Canada shares a land border with one other country: the United States, as well as links to the rest of the world via ships and planes. Points of Entry into Canada, whether at the land border or in other countries, are governed by the Canada Border Services Agency, for both people and cargo (i.e prohibited items). In this post, I will overview the process, because entering Canada is an inevitable step for any immigrant, yet is separate from and apart from IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada)'s purview.
When someone arrives at a border, CBSA officials can ask questions of them, search their vehicles, luggage, or electronic devices, in order to look for any inconsistencies in a person's story. As they have the discretion to deny a person entry irrespective of whether they were given permission by IRCC, the importance of telling them the truth is absolutely vital. Although regular travelers to Canada, and those entering from the United States, can bypass much of this process upon certain applications, entering Canada is never a casual matter.
For non-citizens, entry is generally more stringent than for citizens, as a Canadian passport gives . Temporary visitors have to convince an officer that the reasons for their entry match their approved visa. Someone entering Canada on a study permit, for example, has to convince the border agent that they are in fact going to study, with evidence such an invitation from the school, proof of tuition payment, housing papers, etc. Much of this information should already be available from the original application, but having it at in an organized package during a crossing will make the process much simpler and easier.
As your lawyer, I will create a Port of Entry package tailored to your specific needs. For people in more complex situations, such as asylum seekers, those who have been previously refused entry to Canada, or with a criminal conviction in their past, the legal ramifications of anything they disclose at the border can be very serious, and it is especially important to have the backing of experienced counsel, both in preparing for any interview with CBSA officers, and to provide relevant legal authorities, including guidelines, regulations, and laws, to increase their chances of being allowed in.
This blog details the many legal issues among Luka's practice areas, for a general audience. None of this information is a substitute for legal advice.