Stopped at the Canadian Border or Airport and Denied Entry to Canada? What are your Options?

Being denied entry to Canada

Depending on the reason why you may have been denied entry to Canada, you may be able to re-apply for entry. Generally, persons with certain criminal records may be considered as “inadmissible” for entry to Canada.  In other cases, a customs officer, known as a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer can refuse you admission for failure to demonstrate that you are a genuine visitor to Canada, that is, that you may not have sufficient ties to your home country or that you have repeatedly visited Canada etc. Finally, there could be health issues that come to light that may render you inadmissible to Canada.

What happens when you’re denied entry to Canada

Whatever the reason for you being stopped at the Canada/US Border or Airport, there are a number of “scenarios” that could play out, each having differing implications.

The most common scenario we see is that a CBSA officer simply refuses you entry to Canada and “allows you withdraw your application for admission” This amounts to a legal “slap-on-the-wrist” . In such cases, officers will usually advise you to return to Canada with sufficient documentation and information that proves you are a genuine temporary resident i.e., visitor, student or worker. Documents showing your ties to your home country are generally what the CBSA officer is looking for.

In other, more serious cases involving criminality, the CBSA officer may choose to write what is called a Section 44 Report. A Section 44 Report is a formal declaration concerning the nature of allegations against you as to why you are inadmissible to Canada.

If an officer issues a Section 44 Report, then your case can be referred to the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) for an Admissibility Hearing. At the Admissibility hearing an immigration judge known as a “Member” of the IRB will determine if the allegations in the Section 44 Report are true. This hearing can lead to a Removal Order.

If you have a criminal record or if you may not be able to demonstrate your intentions to enter Canada as a temporary resident, make sure that you consult with an immigration lawyer before attempting the enter Canada to avoid being denied entry to Canada.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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