Agreement for Canada-British Columbia
Co-Operation on Immigration - 2004

Electronic Version

Original signed April 5, 2004


General Provisions

1.0 Preamble

The Agreement for Canada-British Columbia Co-operation on Immigration (hereinafter referred to as the “Agreement”) is BETWEEN:

The Government of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (hereinafter referred to as “Canada”)

OF THE FIRST PART

AND

The Government of the Province of British Columbia, as represented by the Minister of Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services (hereinafter referred to as “British Columbia”)

OF THE SECOND PART

1.1 WHEREAS Section 95 of the Constitution Act, 1867 recognizes the concurrent powers of legislation of the federal and provincial governments in immigration matters.

1.2 AND WHEREAS the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees certain mobility rights to every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada and guarantees equal protection and equal benefit of the law to everyone without discrimination.

1.3 AND WHEREAS the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees English and French are the official languages of Canada and have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the Parliament and Government of Canada.

1.4 AND WHEREAS Sections 10(1) and 10(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 2.7, as amended (hereinafter referred to as the “IRPA”), provide for the Minister to consult with the governments of the provinces on immigration and refugee protection policies and programs and on the number of foreign nationals in each class who will become permanent residents each year.

1.5 AND WHEREAS Section 8(1) of the IRPA authorizes the Minister, with the approval of the Governor in Council, to enter into an Agreement with the government of any province for the purposes of this Act.

1.6 AND WHEREAS Section 5(a) (i) of the Ministry of International Business and Immigration Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 304 authorizes the Minister, with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, to enter into an Agreement with the Government of Canada relating to immigration matters.

1.7 AND WHEREAS the IRPA is designed, among other things, to:

  1. support the development of a strong and prosperous Canadian economy in which the benefits of immigration are shared across all regions of Canada; and
  2. enrich and strengthen the cultural and social fabric of Canadian society, while respecting the federal, bilingual and multicultural character of Canada.

1.8 AND WHEREAS Canada recognizes the goals of British Columbia with respect to fostering integration and full participation of residents in the society of British Columbia, as reflected in the Multiculturalism Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 321.

1.9 AND WHEREAS British Columbia recognizes the objectives of the IRPA to support and assist the development of minority official language communities in Canada and enhance their vitality.

1.10 AND WHEREAS Canada and British Columbia wish to maintain an Agreement with regard to co-operation on immigration matters including the selection, admission, control and settlement of immigrants and temporary residents wishing to reside in British Columbia.

1.11 AND WHEREAS Canada and British Columbia wish to maintain an Agreement with regard to co-operation on immigration matters to enable British Columbia to better manage the impact of immigration in order to maximize economic and social benefits to British Columbian society.

1.12 AND WHEREAS Canada and British Columbia share a mutual interest in:

  1. maximizing the contribution of immigration to the achievement of the social, demographic and economic goals of both Canada and British Columbia;
  2. minimizing costs, increasing program effectiveness and reducing unnecessary overlap and duplication;
  3. ensuring immigrants have the opportunity to fully utilize their skills within the Canadian labour market as quickly as possible;
  4. achieving family reunification and humanitarian goals through the immigration program;
  5. ensuring that immigrants have access to a reasonably comparable range of settlement services across Canada;
  6. maintaining and protecting the health, safety and good order of Canadian society as they relate to immigration;
  7. ensuring British Columbians are aware of the benefits of immigration;
  8. ensuring legislation and regulations are enforced and programs are not abused; and
  9. making research and analysis available as input to the policy development process.

1.13 Both Parties recognize that:

  1. an integrated approach within Canada and abroad will best serve Canada’s national interests related to immigration;
  2. British Columbia has particular needs and circumstances and that these can be accommodated insofar as they are not incompatible with national immigration policy and legislation; and
  3. Immigration is a process and all parts of that process (promotion and recruitment, selection, admission, control, settlement) play a role in the potential contribution of immigration to the social, demographic and economic goals of both Canada and British Columbia.

Therefore Canada and British Columbia agree to the following:

2.0 Definitions

2.1 For the purposes of this Agreement:

  1. except where otherwise provided in this Agreement or in any of the annexes appended thereto, words used in this Agreement which are defined in the IRPA or in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (hereinafter referred to as “IRPR”), have the same meaning as in that Act or those Regulations and for greater certainty, except where otherwise provided in this Agreement or in any of the annexes appended thereto, the definitions of words found in this Provision will apply throughout the Agreement;
  2. a reference to the IRPA or the IRPR is a reference to the Act or those Regulations as amended from time to time;
  3. “immigrant”, as used in this Agreement, means permanent residents, protected persons and Convention refugees, as defined in the IRPA;
  4. “temporary resident” as used in this Agreement, means temporary workers, students, visitors and refugee claimants, as defined in the IRPA and IRPR;
  5. “refugee”, as used in this Agreement, means a Convention refugee or a protected person as defined in the IRPA;
  6. “British Columbia” means the Government of British Columbia or its agents.

3.0 Purpose and Objectives

3.1 The purpose of this Agreement is to define the respective roles and responsibilities of Canada and British Columbia relating to immigrants, temporary residents and sponsors under the IRPA.

3.2 The objectives of this Agreement are:

  1. to foster an effective partnership between Canada and British Columbia for the recruitment, selection, admission and control of immigrants, refugees, temporary workers and international students to British Columbia;
  2. to foster effective co-operation between Canada and British Columbia on the development and implementation of policies, programs and mechanisms to influence the level and composition of immigrants to Canada and British Columbia;
  3. to delineate the responsibilities of Canada and British Columbia for the recruitment, selection, admission, control and settlement and integration of immigrants and temporary residents to British Columbia;
  4. to provide British Columbia with a mechanism to influence immigration and related planning, policies, and programs in such a way as to support its particular social, demographic, economic development and labour market priorities, including skill shortages;
  5. to foster an effective partnership between Canada and British Columbia to contribute to regional development and balanced growth throughout British Columbia;
  6. to delineate the responsibilities of Canada and British Columbia for the settlement and integration of immigrants to British Columbia, including appropriate, fair, and ongoing compensation for settlement services provided by British Columbia as set out in Annex B;
  7. to foster effective co-operation between Canada and British Columbia to support and assist the development of minority official language communities in British Columbia;
  8. to foster co-operation in research and evaluation and in ensuring the integrity of the programs of Canada and British Columbia in respect of immigration, and to maintain and develop effective information sharing mechanisms;
  9. to ensure Canada and British Columbia work effectively to respond to unforeseen, temporary or permanent migratory movements as may be required;
  10. to develop co-operation between Canada and British Columbia in facilitating the admission of temporary workers and international students to British Columbia; and
  11. to ensure collaboration between Canada and British Columbia on assessing sponsorship eligibility, deterring sponsorship default and enforcing sponsorship obligations.

3.3 Along with the General Provisions, the following annexes form part of this Agreement:

  1. Annex A - Joint Mechanisms for Co-operation and Consultation;
  2. Annex B - Responsibilities for Immigrant Settlement Services, including
    • Appendix 1 - Service Plan;
    • Appendix 2 - Annual Report; and
    • Appendix 3 - Enhanced Language Training;
  3. Annex C - Provincial Nominees;
  4. Annex D - Business Immigrants;
  5. Annex E - Sponsorship of Family Classes;
  6. Annex F - Provision of Information on Immigrant Landings;
  7. Annex G - Memorandum of Understanding;
  8. Annex H - Immigration Health; and
  9. Annex I - International Students.

3.4 Canada and British Columbia agree to negotiate in good faith and in a timely fashion, additional annexes to this Agreement or updates to existing annexes which reflect the broad objectives of the Agreement and are related to:

  1. refugees and refugee claimants;
  2. programs or policies emerging from pilot projects;
  3. information sharing agreements;
  4. new immigration priorities or developments; and
  5. other subjects as mutually agreed upon.

3.5 Canada and British Columbia agree to negotiate, in good faith and in a timely fashion:

  1. strategies for improving the ability and capacity of smaller cities and communities outside the Vancouver Metropolitan Area to attract and retain immigrants; and
  2. strategies to address barriers to international qualification assessment and recognition that contribute to the successful integration of immigrants into the labour market. Efforts of Canada and British Columbia should initially address the need for skilled workers destined to British Columbia to have appropriate and targeted information related to international qualifications assessment and recognition before immigrating.

As may pertain to parts (a) and (b) above, specific working arrangements and strategies, which may include immigration-related information sharing and research, may take the form of annexes to this Agreement or separate agreements or memoranda of understanding. Parties will submit plans for working arrangements and strategies to the Program Management Committee within six (6) months of the signing of this Agreement.

4.0 Policy Development and Levels Planning

4.1 Canada will establish general immigration policies, taking into consideration British Columbia’s demographic, social and economic objectives and needs, as identified through consultation mechanisms described in Annex A.

4.2 Canada will develop an annual delivery plan for federal immigration targets that may include, on agreement by both parties, specific targets for British Columbia by immigration class.

4.3 Canada will consult with British Columbia on Canada’s immigration projections.

5.0 Promotion and Recruitment

5.1 Canada and British Columbia will co-operate on planning and implementing promotion and recruitment activities abroad, recognizing Canada’s responsibility for co-ordinating such activities nationally.

5.2 Canada and British Columbia will co-operate on promoting international qualifications recognition processes abroad.

5.3 This Agreement does not preclude either party from undertaking promotion and recruitment activities independently.

6.0 Selection, Admission and Control

6.1 Canada will determine national standards and objectives relating to immigration.

6.2 Canada will define the general classes of foreign nationals and classes of persons who are inadmissible into Canada; determine Convention refugee status; and determine the admission requirements for visitors including international students and temporary workers.

6.3 Canada will be responsible for the selection, admission, control and compliance of all immigrants to Canada, except as otherwise set out in this Agreement and its annexes.

6.4 British Columbia will be consulted and have the opportunity to influence selection and control policies, taking into consideration the specific goals of the province, the need to maintain national standards and resource constraints of Canada. Canada will provide a response to British Columbia regarding recommendations.

6.5 Canada will, in accordance with its international obligations and commitments, determine who are refugees within the meaning of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and who are persons in similar circumstances in need of Canada’s protection.

6.6 British Columbia will plan for the settlement and integration of a number of persons seeking admission to Canada as members of the Convention refugees abroad class or as members of the Humanitarian protected persons abroad classes as estimated in the annual levels planning exercise. While this number is not expected to exceed British Columbia’s percentage share of total immigration, the need for flexibility in responding to emerging humanitarian needs will be recognized.

6.7 Canada has the authority to decide whether persons who are determined to be medically inadmissible should be permitted to come into Canada.

6.8 Canada will consult British Columbia on medically inadmissible cases destined to British Columbia, which are under consideration for admission for humanitarian and compassionate reasons. British Columbia will have the authority to make recommendations on whether medically inadmissible cases destined to British Columbia should be permitted to come into Canada, and in doing so will endeavour to balance humanitarian and other considerations.

6.9 With written notice, British Columbia may waive the right to be consulted for specified groups of medically inadmissible cases.

7.0 Settlement Services

7.1 Annex B will describe shared principles, respective roles and responsibilities, financial arrangements, accountability and reporting mechanisms.

7.2 British Columbia is responsible for the design, administration and delivery of settlement services for newcomers in British Columbia, as outlined in Annex B.

7.3 Canada agrees to maintain a role in settlement services, as provided for in Annex B.

7.4 Canada agrees to provide appropriate, fair, and ongoing compensation funding for settlement services delivered in British Columbia, as set out in Annex B.

7.5 Annex B is intended to delineate roles and responsibilities for settlement services, including the transfer of funds for settlement and integration services from Canada to British Columbia, indefinitely, subject to amendment and termination provisions.

7.6 Canada will be responsible for the design, administration and delivery of immigrant settlement services in British Columbia should Annex B be terminated.

8.0 Program Integrity

8.1 Recognizing that it is in their mutual interest and benefit, Canada and British Columbia will work together to ensure that their respective programs, as they relate to immigrants and temporary residents, serve only those for whom they are intended while respecting the interests of Canadian society.

8.2 Canada and British Columbia will co-operate, to the extent possible, with respect to ensuring the integrity of their respective programs, including but not limited to such immigration control and enforcement matters as: sharing information; conducting research and establishing mutual reporting arrangements; investigating matters of program abuse; cooperating on matters relating to sponsorship and sponsorship enforcement; enlisting the co-operation of other agencies in addressing issues of criminality and public safety; co-ordinating and streamlining the treatment of enforcement cases involving both jurisdictions; and sharing services and facilities, such as for the purposes of detention.

8.3 The commitment to co-operate pursuant to section 8.2 of this Agreement will not be interpreted by either Party to impose legal, financial or other obligations beyond whatever specific arrangements and conditions are already in operation or are mutually agreed upon.

9.0 Information Sharing, Research and Immigration Related Agreements

9.1 In the interest of immigration policy development, program design, evaluation, program delivery and enforcement, reducing unnecessary overlap and duplication, and accurately quantifying settlement, integration and refugee costs, Canada and British Columbia agree to co-operate by exchanging data and sharing research.

9.2 Canada and British Columbia agree to promote immigration research, to consult annually on research priorities and planned research activities, and to co-operate on common research initiatives, as appropriate.

9.3 Canada and British Columbia agree to inform each other in a timely manner of any immigration-related information sharing and research Agreements or formal negotiations with government departments, municipalities and other parties concerned under provincial jurisdiction, such as school boards, professional, occupational and similar licensing bodies, quasi‑governmental organizations and provincial crown corporations, settlement agencies, and immigrant serving agencies.

9.4 Canada and British Columbia will ensure, by audits if appropriate, that any sharing of information or exchange of immigration-related information is conducted in accordance with applicable federal and provincial legislation and policies related to privacy, access to information and security of records, recognizing each party’s need to adhere to their own legislative requirements.

9.5 Specific arrangements for immigration-related information sharing and research may be concluded through annexes to this Agreement and through other appropriate agreements or memoranda of understanding.

10.0 Consultation

10.1 Canada and British Columbia agree that meaningful consultation is necessary to help both Parties address their needs and objectives related to immigration.

10.2 The consultation process should encourage the exchange of ideas and information, permit sufficient time for studying proposals, and provide a forum to reach consensus.

10.3 Canada and British Columbia agree to consult each other when either Party is contemplating a policy, program or legislative change which could have a significant impact, fiscal or otherwise, on the other Party or on the operation of this Agreement.

10.4 British Columbia agrees to participate in multilateral consultation processes associated with developing or promoting national immigration initiatives or resolving conflicts.

10.5 Specific mechanisms and conditions related to consultations are contained in Annex A.

11.0 General Implementation

11.1 Canada and British Columbia will take all reasonable measures, which are necessary to implement this Agreement.

11.2 Annexes contained in this Agreement and those agreed upon following the signing of this Agreement form part of this Agreement.

11.3 For the purposes of Annex G, the British Columbia Ministry of Human Resources is responsible for the matters outlined in this annex.

11.4 As described in Annex A, Canada and British Columbia will maintain a joint mechanism which will provide the forum for the annual consultation on immigration levels, discussion of policy and operational issues, and other matters related to the implementation of this Agreement.

11.5 Subject to section 11.6, provisions for duration, amending, renewing and terminating the Agreement are as follows:

  1. The General Provisions will be valid for five (5) years;
  2. Unless otherwise provided for within a specific annex, the period of validity of each annex will be consistent with that of the General Provisions;
  3. The Agreement will be subject to review by the Parties one year prior to its expiry;
  4. The Agreement may be amended by the mutual written consent of the Parties;
  5. The Parties may agree, in writing, to renew the Agreement in its entirety or parts thereof;
  6. Either Party may terminate the General Provisions upon providing the other Party with at least six months notice; and
  7. Unless otherwise provided for within a specific annex, each annex may be terminated by either Party with six months notice.

11.6 Specific arrangements for the period of validity, for amendments and for termination as detailed in the annexes to this Agreement take precedence over section 11.5.

11.7 The termination of one or more of the annexes to the Agreement does not affect the continuation of the General Provisions. Similarly, the termination of the General Provisions does not affect the continuation of any annex to the Agreement whose period of validity is specified within that particular annex. The annexes to the Agreement and all of the provisions of this Agreement necessary to give effect to the annexes will survive any expiration or sooner termination of the Agreement.

11.8 In keeping with the purpose and objectives of this Agreement, Canada will be open and transparent concerning its intention to enter into agreements with other provinces and Canada will provide, at British Columbia’s request, other federal-provincial Agreements made under section 108 of the Immigration Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. 1-2, and section 8 of the IRPA, and will negotiate amendments to this Agreement, taking into consideration the different needs and circumstances of the provinces.

11.9 This Agreement supersedes the prior Agreement dated May 19, 1998 as amended, except for Annex G of that Agreement which, upon coming into force of this Agreement, will become Annex G of this Agreement.

11.10 The parties undertake to give one another notice of any change in policy, regulations or legislation relating to their respective programs that is likely to affect this Agreement.

Any notice to be delivered under this Agreement should be sent to the Party concerned as follows:

Address for notice to Canada
Deputy Minister
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
365 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1

Address for notice to British Columbia
Deputy Minister
Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services
6th Floor - 800 Johnson Street
P.O. Box 9490 Stn. Prov. Govt.
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 9N7

IN WITNESS WHEREOF this Agreement has been signed by the Parties on the dates written below.

For the Government of Canada:

The Honourable Judy Sgro
Minister, Citizenship and Immigration

Witness

Date

Michel Dorais
Deputy Minister,
Citizenship & Immigration

Witness

Date

For the Government of British Columbia:

The Honourable Murray Coell
Minister, Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services

Witness

Date

Bob de Faye
Deputy Minister, Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services

Witness

Date


Date Modified: