Illegal or irregular?

There are unusual things happening in Canada right now.

This week, we learned that a song written in 1944, Baby It’s Cold Outside, will no longer be played during the holiday season by broadcasters such as CBC, Rogers and Bell media. 

Earlier this year, the City of Victoria removed the statue of John A. Macdonald in front of Victoria City Hall.

And soon I predict entering into Canada illegally from the United States to claim asylum will no longer be termed as "illegal.”

It will instead become an “irregular entry.”


In early October, CBC reported that our Liberal government quietly changed the Canadian immigration department website.

Where it once read “illegal crossings into Canada” it now reads “irregular crossing into Canada.”
The Liberal government is also set to sign the UN Compact on Migration.

Part of the compact text, clause 33(c), reads:

  • "educating media professionals on migration-related issues and terminology.”

In other words, this could be interpreted to mean reporting on irregular crossings into Canada is acceptable but reporting on “illegally crossing into Canada” may become unacceptable. 

How would this be enforced?

The UN Migration Compact is a non-binding agreement, however in Mr. Trudeau’s recent budget update,  a $595 million media subsidy fund was announced.

This media subsidy will inevitably have some terms and conditions that will be required to be met.

Possibly compliance with UN agreements could be one of them.

Canadians have always strongly supported legal immigration into Canada.

Many Canadians have endured a lengthy process, often considered to be “waiting in line” fairly, and following all of the rules and regulations.

This is why crossing a border between official border crossings is illegal and not irregular.

While there are some provisions to ensure those in a life or death situation can cross a border, these cases are quite rare. 

Canada has more than 38,0000 people who have entered Canada illegally since January 2017 and this has placed a huge backlog on the refugee process and taxes Provincial social services systems, such as is the case with Ontario and Quebec.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer reported that illegal immigration, on average, costs taxpayers over $14,000 for each individual case.

It is estimated over $340 million was spent in fiscal 2017-18 and the costs are expected to increase by another 400 million in the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

The costs paid by provinces is not included in these figures.

Quebec has recently announced that it will accept nearly 8,000 fewer immigrants and refugees in 2019 compared to 2018.

These types of announcements impact all citizens trying to legally come to Canada who might desire to live in Quebec. 

From my perspective, supporting legal immigration is how one joins our Canadian family.

Suggesting that coming to Canada “irregularly” implies a very different meaning from entering illegally. 

I strongly support legal immigration as I believe all Canadians do. 

My question this week:

  • Do you believe that crossing a border between official border crossings is illegal or should it be termed as irregular?


Comments are pre-moderated to ensure they meet our guidelines. Approval times will vary. Keep it civil, and stay on topic. If you see an inappropriate comment, please use the ‘flag’ feature. Comments are the opinions of the comment writer, not of Castanet. Comments remain open for one day after a story is published and are closed on weekends. Visit Castanet’s Forums to start or join a discussion about this story.

More Dan in Ottawa articles

About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the shadow minister of innovation, science, economic development and internal trade, and sits on the standing committee on finance.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

In British Columbia, Dan has been consistently one of the lowest spending MPs on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

Dan is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories