Appealing a removal order based on a criminal conviction in Canada

In this type of appeal, the Immigration Division decided that you are inadmissible to remain in Canada because you were convicted of a serious crime in Canada. Being inadmissible means you may be removed from Canada, or refused entry, should you wish to enter Canada.

Because of this decision, you received a removal order. This requires you to leave Canada.

You may have the right to appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD).

To win your appeal, you have 2 options:

  • show that you were not convicted of a serious crime, as decided by the IAD
  • show that there are humanitarian and compassionate reasons for your appeal

Below you will find important information that can help you prepare to make your appeal.

On this page

Show that you were not convicted of a serious crime, as decided by the IAD

A serious crime is:

  • one that has a maximum prison term of 10 years or more, or
  • a crime for which you are sentenced for more than six months

If you believe you have not been convicted of a serious crime, you will need to present supporting evidence.

Show that there are humanitarian and compassionate reasons for your appeal

You may also be able to show the IAD that there are enough humanitarian and compassionate reasons to allow your appeal or to put your removal order on hold, which is called a stay, even if you committed a serious crime.

Here are some factors the IAD may consider reaching a decision:

  • How serious is your crime?
  • Can you be rehabilitated and live a productive life without committing more crimes?
  • Do you feel remorse for your criminal behaviour?
  • Do you understand the impact of your crime on any victims?
  • How well established are you in Canada? For example, how long have you lived here? Do you have assets here? Have you held jobs or been involved in the community?
  • Will you suffer hardship in your home country if you are removed from Canada?
  • How will your removal affect family members in Canada, including any children you have?
  • How much support do you have in Canada from family and others in your community?

Provide evidence that will help you prove your humanitarian and compassionate reasons

Your evidence for humanitarian and compassionate reasons can take the form of documents or testimony from you or your witnesses.

Show that there is a possibility of rehabilitation

Describe the steps you took or plan to take to rehabilitate yourself. For example, this might include:

  • attending counselling sessions for drug or alcohol abuse, anger management, or any mental health conditions
  • showing your willingness to make changes to your day-to-day life to support your rehabilitation, such as maintaining or seeking employment, changing your living arrangements, or no longer associating with certain people 

Evidence might include copies of reports from counsellors, parole officers, or probation officers.

Show that you are established in Canada

Provide evidence that shows how firm your roots are in Canada, such as:

  • letters of support from family, friends or employers that describe the closeness of your relationships in Canada
  • proof of employment, tax returns, letters from organizations where you did volunteer work, banking and mortgage documents showing assets you have in Canada

Provide medical evidence

If you need treatment for a mental health condition or addiction, provide documents that show the steps you are taking to deal with it. Here are some examples:

  • Psychiatric assessments
  • Treatment plans
  • Letters from social workers
  • Certificates of completion of any rehabilitation programs

Explain how family or children will be affected

If you have a family member who will be affected by your removal because they are in poor health, provide medical documents that show this.

If there are children in Canada who will be affected by your removal, provide documents such as:

  • birth certificates
  • custody orders
  • evidence of financial and emotional support you provide
  • evidence that your removal would impact a child's best interests. For example, the physical or mental health of a child

Explain if you would suffer hardship in your home country

Evidence about how the current situation in your home country could affect you can be helpful. This might have to do with special needs you have. Or there could be human rights issues in your country that affect you.

The IRB publishes National Documentation Packages that detail conditions in many countries. You may find evidence that is relevant to the hardship you may face in your home country if you were removed from Canada. You must provide copies of the documents you are referring to.

You can also provide your own evidence and documents from trusted sources elsewhere.

Possible outcomes of an appeal

When you appeal a removal order, there are three possible outcomes:

  • Your appeal can be dismissed. This means you may be removed from Canada.
  • Your appeal can be allowed. This means your removal order is cancelled and you can remain in Canada.
  • Your removal order can be put on hold. This is called a “stay.” A stay lasts for a defined period (usually several years). It means you can remain in Canada if you respect certain conditions. The IAD will make a final decision later to either allow or dismiss your appeal. This is called a reconsideration.

If your removal order is put on hold: Prepare for a reconsideration of your appeal

If the IAD decides to put your removal order on hold (a stay), you will receive a list of conditions to follow. A few months before the end of the stay the IAD will conduct a review to determine if you complied or not with the conditions of your stay. This is called a reconsideration. To be ready for the stay reconsideration, keep records of the steps you took to comply with the conditions.

If you do not follow the conditions, your stay may be cancelled, and you may be removed from Canada. If you are convicted of a serious crime during the stay period, your stay will be automatically cancelled without a hearing. A serious crime is one that has a maximum prison term of 10 years or more or a crime for which you are sentenced for more than six months.

Near the end of your stay, the IAD will ask you and the Minister for a statement about whether you complied with all your conditions. If the Minister agrees that you complied, the IAD may allow your appeal and cancel the stay without a hearing.

The Minister may not agree that your appeal should be allowed. If that happens, the IAD will schedule a hearing. In preparing for the hearing, update the evidence that you provided at the time you were put on a stay. You can also provide any new evidence you feel supports your appeal. The hearing will not focus on why you have not complied with your stay conditions. Instead, you need to show why your appeal should be allowed and why you should stay in Canada.