When we think about a person (let's say a permanent resident) who is deported from Canada, we typically think it's because of criminality. In reality, a permanent resident can be deported for a number of reasons. In this post, I will discuss criminality as defined in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
The definitions of criminality are found at section 36 of the IRPA. It appears that the public at large express a very limited tolerance of permanent residents committing criminal acts. In reality, the IRPA and Immigration Appeal Division recognize the importance of separating "serious" criminals from those individuals that can demonstrate rehabilitation.
Basic principles of fairness require that a hearing is held prior to an individual's removal from Canada. This principle has been circumscribed and limited by the IRPA where an individual has been sentenced to two years or more. As it stands today, if a permanent resident has been convicted of a charge that resulted in either a sentence of 6 months or more or could have resulted in a maximum sentence of ten years (or more) he or she will likely face removal proceedings.
For a permanent resident, the writing and referral of a "section 44" report by a CBSA officer will initiate the removal process. It should be noted that there is a limited discretion by a CBSA officer not to write a report. This decision should be informed by submissions on the part of the person concerned. If the report is written and referred, the matter is reviewed by the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board. The Immigration Division has limited discretion in this area as well, looking at the fact that the individual is not a Canadian Citizen, was convicted in Canada and received the appropriate length of sentence. A removal order is then issued. The removal order can be appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division, which can consider equitable or humanitarian factors. Remember, this appeal can only occur if the sentence imposed was less than 2 years. I have discussed the relevant factors that the IAD reviews in previous posts.
In my opinion, a long term permanent resident is basically a citizen in all but name. Both individuals, if convicted of a crime will serve their sentence and pay their debt to society. But the permanent resident will also face the possibility of removal. This seems perilously close to 'double jeopardy' which is not permissible in criminal law. Deportation, which removes an individual from a country that he or she has lived in (perhaps for a significant period of their lives) and severs or traumatizes familial ties is a punishment that should not be lightly imposed. I would view any further action by this Minister to limit appeals from removal orders by permanent residents with great caution.