- The CBSA prioritizes the removal of persons inadmissible on the most serious grounds to protect Canada’s safety and security.
- The timely removal of failed claimants plays a critical role in supporting the integrity of Canada’s asylum system.
- In fiscal year 2018-2019, the CBSA removed 9,669 individuals from Canada, the highest number of removals in the past five years. As of February 18, 2020, the CBSA has removed 9,224 individuals thus far for the current fiscal year (2019-2020).
- As additional refugee decisions are rendered by the Immigration and Refugee Board, the CBSA is working hard to ensure that the number of removals keep pace with growing volumes.
- While the CBSA strives to conduct removals in a timely manner, all individuals are entitled to exhaust due process under the law in advance of CBSA proceeding with removal.
- Once due process has been exhausted, the CBSA may still face other impediments to removal, including lack of travel documents or logistical challenges in arranging removals.
- The CBSA is working bi-laterally and with other federal partners to address impediments to removal, such as incentivizing recalcitrant countries to provide necessary travel documents to allow their own nationals to return.
As part of its enforcement of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has a statutory obligation to remove any foreign national that has been issued a removal order for violating the IRPA. Immigration removal is an integral part of the CBSA’s security mandate.
The IRPA specifies that individuals may be inadmissible for any of the following reasons: security; crimes against humanity and war crimes; criminality; organized crime; risk to health of Canadians or excessive demand on health services; misrepresentation; inability to financially support yourself or your dependents; and non-compliance with the IRPA (e.g. overstaying the time you are permitted to remain in Canada).
Individuals believed to be inadmissible to Canada have a report written against them. The merits of the report are reviewed at an inadmissibility hearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), which is a quasi-judicial independent tribunal. For those who are found inadmissible, a removal order is issued against them. Every foreign national ordered to be removed from Canada is entitled to due process before the law. All removal orders are subject to various levels of appeal. Foreign nationals have the right to file an application for leave and judicial review before the Federal Court, accompanied by a stay motion, throughout the process. Permanent residents subject to a removal order also have a right of appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division of the IRB. Removals cannot be enforced until all pending legal avenues have been exhausted.
The CBSA prioritizes its removals based on a risk management regime:
- Priority 1: Security, organized crime, crimes against humanity, serious criminals, criminals, and failed irregular arrival refugee claimants
- Priority 2: Failed refugee claimants
- Priority 3: All other inadmissible persons
The CBSA’s ability to remove foreign nationals is contingent on foreign government cooperation. Despite international obligations to accept the return of their nationals, a number of countries have laws and policies that create obstacles for obtaining travel documents and prevent the CBSA from completing removals. For example, some countries do not help confirm the identity of their nationals, or have laws and policies in place on citizenship revocation that are contrary to international law. As a result, this lack of collaboration is contributing to the number of failed refugee claimants that remain in Canada, which creates a challenge for the CBSA to maintain previous removal levels and undermines program integrity.
To address travel document challenges, the CBSA is consulting with its international partners to share best practices on how to gain cooperation from recalcitrant countries.
In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the CBSA removed 9,669 individuals from Canada and, as of February 18, 2020, has removed 9,224 individuals in 2019-2020. These represent the highest removal numbers in the last four years for the Agency.
Under the current refugee determination system, the CBSA aims to remove failed refugee claimants within 12 months of the IRB's final negative refugee determination. This objective is supported by a one-year bar on post-claim recourses, the pre-removal risk assessment and humanitarian and compassionate applications. Individuals with no impediments are removed as soon as possible once all legal avenues of recourse have been exhausted. The lack of cooperation by some home countries to provide travel documents continues to be the primary impediment to removal.
Budget 2018 included $173 million over two fiscal years to ensure that processing of asylum-seekers continues to happen securely, effectively and expeditiously. This included $7.5 million to the CBSA to ensure that once a rejected refugee claimant has exhausted all legal avenues of appeal, and all administrative requirements are met, the individual can be promptly removed. In Budget 2019, the CBSA received $381.8 million over five years and $7.3 million in ongoing funding to support the implementation of the Border Enforcement Strategy and to help increase asylum system capacity, strengthen processes at the border, and accelerate claim processing. This included $83.3 million over three years to increase capacity (e.g., litigation costs, charter flights, staffing level increase with a peak of 111 full-time employees in 2021-2022) to remove failed claimants from Canada based on the projected increase in failed claimants.
Prepared by: Rick Dvorski, Manager, Removals Program, Intelligence and Enforcement Branch, 613-930-3578/613-240-6452
Approved by: Jacques Cloutier, Vice-President, Intelligence and Enforcement Branch, 613-948-4111
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