Skip to main content

Bill C-11

If you have any questions or comments regarding the accessibility of this publication, please contact us at


1st Session, 37th Parliament,
49-50 Elizabeth II, 2001

House of Commons of Canada


An Act respecting immigration to Canada and the granting of refugee protection to persons who are displaced, persecuted or in danger

      Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:


Short title

1. This Act may be cited as the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.



2. (1) The definitions in this subsection apply in this Act.

« Commission »

``Board'' means the Immigration and Refugee Board, which consists of the Refugee Protection Division, Refugee Appeal Division, Immigration Division and Immigration Appeal Division.

``Convention Against Torture''
« Convention contre la torture »

``Convention Against Torture'' means the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, signed at New York on December 10, 1984. Article 1 of the Convention Against Torture is set out in the schedule.

``foreign national''
Version anglaise seulement

``foreign national'' means a person who is not a Canadian citizen, and includes a stateless person.

``permanent resident''
« résident permanent »

``permanent resident'' means a foreign national who has acquired permanent resident status and has not subsequently lost that status under section 46.

``Refugee Convention''
« Convention sur les réfugiés »

``Refugee Convention'' means the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, signed at Geneva on July 28, 1951, and the Protocol to that Convention, signed at New York on January 31, 1967. Sections E and F of Article 1 of the Refugee Convention are set out in the schedule.

Act includes regulations

(2) Unless otherwise indicated, references in this Act to ``this Act'' include regulations made under it.


Objectives - immigration

3. (1) The objectives of this Act with respect to immigration are

    (a) to permit Canada to pursue the maximum social, cultural and economic benefits of immigration;

    (b) to enrich and strengthen the social and cultural fabric of Canadian society, while respecting the federal and bilingual character of Canada;

    (c) to support the development of a strong and prosperous Canadian economy, in which the benefits of immigration are shared across all regions of Canada;

    (d) to see that families are reunited in Canada;

    (e) to promote the successful integration of permanent residents into Canada, while recognizing that integration involves mutual obligations for new immigrants and Canadian society;

    (f) to support, by means of consistent standards and prompt processing, the attainment of immigration goals established by the Government of Canada in consultation with the provinces;

    (g) to facilitate the entry of visitors, students and temporary workers for purposes such as trade, commerce, tourism, international understanding and cultural, educational and scientific activities;

    (h) to protect the health and safety of Canadians and to maintain the security of Canadian society; and

    (i) to promote international justice and security by denying access to Canadian territory to foreign nationals who are criminals or security risks.

Objectives - refugees

(2) The objectives of this Act with respect to refugees are

    (a) to recognize that the refugee program is in the first instance about saving lives and offering protection to the displaced and persecuted;

    (b) to fulfil Canada's international legal obligations with respect to refugees and affirm Canada's commitment to international efforts to provide assistance to those in need of resettlement;

    (c) to grant, as a fundamental expression of Canada's humanitarian ideals, fair consideration to those who come to Canada claiming persecution;

    (d) to offer safe haven to persons with a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group, as well as those at risk of torture or cruel and unusual treatment or punishment;

    (e) to establish fair and efficient procedures that will maintain the integrity of the Canadian refugee protection system, while upholding Canada's respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all human beings;

    (f) to support the self-sufficiency and the social and economic well-being of refugees by facilitating reunification with their family members in Canada;

    (g) to protect the health and safety of Canadians and to maintain the security of Canadian society; and

    (h) to promote international justice and security by denying access to Canadian territory to foreign nationals, including refugee claimants, who are security risks or serious criminals.


(3) This Act is to be construed and applied in a manner that

    (a) furthers the domestic and international interests of Canada;

    (b) promotes accountability and transparency by enhancing public awareness of immigration and refugee programs;

    (c) facilitates cooperation between the Government of Canada, provincial governments, foreign states, international organizations and non-governmental organizations; and

    (d) ensures that any person seeking admission to Canada is subject to standards, policies and procedures consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including its principles of equality and freedom from discrimination, and of the equality of English and French as the official languages of Canada.



4. The Minister responsible for the administration of this Act is the member of the Queen's Privy Council designated as such by the Governor in Council.


5. Except as otherwise provided, the Governor in Council may make any regulation that is referred to in this Act, that prescribes any matter whose prescription is referred to in this Act, or that it considers necessary to carry out the objectives of this Act.

Designation of officers

6. (1) The Minister may designate any persons or class of persons as officers to carry out any purpose of any provision of this Act, and shall specify the powers and duties of the officers so designated.

Delegation of powers

(2) Anything that may be done by the Minister under this Act may be done by a person that the Minister authorizes in writing, without proof of the authenticity of the authorization.


(3) Nothwithstanding subsection (2), the Minister may not delegate the power conferred by subsection 77(1) or 114(2) or the ability to make determinations under subsection 34(2) or 35(2), paragraph 37(2)(a), subparagraph 113(d)(ii) or paragraph 115(2)(b).


International agreements

7. The Minister, with the approval of the Governor in Council, may enter into an agreement with the government of a foreign state or with an international organization for the purposes of this Act.

Federal-provi ncial agreements

8. (1) The Minister, with the approval of the Governor in Council, may enter into an agreement with the government of any province for the purposes of this Act. The Minister must publish, once a year, a list of the federal-provincial agreements that are in force.

Consistency with agreement

(2) Subject to subsection (3) but despite the other provisions of this Act, the following must be consistent with the federal-provincial agreements:

    (a) the selection and sponsorship of, and the acquisition of status by, foreign nationals under this Act; and

    (b) regulations governing those matters, including regulations respecting the examination in Canada of applications to become a permanent resident, or respecting the foreign nationals who may be selected on the basis of an investment in Canada.

Inadmissibilit y not limited

(3) Subsection (2) is not to be interpreted as limiting the application of any provision of this Act concerning inadmissibility to Canada.

Sole provincial responsibility - permanent residents

9. (1) Where a province has, under a federal-provincial agreement, sole responsibility for the selection of a foreign national who intends to reside in that province as a permanent resident, the following provisions apply to that foreign national, unless the agreement provides otherwise:

    (a) the foreign national, unless inadmissible under this Act, shall be granted permanent resident status if the foreign national meets the province's selection criteria;

    (b) the foreign national shall not be granted permanent resident status if the foreign national does not meet the province's selection criteria;

    (c) the foreign national shall not be granted permanent resident status contrary to the provisions of the law of the province governing the number of foreign nationals who may settle in the province as permanent residents, whether that number is an estimate or a maximum, or governing the distribution of that number among classes of foreign nationals; and

    (d) conditions imposed in accordance with the law of the province have the same force and effect as if they were made under this Act, if they are imposed on a foreign national on or before the grant of permanent resident status.

Sole provincial responsibility - appeals

(2) If a federal-provincial agreement gives a province sole responsibility to establish and apply financial criteria with respect to undertakings that sponsors living in that province may make in respect of a foreign national who applies to become a permanent resident, then, unless the agreement provides otherwise, the existence of a right of appeal under the law of that province respecting rejections by provincial officials of applications for sponsorship, for reasons of failing to meet financial criteria or failing to comply with a prior undertaking, prevents the sponsor, except on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, from appealing under this Act against a refusal, based on those reasons, of a visa or permanent resident status.

Consultations with the provinces

10. (1) The Minister may consult with the governments of the provinces on immigration and refugee protection policies and programs, in order to facilitate cooperation and to take into consideration the effects that the implementation of this Act may have on the provinces.

Required consultations

(2) The Minister must consult with the governments of the provinces respecting the number of foreign nationals in each class who will become permanent residents each year, their distribution in Canada taking into account regional economic and demographic requirements, and the measures to be undertaken to facilitate their integration into Canadian society.





Requirements Before Entering Canada

Application before entering Canada

11. (1) A foreign national must, before entering Canada, apply to an officer for a visa or for any other document required by the regulations. The visa or document shall be issued if, following an examination, the officer is satisfied that the foreign national is not inadmissible and meets the requirements of this Act.

If sponsor does not meet requirements

(2) The officer may not issue a visa or other document to a foreign national whose sponsor does not meet the sponsorship requirements of this Act.

Selection of Permanent Residents

Economic immigration

12. (1) A foreign national may be selected as a member of the economic class on the basis of their ability to become economically established in Canada.

Family reunification

(2) A foreign national may be selected as a member of the family class on the basis of their relationship as the spouse, common-law partner, child, parent or other prescribed family member of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.


(3) A foreign national, inside or outside Canada, may be selected as a person who under this Act is a Convention refugee or as a person in similar circumstances, taking into account Canada's humanitarian tradition with respect to the displaced and the persecuted.

Sponsorship of Foreign Nationals

Right to sponsor family member

13. (1) A Canadian citizen or permanent resident may, subject to the regulations, sponsor a foreign national who is a member of the family class.

Group right to sponsor

(2) A group of Canadian citizens or permanent residents, a corporation incorporated under a law of Canada or of a province, and an unincorporated organization or association under federal or provincial law, or any combination of them may, subject to the regulations, sponsor a Convention refugee or a person in similar circumstances.


(3) An undertaking relating to sponsorship is binding on the person who gives it.

Instructions of Minister

(4) An officer shall apply the regulations on sponsorship referred to in paragraph 14(2)(e) in accordance with any instructions that the Minister may make.



14. (1) The regulations may provide for any matter relating to the application of this Division, and may define, for the purposes of this Act, the terms used in this Division.


(2) The regulations may prescribe, and govern any matter relating to, classes of foreign nationals, including the classes referred to in section 12, and may include provisions respecting

    (a) selection criteria, the weight, if any, to be given to all or some of those criteria, the procedures to be followed in evaluating all or some of those criteria and the circumstances in which an officer may substitute for those criteria their evaluation of the likelihood of a foreign national's ability to become economically established in Canada;

    (b) applications for visas and other documents and their issuance or refusal, with respect to foreign nationals and their family members;

    (c) the number of applications that may be processed or approved in a year, the number of visas and other documents that may be issued in a year, and the measures to be taken when that number is exceeded;

    (d) conditions that may or must be imposed, varied or cancelled, individually or by class, on foreign nationals;

    (e) sponsorships, undertakings, and penalties for failure to comply with undertakings;

    (f) deposits or guarantees of the performance of obligations under this Act that are to be given by any person to the Minister; and

    (g) any matter for which a recommendation to the Minister or a decision may or must be made by a designated person, institution or organization with respect to a foreign national or sponsor.