Criminal history relevant when applying for work permit

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

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Dear Mr Brown:

I am a 35-year-old male born in Jamaica. I was detained by the police once for drugs in Canada, but I was not arrested or convicted of anything. I am now applying for a work permit. I would like to know whether being detained is the same as being arrested and if it will affect my application for a work permit.

— PG

Dear PG:

It is not clear whether you were detained at the airport upon entry or at a subsequent time during your temporary stay in Canada. Therefore, my response will be general.

However, to address your specific question, I will state that Canadian immigration laws seek, amongst other things, to protect the health and safety of Canadians and to maintain the security of Canadian society. As such, criminal history is relevant when assessing an application for a work permit. It does not mean that your application will necessarily be refused, however, even though you were not arrested, you must include the information regarding your detention in your application. Otherwise, you risk a refusal and a five-year ban for misrepresentation.

Detention may involve holding someone for questioning and investigation, whilst an arrest involves being charged and taken into custody. As such, a detention will not be stated on a police record.

Detention without warrant on entry into Canada

A foreign national may, on entry into Canada, be detained if an officer:

• Considers it necessary to do so in order for an examination to be completed; or

• Has reasonable grounds to suspect that the permanent resident or foreign national is inadmissible on grounds of security or for violating human or international rights.

The principles which guide detention include:

1. Detained individuals should be treated with dignity and respect;

2. Detained individuals should be detained in an environment that is safe and secure;

3. Detention should be conducted in a transparent manner, while respecting the privacy of the people detained;

5. Detained individuals should be informed of their legal rights, be given an opportunity to exercise their rights and should be informed of the status of their case;

6. Detained individuals should have access to providing feedback; and

7. There should be reasonable efforts to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of detained individuals in a way that is culturally appropriate.

Please visit for additional information on Canadian permanent Residence programmes, including Express Entry, the Study & Work programme, visas or appeals, etc.

Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM — a Canadian immigration & education firm in Kingston. Send questions or comments to j




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