Government of Canada

Government of Canada

June 16, 2011 13:07 ET

Government of Canada Takes Action to Prevent Human Smugglers From Abusing Canada's Immigration System

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 16, 2011) - The Honourable Vic Toews, Canada's Minister of Public Safety, and the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, today re-introduced legislation to prevent human smugglers from abusing Canada's immigration system.

"This government continues to be absolutely clear. Human smuggling is a despicable crime and any attempts to abuse Canada's generosity for financial gain will not be tolerated," said Minister Toews. "By re-introducing this legislation we are sending a clear message that our doors are open to those who play by the rules - including all legitimate refugees. However, we will crack down on those who endanger human lives and threaten the integrity of our borders."

Since October 10, 2010, when the Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act was first introduced, the RCMP announced, on June 14, 2011, the arrest of four individuals in connection with the migrant smuggling vessel, the Ocean Lady.

"Canadians gave us a strong mandate to prevent the abuse of our generous immigration system," said Minister Kenney. "Canadians have told us this abuse of our generosity is a real problem that must be stopped. Canada is a compassionate nation of immigrants with a proud history and tradition of welcoming refugees. At the same time, every sovereign country has a responsibility to protect its borders, and no Canadian thinks it's acceptable for criminals to abuse Canada's immigration system for financial gain."

With the proposed Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act, the Government of Canada is cracking down on human smugglers with a number of new measures:

  • Making it easier to prosecute human smugglers and introducing mandatory minimum sentences for convicted human smugglers;
  • Making ship owners and operators liable for use of their ships in human smuggling;
  • Establishing mandatory detention of irregular mass arrivals to allow for the determination of identity and admissibility of illegal migrants and any other investigations;
  • Preventing illegal migrants who are part of a smuggling operation from obtaining permanent resident status or bringing their family members to Canada for a period of five years;
  • Ensuring that the medical benefits received are not more generous than those received by the average Canadian; and
  • Revoking the refugee status of individuals who no longer require Canada's protection — for example, should they leave Canada to return to their country of origin or should country conditions change.

The Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act and backgrounders can be consulted at www.publicsafety.gc.ca.

Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    Public Safety Canada
    613-991-0657

    Media Relations
    Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    613-952-1650

    Minister's Office
    Public Safety Canada
    613-991-2924

    Minister's Office
    Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    613-954-1064