Serious Criminality

Last updated: 30 June 2021

A foreign national or permanent resident may be criminally inadmissible or removable from Canada, as the case may be, on the grounds of serious criminality.

Serious criminality is designated to offences or convictions determined to be severe by Canadian immigration authorities when translated to the equivalent Canadian law. The most common examples are: theft or fraud over $5,000, any crime involving abuse or with a weapon, domestic violence, drug trafficking or sale, sexual assault. 

Offences with a maximum imposable prison sentence in Canada of ten years or more are considered serious criminality. The maximum imposable prison sentence is the primary distinction used when determining whether a crime is considered serious criminality or not.

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Serious Criminality: Reasons for Inadmissibility or Grounds for Removal from Canada

The following is an overview of serious offences that can deem one inadmissible to Canada or subject to a removal order:

For convictions within Canada, if they have:

  • Been convicted in Canada of an indictable offence punishable by a maximum sentence of at least ten years; or
  • Been convicted in Canada and received a prison term of at least six months.

For convictions outside Canada, if they have:

  • Been convicted outside Canada of an act that, if committed in Canada, would be equivalent to a indictable offence punishable by a maximum sentence of at least ten years; or
  • Been convicted outside Canada of an act that, if committed in Canada, would be equivalent to a hybrid offence punishable by a maximum sentence of at least ten years.

For criminal acts committed outside Canada, if they have:

  • Committed an act outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would be equivalent to an indictable offence punishable by a maximum sentence of at least ten years.

Remedies for Serious Criminality to Support your Canadian Admissibility

Serious criminality must always be addressed by way of a Temporary Resident permit (TRP) OR criminal rehabilitation application, as a foreign national can never be deemed rehabilitated by the passage of time.

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Campbell Cohen uses its expertise to help clients overcome inadmissibility issues. Our team of inadmissibility lawyers and professionals will work to understand your situation and then submit the strongest possible application to Canadian immigration authorities.

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