There are many different reasons why an individual faces "admissibility" issues. Some are more serious than others, and the consequences for each varies. It is very important to understand your rights in fighting accusations against you. Doing nothing can be devastating to your ability to enter or remain in Canada. 

Here are some ways that people find themselves inadmissible to Canada:

Security Risk

This is a broad category which includes inadmissibility for several reasons, including membership in a group or government known to engage in espionage, subversion, or terrorism. This category often captures individuals who were, at some point in their lives, members of a group that may be mostly peaceful, but other members of the group had committed acts of violence or terrorism. Often, the accused individual has never committed acts of violence themselves. Sometimes, the accused individual may no longer be a member of this group.

Just because you have been accused of being a security risk does not mean you are one.  Our lawyers have handled sensitive cases where individuals have been accused of being security risks. We know how to challenge this decision, apply for an exemption where appropriate, and how to assist you throughout the entire process. We may challenge the accusation that the individual was a member of a dangerous group, establishing that the group is actually composed of separate factions (and that you belonged to a non-violent or civilian faction), or by challenging whether the classification of the group as supporting terrorism, espionage, or subversion.

If you have been accused of being a security risk to Canada, you need to contact a lawyer immediately.


If you have been convicted of a crime, you may not be allowed to enter Canada. In other words, you are "criminally inadmissible". This includes both minor and serious crimes, such as:

  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol;

  • Possession of or trafficking in drugs or controlled substances;

  • Dangerous driving; and

  • Theft, assault or manslaughter.

If you were convicted of a crime when you were under 18 years old, you may still be able to enter Canada.

Depending on the crime, how long ago it was and how you have behaved since, you may still be allowed to come to Canada. You must convince an immigration officer that you meet the legal requirements to be "deemed rehabilitated", applied successfully for rehabilitation, were granted a record suspension, or have a temporary resident permit (eg. a visitor's visa). We can help you determine which application you may be eligible for and assist you with completing it.

Failing to declare a past criminal conviction is an immigration offence known as "misrepresentation". If you have gained status in Canada without declaring a criminal conviction, and if this misrepresentation is discovered, you may be subjected to removal proceedings and lose your right to stay in Canada.


Misrepresentation means you have not been truthful. This can result from an overt lie, or because you failed to disclose an important detail. If you are found to have misrepresented, you are barred from trying to return to Canada for 5 years. 

Not all misrepresentations make you inadmissible to Canada. Only "material" misrepresentations have that effect. It is therefore very important to have a lawyer assess your case and advise you on how to respond to allegations of misrepresentation. 

Whenever CIC accuses anyone of misrepresentation, they must give that person a chance to respond. When you get this "fairness letter", consult one of our immigration lawyers immediately to get the advice you need.

Medical conditions

If an immigration officer determines that a medical condition for you or a family member will place an excessive demand on Canadian health or social services, you may not be able to come to Canada.

This means an immigration officer believes the person with the medical condition would likely exceed the average cost of a Canadian over a period of five consecutive years. If there is evidence that significant costs are likely to be incurred beyond that period, the period is 10 consecutive years.

  • An excessive demand on health services.
    “Health services” are any health services for which the majority of funds are contributed by governments, including the services of family physicians, medical specialists, nurses, chiropractors and physiotherapists, laboratory services and the supply of pharmaceutical or hospital care.

  • An excessive demand on social services.
    “Social services” are any social services, such as home care, specialized residence and residential services, special education services, social and vocational rehabilitation services, personal support services and the provision of devices related to those services.

Usually, an immigration officer reviewing your application will send you a letter notifying you that you or your family member has a medical condition that may cause an excessive demand on health and/or social services. You are usually invited to provide evidence and submissions showing why the medical condition will not cause an excessive demand.

Canada is committed to maintaining a humane style of living for all people. An argument you or your family member will simply choose not to obtain necessary medical help or use social services may result in your application being refused.

We have handled many medical inadmissibility cases over the years, and we know how to contact the proper experts to evaluate the medical condition, create a reasonable health care plan, and work with you to draft a submission for your particular situation. You should contact us immediately, because there is usually a deadline and expert evidence takes time to gather.

A refusal of one family member for medical inadmissibility may result in the refusal of the entire family.

Contravening the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

This is a general provision used to find someone inadmissible when they may not fit into one of the categories above. For example, if an officer feels you have not been forthcoming in answering questions at an interview, they may find that you have failed to comply with the Act. This is often combined with other sections of inadmissibility.

You are a family member of someone who is inadmissible

If you are the spouse, common-law partner, or dependent child of someone who is inadmissible, you too are rendered inadmissible. 

What can you do?

Seek legal advice immediately! Time is of the essence in dealing with admissibility issues. If you are outside Canada, we can assist you in responding to allegations that you are inadmissible. If you are in Canada, we can not only help you respond to such concerns, but also try to stop your removal from Canada. 

Just because you are being accused of being inadmissible does not mean you are. Call one of our immigration lawyers to find out what your rights are: