There are three types of removal orders which can be issued by immigration authorities or the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Departure Order

A Departure Order is the removal order with the least severe consequences. If the person subject to a departure order complies with the order within 30 days of when it comes into force, then the person will not face exclusion from Canada and could seek to return at any time as long as they comply with the normal visa requirements for nationals of their country. However, after 30 days the departure order will automatically become a deportation order with the very severe consequences set out below. It is crucial that individuals subject to departure orders get competent advice to understand when the order might come into force and to understand the consequences of failing to confirm departure before that date.

A conditional Departure Order is usually issued to refugee claimants upon initiating their claim and generally comes into force once the claim has been denied unless the claimant has access to the Refugee Appeal Division. Departure orders are also issued in certain cases involving permanent residents who have not complied with conditions such as their residency obligation or protected persons who are losing their status by way of cessation.

Exclusion Order

A person subject to an Exclusion Order will be excluded from Canada between one and five years after confirming their departure, depending on the reason for the exclusion. Most breaches of immigration obligations, such as arriving without a proper visa, remaining without status, working or studying without authorization will often result in exclusion. A finding of misrepresentation will result in a five-year exclusion during which the person is also barred from applying for permanent residence. While many exclusion orders will be issued after a hearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board, the majority of exclusion orders are issued directly by immigration officers.

Deportation Order

Deportation Orders are the removal orders with the most severe consequences. A person who is removed under a Deportation Order will never be allowed to return to Canada without first obtaining an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC). Deportation Orders are issued upon findings of inadmissibility for various forms of criminality, national security concerns or upon loss of status through processes such as vacation. Deportation Orders are also issued in certain cases where a person could be subject to multiple exclusion orders or if they have failed to leave Canada during the relevant period a Departure Order was in force.

Confirmation of Departure

Compliance with a removal order requires that the person confirm their departure from Canada. Simply leaving Canada without confirming departure does not comply with the removal order, and it will remain in force. Generally, compliance will involve meeting with a removals officer from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) who will provide instructions for departure from Canada. Upon departure, an officer will provide a Confirmation of Departure. This document is very important and will provide proof of compliance with the removal order. Any applicable period of exclusion will begin from the date on the Confirmation of Departure.

Voluntary Departure

Removal orders should not be confused with “voluntary” departure. In many cases, an officer will make it clear that they do not intend to allow someone to enter or remain in Canada but will choose to allow the person to leave without making them the subject of a removal order. In many cases, this can be a significant benefit to the person concerned, as it provides the opportunity to leave Canada and return when the officer’s concerns have been addressed. If an individual is being offered “voluntary” departure but does not want to leave Canada, it is likely in their interest to seek competent advice before rejecting the offer from the officer.