Bill S-8: An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, to make consequential amendments to other Acts and to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations

Tabled in the Senate, June 9, 2022

Explanatory Note

Section 4.2 of the Department of Justice Act requires the Minister of Justice to prepare a Charter Statement for every government bill to help inform public and Parliamentary debate on government bills. One of the Minister of Justice’s most important responsibilities is to examine legislation for inconsistency with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [“the Charter”]. By tabling a Charter Statement, the Minister is sharing some of the key considerations that informed the review of a bill for inconsistency with the Charter. A Statement identifies Charter rights and freedoms that may potentially be engaged by a bill and provides a brief explanation of the nature of any engagement, in light of the measures being proposed.

A Charter Statement also identifies potential justifications for any limits a bill may impose on Charter rights and freedoms. Section 1 of the Charter provides that rights and freedoms may be subject to reasonable limits if those limits are prescribed by law and demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. This means that Parliament may enact laws that limit Charter rights and freedoms. The Charter will be violated only where a limit is not demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society.

A Charter Statement is intended to provide legal information to the public and Parliament on a bill’s potential effects on rights and freedoms that are neither trivial nor too speculative. It is not intended to be a comprehensive overview of all conceivable Charter considerations. Additional considerations relevant to the constitutionality of a bill may also arise in the course of Parliamentary study and amendment of a bill. A Statement is not a legal opinion on the constitutionality of a bill.

Charter Considerations

The Minister of Justice has examined Bill S-8, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, to make consequential amendments to other Acts and to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations,for any inconsistency with the Charter. This review involved consideration of the objectives and features of the Bill.

Bill S-8 would amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to ensure foreign nationals subject to sanctions under the Special Economic Measures Act are inadmissible to Canada. These amendments would allow the Canada Border Services Agency to deny entry to, and remove, individuals subjected to sanctions, and would allow Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada officials to deny temporary resident and permanent resident visas overseas, and to refuse various type of immigration applications made in Canada.

In reviewing the Bill, the Minister has not identified any potential effects on Charter rights and freedoms. Foreign nationals outside the country have no Charterright to enter Canada, and foreign nationals inside the country have no Charterright to remain in Canada. Foreign nationals who are inadmissible to Canada due to sanctions would still be eligible to have a refugee claim considered by the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board, and would have access to a full pre-removal risk assessment.