CIC News Case Files: Receiving a Criminal Conviction While Already in Canada

CIC News
Published: August 14, 2012

What happens when a Temporary Foreign Worker is convicted of a crime while living and working in Canada? The answer may surprise you.

CIC News recently came across one such case. An individual who was already working in Canada was convicted of drunk driving. This began a long process for himself and his legal representatives, as they fought for his right to remain in Canada. The process has helped shed light on the intricacies of Canadian immigration law and how it pertains to issues of criminal inadmissibility. It also underscores the importance of taking decisive action and finding a knowledgeable representative to assist in understanding these intricacies.

Criminal Inadmissibility

Any person with a criminal conviction has the potential to be considered inadmissible to Canada on the grounds of security, pursuant to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations. Individuals who wish to reside in Canada on a temporary or permanent basis, and who have been convicted of a criminal offense, must take steps to address this before entering Canada.

There are a number of ways to address criminal inadmissibility. The way in which it is addressed is determined by the nature of the offense, number of offenses committed, and when the conviction occurred. If less than 5 years have elapsed since the completion of the sentence, an application for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) must be filed with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and a TRP must be received, before coming to the country. The different ways to address issues of criminal inadmissibility will be outlined in future editions of CIC News.

Individuals who commit a crime while living in Canada have additional issues to address. Depending on the severity of the offense, they may face the possibility of having their status in Canada revoked and/or being served with a deportation order. Because they are already in Canada, the overall situation is likely to be more complex. The following recent case demonstrated this complexity...

The Criminality Case

“James” (real name withheld for anonymity) is a Temporary Foreign Worker currently in Canada. In October 2011, he was arrested, in Canada, for a lesser criminal offence. Approximately 2 months after his conviction, he was required to attend a hearing which was convened by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA). The CBSA informed him that due to his conviction, he was now considered “inadmissible” to Canada.

Because of his new inadmissible status, James was issued a deportation order. This deportation would put his job, personal livelihood, and opportunities for future Canadian immigration at stake. Not wanting to leave his job and life in Canada, James retained the services of Attorney David Cohen to examine his options to remain in the country as a Temporary Foreign Worker.

Attorney Cohen first filed concurrent applications for a TRP and a Work Permit renewal from inside Canada. An individual with a criminal conviction cannot receive a Work Permit unless their criminality issue has been successfully addressed. After approximately 2 months, James received a positive TRP and Work Permit.

Despite successfully receiving a TRP, James still had an active deportation order. Did this order override any other Canadian work authorization? The CBSA confirmed that it did not.

James will now stay in Canada until his Work Permit and TRP expire in approximately 2 years. These documents were sufficient to temporarily put on hold the deportation order. However, it is unclear how the deportation will affect any plans James may have for future immigration or work in Canada.


The field of immigration law is complex and constantly changing. This is especially the case when dealing with issues of criminality. If you or somebody you know is a temporary or permanent resident of Canada, and has recently been convicted of a crime, quick action is imperative to ensure that you do not find yourself in a compromising legal situation.

To learn more about criminal inadmissibility, contact us today.

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