On July 14, 2009, Canada imposed a visa requirement on the Czech Republic. At the time, Jason Kenney, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, took to the air waves defending the decision, repeatedly stating that a high percentage of the Czech refugee claims were bogus.
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On July 29, 2010, the Federal Court of Appeal released its decision in Heron Bay Investments Ltd. v. Her Majesty the Queen, 2010 FCA 2003. The case involved a claim of a reasonable apprehension of bias against the Tax Court judge. The Federal Court of Appeal agreed, noting that the Tax Court judge “seemed to fall into the habit of taking over the questioning” and that he “adopted a position in position to [the applicant] on a critical issue in the case”, giving rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias.
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On June 7, the Federal Court released its decision in Delos Santos v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2010 FC 614. The applicant argued that it was a breach of procedural fairness that the same officer heard determined both the applicant’s humanitarian & compassionate (“H&C“) application as well as applicant’s Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (“PRRA“).
The Federal Court found that there was no inherent bias arising from the fact that the same officer dealt with both a H&C application and a PRRA application for the same individual.
This decision was based on the Federal Court of Appeal’s (the “FCA“) decision in Oshurova v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2006 FCA 301, where the FCA answered the following certified question in the negative:
Is there an appearance of bias, in this case, because the same officer decided the application for a visa exemption on humanitarian and compassionate grounds as well as the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment?
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