Prassad v. Canada

Prassad v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), [1989] 1 SCR 560, 1989 CanLII 131 (SCC)

• Decided under old immigration legislation
• Premise of the case is that person was deported and re-entered Canada without authorisation of the Minister
• “Immigration inquiry” was to take place at which decision re: deportation was to be made
• Applicant requested an adjournment of the hearing so that they could apply for a Minister’s authorisation to remain in Canada
• Legal question is whether the adjudicator was obliged to adjourn the removal order proceedings in order to permit the applicant to pursue a Minister’s authorisation/permit to remain in Canada
• The legislation gave wide discretion to adjudicators to consider whether or not to grant an adjournment, and there were no explicit references in the legislation which limited that discretion. Adjudicator was not obliged to grant the adjournment request, although the discretionary decision had to be in accordance with requirement of procedural fairness
Prassad as cited by other case-law
• In Mazzuca v. Silvercreek Pharmacy Ltd., 2001 CanLII 8620 (ON CA), <>:

Thus, it was held by the Supreme Court of Canada in Prassad v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), 1989 CanLII 131 (SCC), [1989] 1 S.C.R. 560, 57 D.L.R. (4th) 663, that when the legislature wishes to deprive adjudicators of discretion, it does so by giving them an express and mandatory direction.

• However, see Baker for a limitation of discretion despite no express statement to that effect in the humanitarian and compassionate provision at that time.

o Court discusses JR in the context of highly discretionary decisions: Though discretionary decisions will generally be given considerable respect, that discretion must be exercised in accordance with the (1) boundaries imposed in the statute, (2) the principles of the rule of law, (3) the principles of administrative law, (4) the fundamental values of Canadian society, and the (5) principles of the Charter.

o Look to international instruments, Ministerial Guidelines, and purposes of IRPA to limit discretion

• From Benitez 2006 FC 461: [109] The applicants acknowledge that the courts have held that an administrative tribunal is master of its own proceedings and may determine the procedures to be followed where the enabling statute is silent: Prassad v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), 1989 CanLII 131 (SCC), [1989] 1 S.C.R. 560.

• From Ha 2004 FCA 49: Since there is no provision in the Act expressly providing a right to counsel in the circumstances of this case, whether or not counsel is permitted to attend a particular interview is within the discretion of the visa officer. However, both the previous analysis as well as the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Prassad v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), 1989 CanLII 131 (SCC), [1989] 1 S.C.R. 560, indicate that this discretion must be exercised in a manner that is consistent with the duty of fairness. Visa officers must consider the particular facts of each case to determine the content of the duty of fairness.