Operational Bulletin 202 – September 02, 2016
The Instructions to Immigration Officers in Canada on Processing Cases Involving Military Deserters
This Operational Bulletin (OB) serves to provide immigration officers in Canada with instructions on how they would need to process cases involving military deserters.
Various people seek refuge in Canada for various reasons. Some of these individuals might have deserted the military. Alternatively, they might have committed offences that are equivalent to the desertion of the military in their country of origin. It is worth highlighting that desertion is an offence in Canada. This is in accordance with the provisions specified in the National Defence Act (NDA). Under the terms specified in section 88 of the National Defence Act (NDA), the maximum punishment for desertion is life imprisonment. This is especially so if the person committed the offence on active service or under orders for active service. As such, people who have deserted the military in their country of origin might be inadmissible to Canada. This is especially so in accordance with the provisions specified in sections 36 (1) (b) or 36 (1) (c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).
It is worth mentioning that many people in the current case inventory have had their refugee claims heard. In addition, they have subsequently applied for permanent residence in Canada based on various Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) considerations. Some people have applied for permanent residence in Canada as members of the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class as well. Similarly, others have filed Pre-Risk Removal Assessment (PRRA) applications. This is especially so when they have been faced with removal from Canada. All these applications are at various stages of processing either in the regions or at the Case Processing Centre (CPC), Vegreville.
Many of these cases have now come to the attention of the Case Management Branch (CMB). In addition, the authorities have identified these cases in the Field Operations Support System (FOSS) via a non-computer based entry.
The General Guidelines for Processing Applications for Permanent Residence in Canada
Equating 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 i.e. National Defence Act (NDA) can be quite complex. In this scenario, the authorities require officers to contact their Regional Program Advisor (RPA) for guidance. This is especially applicable in cases where the officers are processing applications for permanent residence in Canada made by military deserters. In addition, the authorities require officers to copy the Case Review Division of the Case Management Branch (CMB) as well. This would enable this Division to remain updated on the officers’ initial communication with their Regional Program Advisor (RPA).
The General Guidelines for Processing Claims for Refugee Protection in Canada
The authorities require officers to provide notifications for all new claims for refugee protection by military deserters to the Case Management Branch (CMB). In addition, the authorities require officers to provide any updates to refugee claims to the Case Management Branch (CMB) as well. This would also pertain to refugee claims including Pre-Risk Removal Assessment (PRRA) applications.
For providing these notifications, the officers would need to use the existing guidelines on processing high profile, contentious and sensitive cases. They would be able to find details on these cases in section 15 of OP 1.
The General Guidelines for the Case Processing Centre (CPC) in Vegreville
Situations could arise where the officers feel that a personal interview or an in-depth investigation might be needed in some cases. In accordance with the current instructions pertaining to such cases, the Case Processing Centre (CPC) at Vegreville would need to transfer the applications filed by military deserters. In particular, it would need to transfer these applications to the appropriate inland office of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for processing.