Canada Inadmissibility for Individual Criminality: Definitions

Here you will find a description of the kinds of behaviour that can cause a person to be found inadmissible for individual criminal acts.

If an individual is convicted of certain crimes, he or she may be deemed inadmissible to Canada. Inadmissible individuals are not allowed to enter Canada. There are two main kinds of crimes that are committed at the individual level that can cause a person to be deemed inadmissible to Canada.

  1. Serious Criminality
  2. General Criminality

1. Serious Criminality

Permanent residents of Canada and foreign nationals will be found inadmissible to Canada due to serious criminality if:

  • They have been convicted of a crime in Canada that could give rise to a maximum jail sentence of 10 years or more.
    • Exceptions: Individuals will not be deemed inadmissible under this category if they have been acquitted of the crime or if they have had their criminal record suspended. They will also not be found inadmissible if the crime was committed under the Contraventions Act or the Young Offenders Act.
  • They have been convicted of a crime in Canada that could give rise to a jail sentence of six months or more.
    • Exceptions: Individuals will not be deemed inadmissible under this category if they have been acquitted of the crime or if they have had their criminal record suspended. They will also not be found inadmissible if the crime was committed under the Contraventions Act or the Young Offenders Act.
  • They have been convicted of a crime outside of Canada that could give rise to a maximum jail sentence of at least ten years if committed in Canada.
    • Exceptions: Individuals will not be found inadmissible under this category if they have been deemed rehabilitated or if they have had their criminal record suspended. They will also not be found inadmissible if they are expected to be acquitted for the crime. Lastly, they will not be found inadmissible if the crime was committed under the Contraventions Act or the Young Offenders Act. For more information on Deemed Rehabilitation, click here.
  • They have committed an act outside of Canada that is a crime in the place it was committed AND could give rise to a maximum jail sentence of at least 10 years if committed in Canada.
    • If the person who committed the act is a permanent resident, they will only be found inadmissible if they are deemed to have committed the act “on the balance of probabilities”. This means that the person will only be deemed inadmissible if it is more likely than not that he or she committed the act.
    • Exceptions: Individuals will not be found inadmissible under this category if they have been deemed rehabilitated or if they have had their criminal record suspended. They will also not be found inadmissible if they are expected to be acquitted for the crime. Lastly, they will not be found inadmissible if the crime was committed under the Contraventions Act or the Young Offenders Act. For more information on Deemed Rehabilitation, click here.

2. General Criminality

Foreign nationals can be found inadmissible to Canada due to general criminality when:

  • They have been convicted in Canada of a crime that may be punishable by indictment.
    • Exceptions: Individuals will not be deemed inadmissible under this category if they have been acquitted of the crime or if they have had their criminal record suspended. They will also not be found inadmissible if the crime was committed under the Contraventions Act or the Young Offenders Act.
  • They have been convicted in Canada of two distinct crimes under Canadian law that arose out of two distinct events.
    • Exceptions: Individuals will not be deemed inadmissible under this category if they have been acquitted of the crime or if they have had their criminal record suspended. They will also not be found inadmissible if the crime was committed under the Contraventions Act or the Young Offenders Act.
  • They have been convicted of a crime outside of Canada that, if committed in Canada could be prosecuted as an indictable offense.
    • Exceptions: Individuals will not be found inadmissible under this category if they have been deemed rehabilitated or if they have had their criminal record suspended. They will also not be found inadmissible if they are expected to be acquitted for the crime. Lastly, they will not be found inadmissible if the crime was committed under the Contraventions Act or the Young Offenders Act. For more information on Deemed Rehabilitation, click here.
  • They have been convicted outside of Canada of two distinct crimes that happened in two distinct events that would be considered to be crimes if committed in Canada.
    • Exceptions: Individuals will not be found inadmissible under this category if they have been deemed rehabilitated or if they have had their criminal record suspended. They will also not be found inadmissible if they are expected to be acquitted for the crime. Lastly, they will not be found inadmissible if the crime was committed under the Contraventions Act or the Young Offenders Act. For more information on Deemed Rehabilitation, click here.
  • They have committed an act outside of Canada that is a crime in the place where it was committed AND could be an indictable crime if committed in Canada.
    • Exceptions: Individuals will not be found inadmissible under this category if they have been deemed rehabilitated or if they have had their criminal record suspended. They will also not be found inadmissible if they are expected to be acquitted for the crime. Lastly, they will not be found inadmissible if the crime was committed under the Contraventions Act or the Young Offenders Act. For more information on Deemed Rehabilitation, click here.
  • Upon entering Canada, they commit an act that is illegal under Canadian law.
    • Exceptions: Individuals will not be deemed inadmissible under this category if they have been acquitted of the crime or if they have had their criminal record suspended. They will also not be found inadmissible if the crime was committed under the Contraventions Act or the Young Offenders Act.

Permanent residents of Canada will not usually be deemed inadmissible to Canada if they are merely found to have been involved in general criminal activity.

Note. All findings of inadmissibility under these categories must be based on “reasonable grounds”. This means that immigration officers will only deem a person inadmissible if they have a legitimate belief that there is a serious possibility that a person falls under one of the criminal categories above. This belief must be based on credible evidence.

  • Exceptions: As mentioned above, the “reasonable grounds” standard does not apply to Canadian permanent residents who have committed an act outside of Canada that is a crime in the location it was committed AND is punishable by a maximum jail term of at least 10 years if committed in Canada. A permanent resident is subject to the “balance of probabilities” standard, which is defined above.

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