This chart is intended as a guide for law enforcement, border and other authorities who require information to establish the level of immunity granted to officials of international organizations in Canada, as well as accredited representatives of member states to international organizations headquartered in Canada, such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal. The status of such persons, and hence the level of immunities, is determined by the entry under "designation" and category of Acceptance/Identity Card, not by the colour or the serial letter on such documents.
Law enforcement officers requiring advice on the immunities of persons with international organizations should consult:
RCMP Security and Safety Liaison Officer
Diplomatic Corps Services, Office of Protocol
This interpretation chart is not the law; the law is contained in the Acts themselves, such as the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act and related Orders in Council. However, this chart can generally be relied upon as reflecting DFAIT's interpretation of the law to be applied on a consistent basis by its staff.
|Designation||Reps of Member States (ICAO)||Admin Staff (ICAO)||Senior Officials (All Intl Orgs)||Officials (All Intl Orgs)||State Member Reps of and Officials of Intl Orgs who are CDN citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada|
|Documentation issued: Category of Acceptance and Identity Card||I||J||I||J||None|
|National Service: Immune from national service obligations||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Legal Process & Criminal/Civil Proceedings: Can be arrested and detained||No (see note 1)1||No (see note 1)||No (see note 1)||Yes||Yes|
|Immune from legal process, whether criminal or civil||Yes||Yes, subject to limitations under Art. 37(2) of the VCDR||Yes||Yes, in respect of words spoken or written and all acts performed in an official capacity||Yes, in respect of words spoken or written and all acts performed in an official capacity|
|Can be compelled to give evidence as witness||No||No||No||Yes, unless the matter involves official duties||Yes, unless the matter involves official duties|
|Immune from jury duty||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Searches, including at Canadian Airports: Subject to personal search (everywhere except at airports)||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Subject to pre-boarding screening at airports||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Subject to office entry and search||No||No||No||No||No|
|Subject to residential entry and search||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Subject to private motor vehicle search||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Subject to personal baggage search||No (see note 2)2||No (see note 2)||No (see note 2)||Yes (see note 3)3||Yes (see note 3)|
|Immigration: Immune from immigration and aliens restrictions, and secondary screening at Canadian points of entry (see note 4)4||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
1 However, a person enjoying personal inviolability such as an accredited state member representative to an international organization or a senior official of such organization, may be temporarily taken into protective custody in order to prevent the repitition or continuation of an offence, and until such time as a responsible member of the mission or post arrives to relieve the police of this responsibility.
2 Canada expects all accredited foreign representatives to comply with normal security measures instituted at Canadian airports. This includes submitting their carry-on luggage through x-ray.
3 The search of baggages of any official associated with an international organization must take into account that the person may be carrying "archives", i.e. files or correspondence, and these documents must not be manually searched. If a person claims to be carrying "archives", these must be excluded from manual search. With respect to diplomatic bags, please consult the following link Circular Note NO. XDC-0144 of January 28, 2011.
4 In addition, accredited officials of international organizations in Canada, and member state representatives to such organizations, are exempt from the work permit.