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Mental Illness, Criminal Offences, & Deportation

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How a criminal conviction can lead to deportation

Anyone in Canada who is not a Canadian citizen is either a permanent resident or a foreign national.

A permanent resident (sometimes referred to as a “landed immigrant”) is an immigrant or refugee who has been granted the right to live permanently in Canada. A permanent resident will usually have a “Permanent Resident Card” or a "Record of Landing" as proof of status. Permanent residents can be removed from Canada for a variety of reasons set out in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

A foreign national is anyone who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident—for example, a refugee claimant, a visitor, or a person who is here without any immigration status. A foreign national is at greater risk of removal than a permanent resident.

Someone who becomes a Canadian citizen cannot be forced to leave Canada unless they said something that was not true or left out information when they applied for Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status.

When someone who is not a Canadian citizen is charged with a crime, the police pass this information on to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). CBSA is responsible for enforcing immigration law. CBSA can detain a person for immigration reasons even if they are not detained as a result of the criminal charges. And if the person is convicted of a crime, CBSA may prepare a report. The report may lead to a deportation order or an "admissibility hearing" before the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). The hearing can result in a deportation order.

Refugee protection
A protected person is someone who:

  • is found by the Immigration and Refugee Board to be a Convention refugee or a person in need of protection,
  • is accepted by a visa officer outside Canada for resettlement to Canada as someone who needs protection, or
  • is successful on a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment, unless they are inadmissible to Canada for certain reasons – for example, they are considered a security risk.
  • A protected person who has not become a permanent resident is a foreign national but has some rights that other foreign nationals do not have.

    As a rule, protected persons cannot be deported to countries where they would be at risk of persecution, torture, or cruel and unusual treatment or punishment. But there are exceptions to this rule so a protected person might still be at risk of removal because of a criminal conviction.

    Some permanent residents may fear persecution or face other serious risks in their country of nationality. If they came to Canada as immigrants, they may never have claimed refugee protection and may still be able to make a claim. But if they have already been ordered deported, it is too late to claim refugee protection.

A criminal charge or conviction can also affect someone's eligibility to become a permanent resident or a Canadian citizen.

A person who is ordered deported may be able to appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division of the IRB, see Helping a client at the Immigration and Refugee Board for more information about the IRB.