Date: August 5, 2020
Classification: Unclassified
Fully releasable (ATIP)? Yes
Branch / Agency: IEB/CBSA

Proposed Response:

If pressed on the number of removals:


CBSA Removals Process

As part of its enforcement of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), the CBSA has a statutory obligation to remove any foreign national that has been issued a removal order for violating the IRPA. Removals are 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; based on a family member’s inadmissibility, and non-compliance with the IRPA (e.g. overstaying the time you are permitted to remain in Canada).

Every foreign national ordered to be removed from Canada is entitled to due process before the law and 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, throughout the process, accompanied by a stay motion in the case of those facing imminent removal. Some 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:

In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the CBSA removed 9,693 individuals from Canada; it removed 11,465 in the 2019-2020 fiscal year. These represent the highest removal numbers in the last four years for the Agency. As of July 30, 2020, the CBSA has removed 2,438 individuals for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, which has been impacted by a removal stoppage due to COVID-19.

Removals during COVID-19

On March 17, all scheduled removals were postponed and will continue to be suspended. However, exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis, particularly:

While the vast majority of removals are currently postponed, removals are still being administratively enforced as per regulatory changes that came into effect in 2018 (section 240(3)). When the CBSA receives adequate information that a foreign national has ‘self-deported’ or left Canada without confirming their departure, the removal order can be enforced within CBSA systems and the case is closed (meaning it no longer appears in removal inventories). This activity can be conducted by officers working from home in light of pandemic response measures and will contribute to additional removal statistics during the period of COVID-19 measures and contributes to the total number of cases recorded thus far in the 2020-21 fiscal year.  Furthermore, an Administrative Deferral of Removal (ADR) was imposed on Hubei Province, China, on January 31, 2020.  It was subsequently lifted on July 30, 2020.

Approved by: Scott Harris, Vice-President, Intelligence and Enforcement Branch, 613-957-8328

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