Not all criminal instances result in inadmissibility to Canada.

In many situations, it is important to know whether the accused was convicted for the crime or not. An accused is only considered convicted if a court finds them guilty and imposes sentences. For example, if the accused is found guilty by the court, but the judge gives an absolute discharge, it is not considered a conviction and therefore does not make a person inadmissible class in Canada under immigration laws.

If a permanent resident of Canada received a conviction from a crime where Criminal Code of Canada stipulates maximum sentence of less than 10 years and the actual jail time spent is less than 6 months, then a person is not inadmissible class in Canada.

If a permanent resident of Canada was held under the section of the Criminal Code that stipulates more or equal to 10 years of imprisonment, it makes a convicted person inadmissible class in Canada, even though they might have spent lesser than 6 months in actual imprisonment.

Summary offences do not make a person inadmissible under immigration laws of Canada.

Hybrid offences whether they are prosecuted by summary convictions or by indictment may make a person inadmissible because Canadian immigration laws automatically treat them as an indictable crime.

Foreign nationals in Canada or those who apply from outside of Canada for any immigration program are treated slightly different under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. If a foreign national committed and was convicted of an offence in their country or in Canada for a crime that constitutes summary offence (not a hybrid), then they may proceed with their application because the conviction does not make them inadmissible class in Canada. If however a foreign national committed two crimes (the offences that arise out of different occurrences) under summary conviction umbrella, it makes them inadmissible. Hybrid and indictable convictions have similar impact on a foreigner as to a permanent resident.

Interesting to point out that refugee claimants in Canada, although they can be found inadmissible class (if they are convicted of a crime where maximum sentence of the statue stipulates less than 10 years of imprisonment, or they were convicted of two summary offences not arising out of a single occurrence), will not be prohibited from continuation of their refugee claim.  It means that the refugee can proceed with their claim and, if their fear of persecution is well founded, they will remain in Canada. The inadmissibility will only impact their ability to file for permanent residency.


Understanding impact of criminal convictions on Canadian immigration
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