Every Permanent Resident (PR) of Canada is obliged to maintain residency here (with some important exceptions) 2 years out of a 5 year period.
This has been changed (and is more flexible) from the obligation imposed on PRs under the previous legislation which required 6 months out of each year.
There are 2 ways that a breach comes to the attention of the authorities. One way is when the PR makes application for another PR card. The second is when the PR attends at a POE (port of entry) and an examination occurs before an officer.
If the PR intentionally (or not) overstates his or her residency in Canada then an allegation of misrepresentation could also result. Do not lie on any immigration application!
If an officer writes a report alleging a breach of the residency obligation, then the PR still has the ability to appeal the resulting removal order to the Immigration Appeal Division which can consider all the circumstances and grant relief on humanitarian and compassionate considerations.
If you are a PR and have questions surrounding the residency obligation, exceptions to the requirement, or appealing a negative decision, please feel free to contact an immigration lawyer at our office.