Vol. 150, No. 24 — November 30, 2016


SOR/2016-293 November 18, 2016


Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Temporary Resident Visa)

P.C. 2016-981 November 18, 2016

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, pursuant to subsections 5(1) and 14(2) (see footnote a) and section 26 (see footnote b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (see footnote c), makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Temporary Resident Visa).

Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Temporary Resident Visa)


1 Paragraph 190(1)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (see footnote 1) is replaced by the following:

Coming into Force

2 These Regulations come into force at 00:00:01 a.m. Eastern standard time on December 1, 2016, but if they are registered after that time, they come into force at 00:00:01 a.m. Eastern standard time on the day after the day on which they are registered.


(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)

Executive summary

Issues: Citizens of Mexico have been required to apply, and be approved, for a temporary residence visa (TRV) before travelling to Canada for business or leisure purposes. In November 2015, the Prime Minister of Canada committed to lifting the visa requirement for Mexico, making the strengthening of the relationship with Mexico a high priority.

Description: This regulatory amendment will add Mexico to the list of countries and territories whose citizens are exempt from the TRV requirement for travel to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the Regulations).

Cost-benefit statement: It is estimated that the regulatory amendment for Mexico will generate a net cost to Canadians of $261.9 million (M) in present value (PV) over 10 years. The overall monetized cost is estimated to be $433.5M (PV) over 10 years due to the resources required for program integrity efforts, additional enforcement activities, costs associated with a potential increase in asylum claims and transition costs (e.g. issuing operational bulletins, implementing systems changes, IT and communications). The majority of these costs will be borne by the federal government, but in the case of increased asylum claims, provincial/territorial governments will also be impacted.

While the proposal has cost implications, it is expected that the visa lift will also bring important benefits, such as stronger business and personal ties between the citizens of Canada and Mexico, trade and investment opportunities and economic benefits through increased tourism from Mexico. Monetized benefits are estimated to be $171.6M (PV) over 10 years.

“One-for-One” Rule and small business lens: Neither the “One-for-One” Rule nor the small business lens applies to this proposal. Temporary resident visa requirements apply to individuals; therefore, there is no impact on business.

Domestic and international coordination and cooperation: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will work closely with other departments and agencies, particularly the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), to ensure the balance between facilitating the travel of legitimate visitors, while protecting the health, safety and security of Canadians and the integrity of the immigration system.

IRCC will work with Global Affairs Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (including Destination Canada) to ensure travellers affected by the regulatory amendments are made aware of the change in visa requirements, as well as the new requirement for an electronic travel authorization (eTA).

Internationally, Canada has worked closely with Mexico to develop a plan for sustainable visa-free travel to Canada for Mexican citizens.


Under the Regulations, all visitors to Canada require a TRV before entering, with the exception of citizens of countries and territories who are exempted under the Regulations. A visa requirement is the most effective tool in deterring irregular migration since TRV applicants must provide documentation demonstrating identity as well as prove that they will abide by the conditions of temporary residence in Canada.

Canada imposed a visa requirement on Mexico in 2009 due to a substantial increase in refugee claims from Mexican citizens between 2005 and 2008, the majority of whom were found to be not in need of protection. In November 2015, Prime Minister Trudeau committed to lifting the visa requirement on Mexico, a decision driven by the Government of Canada’s objective of rebuilding the Canada-Mexico bilateral relationship and enhancing North American relations more broadly. A whole-of-government assessment of the risks and benefits of the proposed visa lift was led by IRCC in the fall 2015–spring 2016 timeframe. On June 28, 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau committed publicly to lifting the visa on December 1, 2016, noting that Canadian and Mexican officials would be working together to ensure a successful visa lift, collaborating on mobility issues to encourage travel between the two countries while preventing any increase in asylum claims or other irregular migration.

Following the visa lift, Mexican travellers entering Canada for leisure or business will, like all other visa-exempt foreign nationals, require an electronic travel authorization to fly or transit through Canada via the air mode. Mexicans wanting to work or study in Canada will need to apply for a work or study permit, as is the case for all foreign nationals.


Mexican citizens are currently required to apply for and obtain a TRV before travelling to Canada. Since the visa imposition in 2009, this has been a significant bilateral irritant. The Government of Canada has publicly committed to removing this requirement, effective December 1, 2016.


The objective of this regulatory amendment is to strengthen Canada-Mexico ties by making Mexican travel to Canada for leisure or business significantly easier. The lifting of the visa will lead to immediate economic benefits for Canada, create openness and build momentum to expand trade, investment and tourism, and strengthen people-to-people ties, providing lasting benefits for both countries.


This regulatory amendment will add Mexico to the list of countries and territories whose citizens are exempt from the TRV requirement for travel to Canada under the Regulations.

Regulatory and non-regulatory options considered

In order to add Mexico to the list of countries exempt from the temporary resident visa requirement, a regulatory change is necessary and is the only option.

Benefits and costs

It is estimated that the regulatory amendment will generate an overall monetized cost of $433.5M (PV) over 10 years. The total monetized benefits are estimated to be $171.6M (PV) over 10 years. This results in a net monetized cost of $261.9M (PV) over 10 years.

Costs, Benefits and Distribution

Base Year 2016

Year Five 2020

Final Year 2025

10-year Total

Annualized Average (see footnote *)

QUANTIFIED IMPACTS in millions of Present Value (PV) $





Canadians/Canadian Economy/Government of Canada







Government of Canada, Provincial and Territorial Governments










Note: The coming into force of the visa lift is December 1, 2016. Thus, most impacts, with the exception of transition costs and other costs associated with preparation for the lift, commence in 2017.

The federal government will need to make significant investments in immigration and border control processes to support a sustainable visa lift. Federal and provincial/territorial governments will need to manage potential increases in asylum claimants from Mexico who may seek to exploit their new visa-free status in an attempt to migrate to Canada permanently. Asylum-related costs will be incurred by IRCC, the Immigration and Refugee Board, and CBSA for the receiving and processing of asylum claims. Costs include front end security screening, processing of claims at ports of entry, investigations, hearings, detentions, litigation and removals of failed asylum claimants, as well as the costs to provinces/territories related to legal aid, education and social assistance. Furthermore, increased resources would be required to ensure that inland enforcement is prepared for the resulting investigations, hearings, detentions, litigation and removals resulting from Mexican travellers who have not abided by the law. To mitigate against the risk of a high number of unfounded asylum claims and inland enforcement violations, the Government will implement a number of enforcement and program integrity measures.

In addition, there will be costs associated with the Government of Canada’s transition to the Mexico visa exemption, including the publication of operational bulletins, information technology changes to provide electronic travel authorization access, outreach to air carriers, operational planning to ensure sufficient CBSA capacity abroad and at ports of entry and the updating of web pages and forms, and communication efforts to increase awareness of the visa lift.

While costs are expected as a result of the temporary resident visa exemption, this regulatory amendment is also expected to bring about benefits consistent with Government of Canada priorities.

The visa exemption will improve Canada’s overall competitiveness as a tourism destination, as well as encourage continued growth of air travel between the two countries. For Canada, the result will be an increase in the number of business and leisure travellers, including those visiting friends and family amongst the Mexican diaspora in Canada, which numbers approximately 317 000, according to 2011 census figures.

These additional visitors are anticipated to boost trade and investment, and benefit the tourism, and air travel sectors. Statistics Canada data for the first seven months of 2016 was already showing a 17% increase in travel from Mexico to Canada. In mid-September 2016, Mexico’s flag airline, Aeromexico, announced that as a direct result of the December 1 visa lift, it was increasing flights to Canada by 47%, translating into a potential additional 9 900 passengers per week coming from Mexico to several major Canadian cities. These two figures clearly show a very strong upward trend. However, it is clear that the quantifiable costs of implementing this visa lift exceed the anticipated quantifiable benefits.

Canada and Mexico are each other’s third largest two-way trading partners, and improved bilateral relations stemming from the visa lift will facilitate increased trade and business opportunities. In June 2016, when the visa lift was just being announced, new cooperation instruments were already being finalized in areas such as indigenous affairs, development cooperation, public safety, security, exchange of tourism statistics, and health. Canada and Mexico have also publicly stated their intentions to advance a continental approach to the creation of a clean energy economy and the impacts of climate change, as well as fostering cooperation on science, technology and innovation, and further partnerships between Canadian and Mexican academic institutions.

Cooperation between Canadian and Mexican partner organizations has already improved as a result of the new spirit of collaboration engendered by the restoration of Mexico’s visa exemption. The restoration of the bilateral High-Level Dialogue on Mobility process is intended to address any issues that may threaten the sustainability of the visa lift, including concerns related to irregular migration, human rights and security.

“One-for-One” Rule

The “One-for-One” Rule does not apply to this proposal, as there is no change in administrative costs to business.

Small business lens

The small business lens does not apply, as this regulatory amendment applies to individuals and imposes no costs on small business.


Consultations related to the Mexico visa lift were conducted with, and input was sought from, a number of other federal departments and agencies, including Public Safety Canada, CBSA, the Immigration and Refugee Board, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Global Affairs Canada, the Department of Justice Canada (including the Courts Administration Service), the Privy Council Office, Innovation, Science and Development Canada, and the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.

There were no formal public consultations related to the proposal to lift the visa requirement on Mexico, though public debate on this issue was significant, especially during summer 2016. Public sentiment, expressed almost exclusively via the media, was mixed, with the public, official opposition party and some journalists expressing some negative opinions on the Mexico visa lift, mostly related to potential security, asylum and financial implications for Canada. Tourism stakeholders expressed significant support for the removal of the Mexico visa requirement.


The Regulations will facilitate the travel of legitimate visitors to Canada. It is anticipated that the removal of the visa requirement will bring economic benefits to Canada by increasing the number of business and leisure travellers, as well as those visiting friends and family. While acknowledging the costs of additional immigration and border control measures that will need to be in place prior to and following the visa lift, these additional visitors are anticipated to boost trade and investment, and benefit the Canadian tourism and air travel sectors.

The exemption from the temporary resident visa requirement will strengthen ties to the Mexican community in Canada and strengthen Canada’s bilateral relations with Mexico.

Implementation, enforcement and service standards

This regulatory amendment comes into force on December 1, 2016.

As this regulation removes the TRV requirement, no compliance measures are required. However, the impact of this new measure will be monitored and evaluated with existing information sources and according to existing practices.

The renewal of the relationship and the establishment of the aforementioned High-Level Dialogue on Mobility will result in deeper institutional linkages between our respective governments, enabling Canada to better support Mexico as it addresses regional challenges which comprise push factors for Mexicans who might wish to claim asylum in Canada.

To increase prosperity and improve equality in both Canada and Mexico, both countries will cooperate to promote the safety and security of both nations, including the building of closer ties between our public safety agencies and expanding cooperation in areas related to peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, emergency preparedness and consular cooperation.  We will also work together on initiatives to build capacity in areas of justice sector reform, anti-corruption, human smuggling and crime prevention.

IRCC will continue to work closely with other departments and agencies, including Public Safety Canada, CBSA, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Department of Justice, to employ the full range of existing measures to mitigate any health, safety or security concerns that may arise as a result of Mexico’s exemption from the temporary resident visa requirement.


Lisa Bokwa
Acting Director
Visa Policy
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
180 Kent Street, 8th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1L1
Email: lisa.bokwa@cic.gc.ca