they originate in the Senate. For example, Bill C-250 was a private member's bill introduced in the House. Bills C-1 and S-1 are pro forma bills, and are introduced at the beginning of each session in order to assert the right of each Chamber to manage its own affairs. They are introduced and read a first time, and then are dropped from the Order Paper.

Regulation is administrative legislation that constitutes or constrains rights and allocates responsibilities. It can be distinguished from primary legislation (by Parliament or elected legislative body) on the one hand and judge-made law on the other. Regulation can take many forms: legal restrictions promulgated by a government authority, self-regulation by an industry such as through a trade association, social regulation (e.g. norms), co-regulation, or market regulation. One can consider regulation as actions of conduct imposing sanctions, such as a fine, to the extent permitted by the law of the land. This action of administrative law, or implementing regulatory law, may be contrasted with statutory or case law.

See also: List of Acts of Parliament of Canada

  1. Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (PDF)
  2. IL 1 — Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
  3. Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (PDF)
  4. Supreme Court Judgments
  7. IL 2 — Immigration Regulations
  8. IL 3 — Designation of Officers and Delegation of Authority
  9. Citizenship Act (PDF)
  10. Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  11. IRB Act, Rules and Regulations
  12. IL 5 — Immigration Rules
  13. IL 3 — Designation of Officers and Delegation of Authority
  14. Federal Court Immigration and Refugee Protection Rules