Earl Mason, et al. v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, et al.

(Federal) (Civil) (By Leave)


Immigration — Inadmissibility on security grounds for “engaging in acts of violence that would or might endanger the lives or safety of persons in Canada” — Judicial review — Interpretation of s. 34(1)(e) of Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27 (IRPA) — Whether reasonable interpretation of s. 34(1)(e) of IRPA requires national security nexus — Whether s. 34(1)(e) of IRPA can apply to conduct that does not require a nexus to “national security” or “security of Canada” — How should reviewing courts determine whether a legislative provision can bear only one reasonable interpretation and what constraints will bear on this assessment — Whether Federal Court of Appeal erred in overturning Federal Court’s findings that tribunal decisions were unreasonable.


Case summaries are prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch). Please note that summaries are not provided to the Judges of the Court. They are placed on the Court file and website for information purposes only.

Section 34(1)(e) of Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27 (“IRPA”) provides that permanent residents or foreign nationals are “inadmissible on security grounds” for “engaging in acts of violence that would or might endanger the lives or safety of persons in Canada”. The Minister alleged that both appellants were foreign nationals who were inadmissible under s. 34(1)(e) of the IRPA.

The issue before the Immigration Board and the Immigration Appeal Division was whether s. 34(1)(e) applied only where there is a connection to national security. Both agreed with the Minister that it did not. In their view, s. 34(1)(e) operates whether or not there is a connection to national security.

On judicial review, the Federal Court quashed the decisions in the two cases.

Both cases were heard together at the Federal Court of Appeal. It allowed the appeals, set aside the judgments of the Federal Court and dismissed the applications for judicial review. It found the administrative interpretation of s. 34(1)(e) was reasonable and answered the following certified question:

Q.: Is it reasonable to interpret para. 34(1)(e) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in a manner that does not require proof of conduct that has a nexus with “national security” or the “security of Canada”?

A. Yes.

Lower Court Rulings

October 2, 2019
Federal Court

2019 FC 1251, IMM-1645-19
Mr. Mason’s application for judicial review allowed and the Immigration Appeal Division’s decision quashed.
January 16, 2020
Federal Court

2020 FC 59, IMM-4199-19
Mr. Dleiow’s application for judicial review allowed. Immigration Board’s decision set aside and matter to be reconsidered on the merits by a different decision maker.
July 29, 2021
Federal Court of Appeal

2021 FCA 156, A-37-20, A-415-19
Minister’s appeal of both cases allowed, judgments of the Federal Court set aside and applications for judicial review dismissed. The Immigration Appeal Division decision in Mason and the decision of the Immigration Division in Dleiow concerning interpretation of s. 34(1)(e) found to be reasonable.