Misrepresentation is a very serious matter under Canada’s immigration laws 

By Sukhram Ramkissoon

Sukhram Ramkissoon

Throughout my many years of practise in immigration matters I have encountered numerous persons who have been removed from Canada because of misrepresentation, which comes with an automatic bar from making any type of application under immigration laws for a period of five years. So, it is very a serious matter, which can have a devastating effect on lives of family reunification.

I often write about this subject and how it applies to different scenarios, because I believe many do not understand the ramifications and consequences misrepresentation may have on their personal situations.

It is the duty of all applicants to be responsible for truth and accurate information contained in their applications, regardless of whether they personally prepare them, or outsource them to third parties, such as immigration consultants or lawyers. This is captured by the phrase, “indirect misrepresentation.”  The onus of submitting true and complete information and ensuring that their application complies with the legislation rests on the applicant.

Let us look at a case where the Minister alleged that misrepresentation was contained in Jane’s (not real name) application for permanent resident status. She was sponsored in Canada by her spouse, John (not real name). The Minister alleged that Jane failed to declare in her application made in 2016 and during subsequent opportunities, that she was married to an individual named Harry (not real name) prior to marrying John and that she had a child with Harry, named Frank (not real name) born in 2012.

On Jane’s application for permanent residence, she was asked “Have you previously been married or in a common-law relationship?” and she marked “No”. Jane declared that the information she provided in the form was truthful, complete, and correct by signing and dating an attestation in March 2016.

In a form titled “Additional Family Information” that accompanies an application for permanent residence, Jane was directed to “Include ALL sons and daughters, including ALL adopted and step-children, regardless of age or place of residence.” Jane only included her stepdaughter Rose in this section. Jane again certified that the information contained on the document was complete, accurate and factual by signing and dating in the appropriate fields.

In December 2020 IRCC directed Jane to complete a new “Additional Family Information” form, providing her with an additional opportunity to declare her son Frank. Jane completed the form, and included her two Canadian born children within section B. However, she did not declare the existence of Frank. This form was also signed in December 2020 by Jane.

The fact Jane was previously married and had a child from this previous marriage was not in dispute between the parties and was established by the documentary evidence. It was therefore clear that Frank was not declared on two “Additional Family Information” forms. Canada Border Services invoked an Admissibility Hearing to determine whether Jane misrepresented certain information on her application forms and found she did so by not declaring her previous spouse and child.

At the hearing Jane testified that the reason she failed to declare her ex-spouse and child was because the Immigration Consultant she retained merely copied the information from a temporary resident visa form that had been prepared by a different immigration consultant.  Jane testified that she had told the consultant who prepared the temporary resident visa application that she did have a former spouse and another child, but this consultant advised her it was unnecessary to include this information on the form. 

Jane further testified that she did not read the permanent resident visa application forms prior to signing them, and hence was not aware that the erroneous information had been copied from the previous applications. She merely signed the documents where she was told to sign, without reading the documents first.

At an admissibility hearing the member found that the information misrepresented by Jane relates to relevant matters that could have induced an error in the administration of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and its Regulations (IRPA/R). Information pertaining to family composition is relevant to a decision to approve an application for permanent residence, as it is a requirement of the regulations that an individual seeking to become a permanent resident establish whether their family members, whether accompanying or not, are not inadmissible. By providing incorrect information to IRCC with respect to her family composition, Jane could have induced an error in the administration of the Act.

Jane was issued an Exclusion Order and barred from making any type of application relating to Canadian Immigration and Citizenship.  

As I stated it is indeed very serious and devastating, as the consequences of this error could have been easily alleviated if Jane was truthful in her application for permanent residence and explain why there were errors in her temporary resident visa.  Although Jane’s explanation lied in the fault of her representative, however she testified that she did not read the information and signed these documents, as if it were truthful and correct – when it was false.

I cannot stress enough to my readers; it is very important to answer truthfully to all questions and provide truthful information on any immigration form and provide truthful answers to an immigration officer.

SUKHRAM RAMKISSOON is a member of CICC and specialises in Immigration Matters at No. 3089 Bathurst Street, Suite 219A, Toronto, Ontario. Phone 416 789 5756.