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Avoiding Misrepresentation in Canadian Immigration

Misrepresentation is one of the most misunderstood aspects of Canadian immigration law, and it can lead to the most severe consequences. Misrepresenting a fact or not disclosing a fact can lead to a bar on admissibility that prevents you from entering or remaining in Canada or obtaining permanent status.

While many people believe they are safe from misrepresentation claims if they do not lie directly to an immigration officer during the process, this is not always the case. Not disclosing a material fact can still make you inadmissible for misrepresentation.

Tell the truth

Canada is very strict on misrepresentation

Section 40 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act provides that a permanent resident or foreign national is inadmissible to Canada for directly or indirectly misrepresenting or withholding material facts relating to a relevant matter that induces or could induce an error in the administration of Canada’s immigration laws.

Furthermore, section 40(3) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act provides that a foreign national who is inadmissible to Canada for misrepresentation cannot apply for permanent residence during the five year bar.

There is no time limit

There is no time limit for a finding of misrepresentation. The government can find you inadmissible even after many years has passed since you gained your Canadian status.

If you are found guilty under this section, it can lead to revocation of your temporary or permanent residence status, and even citizenship. It can also lead to your removal from Canada, and in some cases criminal charges.

Being found inadmissible

Some common examples or mistakes that may cause you to be inadmissible for misrepresentation are:

  • You failed to disclose that you were once arrested, charged, detained, or convicted. Even if the offence was considered minor or a misdemeanour in your country (for example DUI's, using a fake ID etc.).

  • You failed to disclose that you were refused or denied any type of immigration application both in Canada OR in another country. For example a visitor visa refusal or study or work permit refusals etc.

  • You misrepresented or lied about the the purpose of your trip (e.g., going on vacation vs. visiting family, or coming to work).

  • You failed to disclose something during an interview or examination with an officer at the border checkpoint.

  • You misrepresented your identity, or your marriage or civil status, etc.

If unsure, always disclose!

If there is any doubt as to whether or not something should be disclosed on your immigration forms (such as whether or not you have ever been arrested), always disclose it!

Do not take any chances by withholding information that could jeopardize your ability to obtain Canadian permanent residency or citizenship now or in the future.

Unfortunately, sometimes gut instincts can be wrong when making decisions about what we deem is relevant or important enough to share with government officials.

If you are unsure about any aspect of your application and whether or not it may lead to immigration consequences, ask a licensed Canadian immigration professional such as a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC), before proceeding with your application.

In Canada, the College of Physicians regulates people in the medical professions such as doctors and surgeons. Meanwhile, RCIC's are regulated by the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC), which have powers under the College Act of Canada to ensure the safety and protection of the public. When seeking assistance for your immigration application, always check and make sure you are dealing with a licensed professional in good standing on the CICC directory.

5 Year Bar from Canada

If this happens:

  • You won't be able to enter Canada, or apply for permanent residence in Canada until after the 5 year period is over.

  • You will likely have a permanent red flag against you for any future applications.

  • Any visitor visas will be cancelled, and you may need to ask for permission each time you enter Canada in the future.

  • If any work permits were issued based on false information given by applicants during the application process, those permits will also be revoked.

Honesty is the best policy

Unfortunately the "innocent mistake" defence is not necessarily acceptable due to the need to protect the integrity of the Canadian immigration system from people who may deliberately lie and then try to use the "innocent mistake" defence when caught.

Avoiding misrepresentation

Avoiding misrepresentation is as simple as telling the truth. If you are honest and upfront, IRCC may be able to assess your application in a better light, than if you were caught after the fact. You can hopefully gain some credibility for telling the truth in advance.


In conclusion, misrepresentation is a serious issue and you should always be honest when dealing with immigration. If you are concerned about misrepresentation on your application, it is best to be honest and upfront throughout the process.

If you have any questions or concerns about how to accurately represent yourself on an immigration application, you can feel free to book a consultation with our licensed RCIC.

We are licensed in good standing with the regulator CICC, and we are a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants (CAPIC). We are legally authorized under the Canadian Immigration Refugee Protection Act & Citizenship Act to provide legal advice and client representation on all immigration & citizenship matters.

DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Information provided was correct at time of publication, however changes may have occurred since it was published. Please contact us directly for any updates or specialist advice specific to your personal circumstances.


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