Ottawa, October 24, 2012 — People who promote terrorist activity or incite hatred which is likely to lead to violence could be barred from Canada, according to proposed guidelines released today by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.
The Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, introduced in Parliament on June 20, 2012, includes several proposed changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to protect the safety and security of Canadians. Among the proposed changes is a new ministerial authority to refuse temporary resident status to foreign nationals on the basis of public policy considerations.
“This authority ensures that we do not let in those who, for example, have a track record of promoting hatred and inciting violence against vulnerable groups,” said Minister Kenney.
“The intent is that this authority be used very sparingly and with caution. We want to ensure that we strike the right balance in describing the scope of this authority, which is why I’ve tabled the guidelines in Parliament and welcome the feedback of parliamentarians.”
The proposed guidelines, introduced by Minister Kenney before the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, illustrate scenarios where the Minister may choose to exercise his authority. The proposed guidelines outline two categories of behaviour and activities whereby a foreign national may be refused temporary resident status: 1) individuals who promote terrorism, violence or criminal activity including individuals who incite hatred that is likely to lead to violence against a specific group; and 2) certain foreign nationals from sanctioned countries or corrupt foreign officials.
This new authority would allow the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism to deny temporary resident status to a foreign national for a period of up to three years, on the basis of public policy considerations. The authority is intended to be used only in exceptional circumstances.
Unlike many of our key international partners, including the United Kingdom, the United States, New Zealand, and Australia, which already have similar measures in place, Canada currently does not have a mechanism to prevent certain foreign nationals who are otherwise admissible from entering Canada, even though it is in the public interest that they be kept out.
“For years, Ministers of Immigration have been asked by members of federal and provincial parliaments, stakeholders, and Canadians to refuse entry to individuals who promoted hateful rhetoric, yet we were powerless to act,” said the Minister.
“This authority would apply to the handful of exceptional cases each year where there are no other legal grounds to keep such people out of the country to protect the safety and security of Canadians.”
The Minister will report annually to Parliament on the number of instances the new authority is used.
The new discretionary authority for refusal is meant to be flexible, allowing for case-by-case analysis and quick responses to unpredictable and fast-changing events. It would allow the Minister to make a carefully-weighted decision, taking into account the public environment and potential consequences.
To view the proposed guidelines, consult the Backgrounder.
For more information on the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, see the news release from June 20, 2012.
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- New authority for refusal guidelines
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