It is well known that Canada bars those with criminal records from applying for citizenship, but were you aware that the current Canadian criminal inadmissibility laws originated from an agreement between Canada and the United States following the September 11 attacks in 2001? In the mutual interests of national security after 9/11, Canada and the United States agreed to exchange information records of everyone who crosses their borders. This agreement facilitates the detainment of criminals attempting to enter one country from the other.
The increased climate of security thus poses serious obstacles for criminal record holders who intend to travel or immigrate between Canada and the US. Individuals can be found inadmissible to Canada due to charges including DUI, drug possession, and assault. White-collar crimes are equally susceptible, as shown by the recent case of former American hospital CEO Peter G. Rogan.
Former CEO detained for trying to re-enter Canada with multi-million dollar fraud charges in the US
The Rogan case illustrates some of the consequences of being found criminally inadmissible to Canada. After Rogan relocated from the US to Vancouver in 2006 to apply for permanent residency, the US Government won a $64-million judgment against him on account of fraudulent health-care claims. Rogan had cheated Medicaid out of tens of millions of dollars during his tenure at Chicago’s Edgewater Hospital. One vice president and four doctors, along with the hospital’s management company pleaded guilty in 2001 to charges pertaining to patient referral fees, and expenses for unnecessary hospital services and admissions. By the following year, the hospital was bankrupt. The authorities launched a civil lawsuit against Rogan, which resulted in the 2006 judgment that he had “testified falsely, destroyed documents and obstructed justice.”
On May 26, 2008, Canada Border Services Agency detained Rogan at the Vancouver International Airport upon his return from a business trip to China. Border agent Joanna Vasilekas seized Rogan’s passport and declared him a flight risk. If he were to return to the US, Rogan would be tried and could face up to 20 years in prison.
No safe haven for fugitive criminal record holders
Meanwhile, Canadian Immigration maintains that Rogan should be deemed inadmissible to Canada on account of his criminal charges. At Rogan’s hearing before an adjudicator of the Immigration and Refugee Board, Vasilekas stressed the need to “prevent Canada from being used as a safe haven by persons who are facing criminal proceedings in another country.”
At the detention hearing, Rogan’s lawyer Tamara Duncan contested her client’s detainment and Canadian authorities’ use of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to force his return to the United States to stand trial. Gregory Zuck of Citizenship and Immigration Canada responded to these claims by pointing out that Rogan is a fugitive in the eyes of the agency.
“In my view,” Zuck stated at the hearing, “Mr. Rogan had the financial resources to charter a jet plane and go wherever he wanted to go.”
By urging that Rogan be found criminally inadmissible, Canadian immigration is supporting the US judicial system’s efforts to bring the former CEO to justice for costly crimes perpetrated within America’s borders.