What legal obligations should I be aware of as the owner of a commercial passenger transportation company or as a commercial driver?
If you drive a bus, taxi or another commercial vehicle or if you own a commercial passenger transportation company, you have the following specific obligations under Canadian immigration law:
- You are prohibited from carrying to Canada any person who does not hold the required documents needed for entering Canada.
- You must present passengers to a border services officer at the port of entry for examination.
Are these obligations new?
No, these obligations are not new. They have been in place under the law for many years and apply to all modes of transportation (land, air and water).
I'm just a driver. Does this affect me?
Yes. Drivers must verify the identity, citizenship, passport and visa requirements of each passenger carried, and ensure that they are properly documented. This includes adults, minors and even infants.
What will happen if I bring an improperly documented passenger into Canada?
- You may have to pay a $3,200 administration fee for each improperly documented foreign national.
- You may be required to deposit security for each improperly documented passenger.
- You may be liable for additional removal and medical costs.
- Infractions may lead to the following:
- the detention, seizure or forfeiture of your vehicle; and/or
- criminal prosecution.
Are drivers responsible for paying the administration fee?
The administration fee is assessed against a corporate entity, not against an individual employee/driver.
Is there a process to appeal administration fees?
Yes. An administration fee may be contested providing a written submission is received within 30 days of the notice being served.
Are these obligations related to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)?
No. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) is a U.S. law that requires all travellers to present a valid passport or another approved secure document when entering the United States from within the western hemisphere.
What documents do my passengers need for travel to Canada?
Detailed information is available in the Guide for Transporters.
What should I say to passengers who ask why I need to verify their travel documents?
Canadian law requires transporters to ensure that the persons they bring to Canada possess valid visas, passports and other travel documents required for entry into Canada. Transporters must ensure that the travel documents are genuine and being used by the rightful holder.
Transporters who carry an improperly-documented passenger to Canada are in violation of Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and Regulations, and may be liable to pay an administration fee of $3,200.
What should I do if I suspect that my passenger is using a forged document?
If there is doubt about the genuineness of a document or about whether or not the passenger is the rightful holder, do not transport the passenger to Canada. Report your suspicions to a border services officer at the Canadian port of entry.
What happens if a passenger destroys his or her travel documents before arriving at the port of entry?
Since transporters must ensure that their passengers are properly documented when presented at the Canadian port of entry, this is a violation under IRPA. The transporter may therefore have to pay a $3,200 administration fee.
When a transporter has reasonable grounds to believe that the required documents of a person carried to Canada may not be available for examination at a port of entry, the transporter is authorized to hold the documents to ensure their availability upon arrival at the port of entry. If a transporter holds a document, he or she must provide the passenger with a receipt.
If there is doubt about the genuineness of a document or about whether or not a passenger is the rightful holder, the transporter must not transport the passenger to Canada and must report his or her suspicions to a border services officer at the Canadian port of entry.
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