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Canada - Crimes associated with Migration

The Government of Canada has developed important tools in combating migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons as set out in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (2002) and the Criminal Code (2005). The strategy is based on the prevention of trafficking in persons, protection of victims, prosecution of traffickers and collaboration with key partners.

With regard to the crime of trafficking in persons, the first law that criminalized the offense was adopted in 2002. It was not until 2005, however, that Canada adopted amendments to cover all forms of trafficking. To reach these objectives, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police created the National Coordinating Centre for Human Trafficking and the Interdepartmental Working Group on Trafficking in Persons to facilitate government coordination in combating this crime. To assist victims of human trafficking, the federal government provides a temporary immigration status and work permit for up to six months, as well as medical and psychological support.

Part three of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act addresses the enforcement of Human Smuggling and Trafficking regulations.

Migrant Smuggling

Section 117 states that no person shall knowingly organise, induce, aid or abet the entry to Canada of one or more persons who are not in possession of a visa, passport or other document required by law.

The person who contravenes the above regulation with respect to fewer than 10 persons is guilty of an offence and liable:

  1. on conviction on indictment
    1. for a first offence, to a fine of not more than $500,000 or to a term of imprisonment of not more than 10 years, or to both, or
    2. for a subsequent offence, to a fine of not more than $1,000,000 or to a term of imprisonment of not more than 14 years, or to both; and
  2. on summary conviction, to a fine of not more than $100,000 or to a term of imprisonment of not more than two years, or to both.

The person who contravenes the above regulation with respect to 10 persons or more is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction by way of indictment to a fine of not more than $1,000,000 or to life imprisonment, or to both.

Trafficking in persons

According to section 118; no person shall knowingly organise the entry to Canada of one or more persons by means of abduction, fraud, deception or use or threat of force or coercion.

“Organise”, with respect to persons, includes their recruitment or transportation and, after their entry into Canada, the receipt or harbouring of those persons.

Offences Related to Documents

According to section 122 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act no person shall possess a passport, visa or other document, of Canadian or foreign origin, that purports to establish or that could be used to establish a person’s identity; use such a document, including for the purpose of entering or remaining in Canada; or import, export or deal in such a document.

Proof of the matters referred above in relation to a forged document or a document that is blank, incomplete, altered or not genuine is, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, proof that the person intends to contravene the law.

Every person who contravenes section 122 is guilty of an offence and liable for conviction on indictment to a term of imprisonment of up to 14 years.

Aggravating factors

The court, in determining the penalty to be imposed, shall take into account whether

  1. the commission of the offence was for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with a criminal organization
  2. the commission of the offence was for profit, whether or not any profit was realized.