Immigration Minister admits Canada doesn’t require criminal background checks from temporary residents
Liberals now say the criminal background check they require from temporary residents covers Canada, where most have never been.

Mike Campbell

May 27, 2024

Immigration Minister Marc Miller has admitted that the Liberal government does not require criminal record checks from international students, except those conducted in Canada, where the individuals have never been. 

Immigration Minister admits Canada doesn’t require criminal background checks from temporary residents

The revelation came during a heated exchange with Conservative MP Arpan Khanna, who questioned Miller on the issue.

Miller became so irritated during the exchange that he threatened to sue Khanna for calling him a liar. 

Khanna asked, “Can the Minister let me know — how many Canadians have been let into Canada that have submitted police clearance certificates before entering Canada?” 

Miller responded, “For temporary residents I never said … that police certificates were required. I said we did verification. That’s what we do.”

Khanna pressed further, “So Minister you are confirming that police clearance certificates and criminal background checks are not done for temporary residents entering Canada?” 

Miller reiterated, “I have never said that certificates are required for temporary residents.”

Khanna later posted the interaction on social media, calling Miller a liar and stating, “Just weeks ago, Trudeau’s incompetent Immigration Minister lied about criminal background checks for temporary residents. Media went along with his story. Today, he was forced to tell the truth under oath.”

What did Miller say?

On May 6, during questioning about three Indian nationals charged with killing Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a prominent Sikh leader in Surrey, British Columbia, Miller wouldn’t confirm if they came to Canada on student visas. 

When a reporter asked if criminal record checks were required for student visa holders, Miller said, “Yes, there would be, yeah.” 

Asked about the process, he responded, “You check them and if they have a criminal record, they don’t come in.” 

He also asserted, “We’re not lax,” in response to India’s Foreign Affairs Minister accusing Canada of welcoming “wanted criminals” from India.

Did he lie? 

Miller’s statements raise questions about his credibility. Either he lied on May 6 about the requirement for criminal record checks for temporary residents, or he meant that checks are only done by Canadian police, which would only catch crimes committed within Canada. 

In other words, they would essentially always turn up clean, unless the student visa seeker had previously been to Canada and committed a crime. 

In many countries, applying for a temporary visa requires a criminal background check from the applicant’s home country. Miller’s recent admission confirms that Canada doesn’t require such checks.

Miller also suggested recently that reducing the number of temporary residents in Canada could be achieved by simply granting them permanent resident status.

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