Operational Bulletin 202 (modified) - September 2, 2016
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
Instruction to Immigration Officers in Canada on processing cases involving military deserters
This operational bulletin provides immigration officers in Canada with instructions on processing cases involving military deserters.
Some individuals who may have deserted the military or who may have committed an offence equivalent to desertion of the military in their country of origin have sought refuge in Canada. Desertion is an offence in Canada under the National Defence Act (NDA). The maximum punishment for desertion under section 88 of the NDA is life imprisonment, if the person committed the offence on active service or under orders for active service. Consequently, persons who have deserted the military in their country of origin may be inadmissible to Canada under section 36(1)(b) or 36(1)(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Many of the persons in our current case inventory have had their refugee claims heard and have subsequently applied for permanent residence in Canada based on humanitarian and compassionate considerations. Some have also applied for permanent residence in Canada as members of the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class. Others have filed Pre-removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) applications when faced with removal from Canada. These applications are at various stages of processing either in the regions or at CPC-Vegreville.
All cases which have come to the attention of the Case Management Branch (CMB) have been identified in FOSS via a non-computer based entry.
Processing applications for permanent residence in Canada
Given the complexity of equating either a conviction for desertion or the commission of an act constituting an offence of desertion under a foreign law with an offence under an Act of Parliament (the National Defence Act), officers are instructed to contact their Regional Program Advisor (RPA) for guidance when processing applications for permanent residence in Canada made by military deserters. Officers are also instructed to copy the Case Review Division of the CMB on their initial communication with their RPA.
Processing claims for refugee protection in Canada
Notification of all new claims for refugee protection by military deserters and any updates to these refugee claims including PRRA applications must be provided to CMB using the existing guidelines on processing high profile, contentious and sensitive cases (OP 1, section 15).
In accordance with current instructions with respect to cases where a personal interview or an in-depth investigation may be required, CPC-Vegreville is asked to transfer applications filed by military deserters to the appropriate inland CIC for processing.
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