Canadian Court Rules Human Smuggling Laws “Too Broad”

The British Columbia Supreme Court has struck down a human smuggling statute in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, because it could result in refugee’s family members and humanitarian workers facing criminal charges for human smuggling.

New Refugee Laws

Photo from the Toronto Star

The Act was recently amended to make it tougher on human smugglers, who rarely set foot in Canada. The changes drew plenty of criticism from human rights organizations because while the changes were geared towards severely punishing human smugglers who bring refugees to Canada, they also violate the human rights of many refugees who come to Canada every year.

While the specific section, section 117 (which makes it a crime to help someone come to Canada without the proper paperwork) was not changed, this act by the British Columbia Supreme Court could mean that the Act needs rewriting.

Two men were on trial in British Columbia, accused of human smuggling after arriving in Canada via the Ocean Lady, along with 72 other people as refugees. The trials are now on hold as the British Columbia Supreme Court has indicated the section is way too “broad”.

The government is expected to appeal and take the chance to rewrite the law, because if they do not appeal it would make it legal to help people come to Canada without the proper documents.

More on this can be found in this Vancouver Sun column, available here.

Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.

Tags: Criminal Charges Immigration and Refugee Protection Act Refugee Laws Sun Sea Supreme Court

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the American Bar Association. He is frequently called upon to appear in the media to discuss Canadian and US immigration issues effecting North Americans. He has been interviewed by Canada AM, CTV, Canada News Net, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star and has given lectures on immigration topics overseas.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply