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Misrepresentation and Canadian Immigration

January 21, 2024 by Katie Enman, Immigration Consultant
Misrepresentation and Canadian Immigration

Misrepresentation and Canadian Immigration

Misrepresentation (or ‘misrep’ as commonly referred to amongst industry representatives) in the context of Canadian immigration refers to providing false or incomplete information or documentation during the immigration process. It’s a serious offense and can have significant consequences for the parties involved.

Misrepresentation cases in Canadian immigration are dealt with under Section 40 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). This section provides the legal basis for determining inadmissibility for misrepresentation. A finding of misrepresentation under section 40 of the IRPA results not only in the rejection of the application in question but also the determination the applicant is inadmissible to Canada for five years

Examples of misrepresentation

Misrepresentation can occur at various stages of the immigration process, such as applying for a temporary resident visa (visitor visa), work permit, study permit, permanent residency, or citizenship. Some examples of misrepresentation include:

  • False Information: Providing incorrect details about one's identity, education, work experience, or other relevant information.
  • Withholding Information: Intentionally omitting important information that is required on immigration forms or during interviews.
  • Using Fraudulent Documents: Submitting fake or altered documents, such as degrees, certificates, bank statements, or employment letters.
  • Misleading Statements: Making false or misleading statements in interviews or during interactions with immigration authorities.

Consequences of misrepresentation

Canada takes a strong stance against misrepresentation because it undermines the integrity of the immigration system. Penalties for misrepresentation can include:

  • Refusal of the application: If misrepresentation is discovered during the application process, the application may be denied.
  • Prohibition from entering Canada: Individuals found guilty of misrepresentation may be banned from entering Canada for a specific period, usually 5 years.
  • Revocation of status: If misrepresentation is discovered after obtaining permanent residency or citizenship, it can lead to the revocation of that status.
  • Deportation: Individuals found guilty of misrepresentation may face deportation.

It’s crucial for individuals applying for immigration to Canada to provide accurate and truthful information throughout the process. If there are changes in circumstances or errors in the application, it is advisable to inform the immigration authorities promptly to avoid the serious consequences associated with misrepresentation.

"Someone else completed my application and committed misrepresentation – am I still responsible?"

Yes. An applicant alone bears the burden of providing correct information in an application, even when a third party submits that information (Haghighat v. Canada).

In May 2023, roughly 700 international students from India found themselves duped by a fraudulent agent who helped them obtain their study permits by submitting a fake Letter of Acceptance from a Canadian school.

Despite public outcry and the push for government to crack down on ‘ghost consultants’, Federal Court upheld a decision by the Immigration & Refugee Board in Singh v. Canada, which found that while the student was not directly involved in the fraud, the misrep did not meet the legal test of an ‘innocent mistake’.

"I made a spelling mistake on my application – is this considered misrepresentation?"

In order to be considered misrepresentation, the error or omission must be material. As we’ve seen in Song. v. Canada, a misrepresentation does not need to be decisive or determinative to an application to be material; it only needs to be “important enough to affect the process” (Oloumi at para 36).

When in doubt, overshare!

If unsure what, how, or when to include information, honesty is the best policy. All online immigration applications allow for additional documents to be uploaded. This could include, for example, a Letter of Explanation detailing events or items that could not be easily explained in the forms. Since most Portals have character limitations, it’s often a good idea to include the full name of an address, school, or employer in an additional document than provide an abbreviation.

For help completing your immigration application, book a consult.

The article above is intended to provide general and non-case specific information on immigration related matters. It should not be used or relied on as formal legal advice.