Organized criminality can lead to deportation

Immigation Matters Sukhram Ramkioon

Organized criminality can lead to deportation

Sukhram Ramkissoon

In this week’s column, I will discuss some of the circumstances in which a landed immigrant may  be deported for organized criminality under the Immigration Refugee and Protection Act.

First of all, let us look at Canadian  immigration law with respect to organized criminality. It says as follows:

 
37 (1) A permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible on grounds of organized criminality for
(a) being a member of an organization that is believed on reasonable grounds to be or to have been engaged in activity that is part of a pattern of criminal activity planned and organized by a number of persons acting in concert in furtherance of the commission of an offence punishable under an Act of Parliament by way of indictment, or in furtherance of the commission of an offence outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would constitute such an offence, or engaging in activity that is part of such a pattern; or
(b) engaging, in the context of transnational crime, in activities such as people smuggling, trafficking in persons, or laundering of money or other proceeds of crime.

Now let us turn to a recent Federal court caase that deals with this subject. Let us call it the case of Miss X.

A citizen of the People’s Republic of China, Miss X came to Canada as a live-in caregiver and was granted permanent residence in October 2009.   During the period June 2010 – June 2012, she was employed by Sunny who owned New Can Consultants Ltd and was in the business of immigration consulting.

Miss X ‘s  responsibilities for New Can included:

  • finding addresses to receive letters from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) on behalf of clients who had applied through New Can for permanent residence.
  • forwarding such correspondence to New Can.
  • providing New Can clients with transportation to and from the Calgary airport and CIC offices.
  • acquiring telephone numbers for the alleged purpose of being used by New Can employees.

 In 2015, Sunny pleaded guilty to 15 separate offences, including indictable offences. Sunny had entered into an agreed statement of facts (ASF) prepared for the BC Provincial Court proceeding against him.

 Although not a party to the ASF, Miss X was listed in it by name as having provided six addresses and four telephone numbers to New Can for the purpose of receiving mail and telephone calls on behalf of Sunny’s clients. In addition, there were copies of emails between Sunny” and Miss X concerning correspondence received at the addresses as well as pickup and delivery times at the Calgary airport for clients of New Can.  Miss X also submitted her invoices by email to Sunny.They did not meet in person.

In January 2018, a CBSA officer made a Section 44 IRPA report  stating that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Miss X , a permanent resident, was inadmissible to Canada on grounds of organized criminality.

At an inadmissibility hearing in 2019, the ASF was before the Immigration Division. In addition, Miss X who was represented by counsel, filed an affidavit with the ID, testified in person and was cross-examined.  Miss X confirmed the dates she worked for New Can and conceded that Sunny and New Can engaged in illegal immigration consulting for profit, as well as misrepresentation, forgery, and fraud all directed toward overcoming the legal residency obligations for permanent residency and citizenship in Canada.

 However, Miss X advised the Panel that she “did not maintain the requisite knowledge component for having been engaged in activity that is part of a pattern of criminal activity planned and organized by a number of persons acting in concert in furtherance of the commission of an offence”.

The Minister advised the ID that he was not alleging that Miss X was a member of a criminal organization but  that Miss X had engaged in activity that was part of a pattern of criminal activity planned and organized by Sunny and associates in furtherance of the commission in Canada of offences, including misrepresentation and fraud, which are indictable offences under Criminal Code of Canada.

In June 2019, the ID concluded there were “reasonable grounds to believe that Miss X   engaged in activity that was part of a pattern of criminal activity planned and organized by a number of persons acting in concert in furtherance of the commission of an offence punishable under an Act of Parliament by way of indictment.”

 After reviewing various details concerning Miss X activities, and her interactions with Sunny,  the ID found that the activities were all intended to mislead immigration officials about the clients’ residency so that they could acquire or maintain immigration status without actually fulfilling the requirements. The ID noted this amounted to misrepresentation and fraud which are indictable offences under the IRPA and under the Code.

 The ID stated that that “in terms of her knowledge, what is relevant is not whether she knew the organization’s activities were illegal (ignorance of the law is not an excuse), but her knowledge of the organization’s existence and of its pattern of activities, knowledge which she in fact possessed.”

 A further example is that  Sunny gave Miss X instructions to assist clients arriving in Calgary by driving them around a specific address, which the ID noted was presumably their false “home” address. Sunny also instructed the applicant to tell the client the name of a well-known local mall in support of his story that he had opened a food court there and mentioned that the client’s daughter had already been coached.

 As such, the ID concluded that Miss X was inadmissible to Canada for having “been engaged in activity that is part of a pattern of criminal activity planned and organized by a number of persons acting in concert” and issued a deportation order against her.  

Miss X sought judicial review of this decision, which was dismissed, and she is now facing removal from Canada.

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