Government of Canada

Government of Canada

October 22, 2010 13:35 ET

Minister Moore Meets With Community to Discuss Preventing Human Smugglers From Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act

VANCOUVER, BRITISH-COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 22, 2010) - Today, the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, met with members of the community to discuss Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act, the Harper Government's commitment to crack down on human smugglers who seek to abuse Canada's immigration system.

"For British Columbians, the reality of human smugglers abusing our generous immigration system literally hits very close to home," said Minister Moore. "That's why this fair, reasonable but tough legislation will be good for British Columbia. It sends a strong message to human smugglers and those who are thinking about abusing Canada's generous immigration system — don't do it."

The Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act will ensure law enforcement have the tools they need to crack down on human smugglers. The new measures in the proposed legislation include:

  • Making it easier to prosecute human smugglers;

  • Imposing mandatory prison sentences on convicted human smugglers; and

  • Holding ship owners and operators to account for use of their ships in human smuggling operations.

The Act will also help to ensure the safety and security of Canadian communities by:

  • Ensuring mandatory detention of illegal migrants for up to one year to allow for the determination of identity, inadmissibility and illegal activity.

The Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act also contains numerous measures to deter individuals from using human smugglers to come to Canada. Included are the following deterrence measures that would specifically apply to illegal migrants who come to Canada by way of a human smuggling operation: 

  • Seeking to ensure that illegal migrants who obtain refugee status can be re-assessed within five years to determine whether they still need protection or can be returned to their country of origin;
  • Ensuring that the health benefits the illegal migrants receive are not more generous than those received by the Canadian public from the government;
  • Ensuring that refugee or refugee applicants who were illegal migrants are not able to come back to Canada if they return to the country from which they sought refuge, or if they demonstrate in other ways that they are not legitimately in need of Canada's protection; and
  • Preventing illegal migrants from sponsoring family members for five years.

"Human smuggling and other abuses of Canada's immigration system cannot and will not be tolerated," said Minister Moore. "Our government's action will prevent the abuse of Canada's immigration system by human smugglers, while allowing us to continue offering protection to the world's most vulnerable."

In addition, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has appointed a Special Advisor on Human Smuggling and Illegal Migration, Mr. Ward P.D. Elcock, as part of the Government's efforts to strengthen Canada's ability to detect human smuggling operations overseas and prevent them from reaching Canada. The Special Advisor will advance Canada's engagement with governments in source and transit countries, partner states and in regional and/or international fora which address human smuggling.

Contact Information

  • Public Safety Canada
    Media Relations
    Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    Communications Branch
    Media Relations