Foreign Worker Protection in British Columbia

26th Aug 2018 Comments Off on Foreign Worker Protection in British Columbia

Section 9.4 of Annex B of the Canada – British Columbia Immigration Agreement 2015 provides that “if Canada or B.C. determines that there is a real and substantial risk to a foreign worker as a result of an employer not complying with federal or provincial laws, Canada and B.C. will jointly undertake actions to mitigate such risk, including, where appropriate, issuing a new Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) through the priority Labour Market Impact Assessment process, or issuing a new work permit without the need for an LMIA provided that the Foreign Worker meets all other requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the “IRPR”).

On May 4, 2018 the Government of Canada announced how it will apply the LMIA exemption to foreign workers who are at risk as a result of potential employer non-compliance in British Columbia.  The policy will be in force until April 7, 2020. The measures are available to all foreign nationals in B.C. who hold an employer-specific work permit for an employer located in B.C. or who are authorized to work without a work permit.


Under the policy, visa officers may consider issuing a work permit if they have reason to suspect potential employer non-compliance with provincial laws or reason to suspect potential employer non-compliance with federal laws.

According to the IRCC website, examples of employer non-compliance with a provincial law may include but are not limited to the following:

  • employer non-compliance with the Employment Standards Act by charging job placement and recruitment fees or by repeatedly not paying wages owed to the foreign worker; and
  • employer violation of the Occupation Health and Safety Regulations whereby the employer is failing to provide a safe work environment, which creates undue hazards to the health and safety of the foreign worker or fails to correct unsafe working conditions.

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The Return of Incomplete Applications

25th Aug 2018 Comments Off on The Return of Incomplete Applications

Last updated on February 3rd, 2019

I have previously written in this blog about how Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC’) has adapted an exceptionally strict approach to returning applications for incompleteness.  I have also written in Policy Options about how frustrating this approach can be, because one of its main purposes appears to be to allow politicians to boast about reduced processing times, while ignoring the fact that the experience of individuals who are actually applying is actually often longer than previously. I wrote:

The current rigid triage system distorts a fair comparison of processing times. Suppose an individual applies to sponsor a spouse to immigrate to Canada and forgets to include in one of the forms the city where a non-accompanying brother was born. Previously, processing might have been delayed by two to three months while IRCC contacted the family, informed them of the mistake and requested they provide the information. Now, IRCC would instead return the application one to two months after it is submitted, and the family would have to resubmit. If some supporting documents have expired, they may have to reobtain them, and the process can easily take several months. Under the previous system, this delay would have added two to three months to the processing time. Under the Liberals’ triage system, technically there is no delay because processing doesn’t start until the application is resubmitted. So while the government can boast of reduced processing times, applicants are frequently worse off, and the time that it takes IRCC to approve their immigration applications is lengthened.

I should note that while the above paragraph criticizes the Liberal Government of Canada approach to returning incomplete applications, the previous Conservative Government of Canada essentially adopted (and indeed created) the same approach.

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Make Spousal Sponsorships Work to Reunite Families

25th Aug 2018 Comments Off on Make Spousal Sponsorships Work to Reunite Families

Last updated on September 21st, 2018

The following is an article that I wrote for Policy Options.

On February 14, 2018, Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), announced that the processing time for spousal sponsorship applications had been reduced from 26 months to 12 months in 80 percent of cases. The Minister attributed the reduction to a “Family Class Tiger Team” that had redesigned application packages and introduced workflow efficiencies.

What the Minister didn’t mention was that IRCC achieved its reduction in processing at least in part because it has established an unbelievably strict triage system for marriage-based immigration applications. As reported in several media outlets at the end of January 2018, this intake-management system has in many instances left Canadian families in limbo, caused people who were legally in Canada to lose their status and impeded the ability of the foreign-national spouses of Canadian citizens to work.

On the same day that the Minister made his announcement, IRCC issued an Operational Bulletin stating that effective March 15, 2018, IRCC would return as incomplete applications that do not include a detailed form listing personal and address history, and police certificates from countries where applicants have lived. These forms and police certificates were previously required but not subject to the triage system.

This triage system makes it difficult to accurately compare application processing times and, more importantly, it creates unnecessary and unwarranted hardship for Canadians seeking to reunite with their families.

The drive for faster processing times 

It is true that under the former Conservative government, processing times for spousal and common-law sponsorship applications were generally slower than they currently are.

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Law Cans Episode 8 – R v. Boutilier (Dangerous Offender Designations) with Eric Purtzki

21st Aug 2018 Comments Off on Law Cans Episode 8 – R v. Boutilier (Dangerous Offender Designations) with Eric Purtzki

R. v. Boutilier is a 2017 Supreme Court of Canada decision in which the Court had to determine whether Canada’s dangerous offender designation regime is constitutional.

Eric Purtzki is a criminal defence attorney in Vancouver who was counsel to Mr. Boutilier before the Supreme Court.

We discuss how Canada’s dangerous offender designation regime works, the consequences of being designated a dangerous offender, his arguments at the Supreme Court, and the decision.



1:15 – The facts of the case – Mr. Boutilier robs a pharmacy with an imitation firearm. A car chase ensues. He pleads guilty to six criminal charges to this.  The Crown afterwards seeks a designation that Mr. Boutilier is a dangerous offender.  Mr. Boutilier challenged the law on the dangerous offender designation.


2:00 – What are the consequences of being designated a Dangerous Offender?


2:30 – What is the purpose of the dangerous offender designation?


9:30 – What are the requirements to be designated a dangerous offender?


13:30 – What are the statistics of release for dangerous offenders, and how does someone get released from indefinite detention if they are a dangerous offender?


17:00  – When someone enters into a plea bargain, do they know whether the Crown will seek dangerous offender status?  Is the dangerous offender designation ever used as a bargaining tool?


20:30 – Does dangerous offender designation require a Crown application or can a judge impose it?


24:11 – Eric summarizes the arguments that he made at the Supreme Court of Canada regarding that the dangerous offender provisions of the Criminal Code are overbroad and constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

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French Citizens Waitlisted for the Young Professionals Program

18th Aug 2018 Comments Off on French Citizens Waitlisted for the Young Professionals Program

I recently received a call from a French citizen who was frustrated because they were continuously unsuccessful in the Young Professionals lottery. There was no need for them to be in the lottery, as they would have qualified for Mobilité francophone.

As previously explained on my blog here, IRCC has a work permit program specifically designed for Francophones who want to work in a skilled position outside of Quebec.  As the Young Professionals Program requires a skilled offer of employment, as long as the French person had a job offer outside of Quebec they would qualify for Mobilité francophone.

Here are three basic things to note about Mobilite Francophone.

To qualify for the LMIA exemption, applicants must:

  • apply at a visa office outside Canada;
  • be going to work in an occupation which falls under National Occupation Classification 0, A or B;
  • have French as his/her habitual language; and
  • be destined to a province other than Quebec.

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