Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
For the delegation by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration of collection powers contained in sections 146 and 147 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to officials of the Canada Revenue Agency for the purpose of recovering outstanding sponsorship debts owing to provinces and territories
THE CANADA REVENUE AGENCY
represented by the Commissioner of Revenue and herein referred to as the “CRA”
CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION CANADA
represented by the Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and hereinafter referred to as “CIC”
Effective Date: June 23, 2006
Under CIC’s sponsored immigrant program, Canadian citizens and permanent residents are permitted to sponsor close family members who wish to become permanent residents of Canada. The person who sponsors a family member under the sponsorship program must sign a written agreement (the sponsorship undertaking) which provides that he or she will support the family member for a period between three (3) to ten (10) years. If the sponsored family member(s) receives social assistance benefits during the sponsorship validity period, the sponsor is considered to be in default and a debt arises pursuant to subsection 145(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) with respect to these benefits, which is payable on demand to the government concerned.
WHEREAS the federal government is committed to taking proactive steps to enforce sponsorship undertakings, deter default of sponsorship undertakings, and minimize social assistance costs to provinces and territories;
WHEREAS subsection 6(1) of the IRPA permits the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (the Minister) to designate any persons or class of persons as officers to carry out any purpose of any provision of this Act, and shall specify the powers and duties of the officers so designated;
WHEREAS subsection 6(2) of the IRPA permits the Minister to delegate anything that may be done by the Minister under the Act to a person so authorized by the Minister in writing;
WHEREAS subsection 145(2) of IRPA stipulates that an amount that a sponsor is required to pay under the terms of an undertaking is payable on demand to Her Majesty in right of Canada and Her Majesty in right of the province concerned and may be recovered by Her Majesty in either or both of those rights;
WHEREAS section 146 of IRPA provides that an amount or part of an amount payable under this Act that has not been paid may be certified by the Minister without delay, if the Minister is of the opinion that the person liable for that amount is attempting to avoid payment; and in any other case, on the expiration of thirty (30) days after the default. The certificate is to be filed and registered in the Federal Court and when registered, has the same force and effect, and all proceedings may be taken as if the certificate were a judgment obtained in the Court for a debt of the amount specified in the certificate plus interest to the day of payment. The costs of registering the certificate are recoverable in the same manner as if they had been included in the certificate;
WHEREAS section 147 of IRPA provides that if the Minister is of the opinion that a person is or is about to become liable to make a payment to a person liable to make a payment under this Act, the Minister may, by written notice, order the first person to pay to the Receiver General, on account of the second person’s liability, all or part of the money otherwise payable to the second person. If the Minister orders an employer to pay to the Receiver General money otherwise payable to an employee as remuneration, the order is applicable to all future payments of remuneration until the liability is satisfied, and the employer shall pay to the Receiver General out of each payment of remuneration the amount that the Minister stipulates in the notice;
WHEREAS the CRA wishes the officials listed in Appendix A to be provided with certain powers from the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to recover outstanding sponsorship debts that are due to Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province under the IRPA in order to undertake the collection of outstanding sponsorship debts for provinces and territories;
WHEREAS section 61 of the Canada Revenue Agency Act authorizes the CRA to enter into contracts, agreements or other arrangements with governments, public or private organizations and agencies or any person in the name of Her Majesty in right of Canada or in its own name;
WHEREAS the CRA is responsible for implementing agreements between the CRA and departments or agencies of the Government of Canada for the purpose of carrying out an activity or program under paragraph 5(1)(c) of the Canada Revenue Agency Act;
WHEREAS under subsection 5(2) of the Canada Revenue Agency Act, the CRA may provide any support, advice and services that can be provided in the course of carrying out its mandate;
AND WHEREAS this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will contribute to:
(a) aiding in the enforcement of sponsorship obligations and the deterrence of sponsorship defaults; and
(b) enabling the CRA to be in a position to offer assistance to provinces and territories for the collection of their sponsorship debts;
Therefore the CRA and CIC agree as follows:
1. The purpose of this MOU is to delegate the powers of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, relating to sections 146 and 147 of the IRPA, to officials of the CRA for the purpose of recovering outstanding sponsorship debts owing to provinces and territories.
2. With these delegations, the CRA will enter into discussions with provinces and territories for the collection of their outstanding sponsorship debts.
3. For the purposes of this MOU and its Appendices, the following terms shall have the meaning as described below:
“Commissioner” (commissaire) means the Commissioner of Revenue of the Canada Revenue Agency;
“delegated officials” (fonctionnaires délégués) means the CRA officials who have been authorized by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada to administer the sponsorship debts initiative, as set out in Appendix A;
“sponsorship debt” (dette de parrainage) means the debt incurred by a sponsor (and co-signer, as applicable) as a result of a breach of their sponsorship obligations, as outlined in their sponsorship undertaking. Specifically, the debt owing by a sponsor (and co-signer, as applicable) to the government concerned, as calculated by that government, that made a social assistance payment to that sponsor’s sponsored family member(s);
“sponsorship obligations” (obligations de parrainage) means the specific obligations, outlined in the sponsorship undertaking, by which the sponsor (and co-signer, as applicable) commits to provide for their sponsored family member(s) for the duration of the validity period of the undertaking;
“taxpayer information” (renseignement confidentiel) means any information of any kind and in any form relating to one or more taxpayers that is:
(a) obtained by or on behalf of the Minister of National Revenue for purposes of the Income Tax Act (Canada); or
(b) prepared from information referred to in paragraph (a);
but does not include information that does not directly or indirectly reveal the identity of the taxpayer to whom it relates; and
“undertaking” (engagement) means the binding document, included as part of the sponsorship application and valid for a prescribed period of time, wherein the sponsor (and co-signer, as applicable) promises to provide for the basic requirements of the sponsored family member(s) and to ensure that they are not dependent on social assistance, and incorporates the meaning of “undertaking” as it is understood in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations and Quebec’s Regulation respecting the selection of foreign nationals.
4. The role of CIC is to:
(a) develop and implement, in consultation with the CRA, any communication products related to this initiative;
(b) respond to technical or policy questions related to this initiative that are referred to CIC by the CRA; and
(c) consult with the CRA on proposed legislative amendments affecting the collection of sponsorship debts.
5. The role of the delegated officials from the CRA is to:
(a) use the powers delegated by CIC for the purpose of recovering outstanding sponsorship debts, on behalf of provinces and territories, while taking into account all relevant CIC policies and guidelines;
(b) forward to the designated CIC official responsible for the overall administration of this MOU as listed in Appendix B, in writing, any question regarding the policy intent of the sponsorship debt initiative and legislation, as both are the responsibility of CIC; and
(c) upon the request of CIC, forward information respecting the number and total amount of sponsorship debts recovered to the designated CIC official responsible for receiving statistical reports, as listed in Appendix B.
Use of taxpayer information
6. The CRA will not use or disclose taxpayer information for the purposes of this MOU.
7. Each party to this MOU shall be responsible for any third party liability that may arise as a result of the actions or omissions of their respective officers, employees or agents in respect of the implementation of this MOU.
8. The CRA and CIC may designate, from time to time, officials who are the points of contact for the purposes of this MOU. Appendix B lists the officials designated by CIC and the CRA.
9. Appendix B designates those officials responsible for dispute resolution. Any disagreement that cannot be initially resolved at the functional level should be elevated to the Deputy Minister of CIC and Commissioner of the CRA for resolution.
Nature of this MOU
10. This MOU is an administrative understanding between the CIC and CRA and is not intended to be legally binding or enforceable before the Courts.
11. The Appendices to this MOU form part of this MOU.
12. A successor party to this MOU is bound by this MOU.
Effective date, amendments and termination
13. This MOU shall come into effect on the date of last signature and shall remain in effect until terminated by the parties in accordance with clause 15 of this MOU.
14. This MOU, and Appendices A and B to this MOU, may be amended at any time with the mutual consent of the CRA and CIC, and such amendments may be effected by an exchange of letters between the designated officials listed in Appendix B.
15. This MOU will be terminated six months from the date one party gives written notice to the other party of their intention that the MOU be terminated. For this purpose, notice must be given by a person occupying the position of the signatory to this MOU. This MOU may be terminated at any time, with the mutual consent of the CRA and CIC, through an exchange of letters between the persons occupying the positions of the signatories to this MOU.
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