And so it begins. Citizenship and Immigration Canada has begun sending letters to Federal Skilled Worker Applicants who applied prior to February 27, 2008, that their applications will not be processed, and that they will soon be contacted regarding a refund.
Regardless of what one thinks of the merits of cancelling the backlog (I am sympathetic to both sides’ arguments), the way in which the Government of Canada is executing its decision to cancel the applications is problematic. Indeed, I believe that the government is acting in a way that will lead to court intervention.
In brief, the government is cancelling these applications without having yet passed any legislative changes permitting them to do. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and its Regulations still state that the affected applicants are eligible to immigrate to Canada.
From what I can tell, the Minister is currently governing through press release. Ironically, the press release notes that the cancellation and refund of the above applications will occur as a result of “proposed legislation”.
The proposed legislation has not yet been introduced either in the House of Commons or in the Canada Gazette. Despite that, Citizenship and Immigration Canada is already cancelling applications.
Press releases cannot trump statute, and I predict an upcoming wave of successful litigation.