A foreign national may be found inadmissible for criminality in a broad range of circumstances, including conduct outside of or upon entering Canada for which the person has never been charged or convicted. Most criminal convictions whether inside or outside of Canada could render a foreign national inadmissible. Persons who have been convicted or charged with a criminal offence should consult with counsel before approaching Canadian immigration authorities.

Serious Criminality

A permanent resident or foreign national is inadmissible to Canada for serious criminality. Serious criminality could be in relation to a conviction in Canada, or to an offence committed outside Canada that is equivalent to an offence in Canada that would constitute serious criminality. An offence will be considered serious criminality if the maximum sentence available in Canada is 10 years or more, even if the prosecution proceeded summarily or a much lower sentence was actually imposed. Even offences with a lower maximum penalty could constitute serious criminality if a sentence of more than six months is imposed in Canada.

A permanent resident or a protected person have a right to appeal a removal order arising from a conviction in Canada to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD), unless a sentence of six months imprisonment has been imposed. This means that any sentence more than six months less a day may have serious consequences which any non-citizen facing criminal charges should understand prior to entering a plea.