Disputed immigration provision requires link to national security, Supreme Court says

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada says a provision of federal immigration law can be used to bar people on security grounds for engaging in violence only when there is a clear connection to national security.

The decision comes today in a ruling on two cases that began with administrative rulings under a section of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

The section of the law says permanent residents or foreign nationals are inadmissible on security grounds for engaging in acts of violence that could endanger the lives or safety of people in Canada.

In one case, which stemmed from a barroom altercation, the Immigration Appeal Division agreed with the immigration minister that the section applies even when there is no nexus with national security.

The same interpretation was applied in the second case, involving allegations of intimate partner violence — meaning both men were found inadmissible to Canada.

In its decision, the Supreme Court says the Immigration Appeal Division's interpretation was unreasonable and would have significantly expanded the grounds for deportation of foreign nationals or permanent residents.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 27, 2023.

The Canadian Press