(As published in Policy Options)
On January 10, 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Ahmed Hussen as the minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship. Hussen replaced John McCallum, who had been the minister since November 4, 2015.
This is the third time that I am weighing the good, the bad and the ugly about a Canadian immigration minister. It is in some ways the most difficult time, given that McCallum’s tenure was so short. My first assessment of an immigration minister was about Jason Kenney, who remains Canada’s longest-serving immigration minister, having held the role for 1,719 days. His successor, Chris Alexander, whom I also wrote about, led Canada’s immigration department for 826 days. John McCallum was Canada’s immigration minister for only 433 days.
To some extent, the busy nature of McCallum’s tenure made up for its short duration. He was the first immigration minister in Trudeau’s Liberal majority government, which assumed power after an election campaign in which refugee and citizenship issues were prominent. Because McCallum had also been the Liberal immigration critic during Canada’s previous Conservative government, and had also served as a cabinet minister in previous Liberal governments, he was able to hit the ground running in implementing his mandate. Nonetheless, the comparative lack of material to write about was noticeable as I prepared this article.
John McCallum’s biggest accomplishment as Canada’s immigration minister, and the one that he will definitely be most remembered for, was presiding over the resettlement of over 39,000 Syrian refugees in Canada. Given the numerous significant challenges associated with such a grand endeavour, it is doubtful that someone without McCallum’s previous cabinet experience would have been able to achieve what he did in such a short period.Read more ›
One of the confusing aspects of a judicial review practice is determining how many applications are needed.
In Chambers v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), for example, the applicant filed one judicial review to seek review of i) an immigration Officer’s decision to prepare a report pursuant to subsection 44(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the “IRPA“) to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness’ delegate, (ii) the decision of the Minister’s delegate pursuant subsection 44(2) of the IRPA to refer the applicant, to an admissibility hearing before the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board, and (iii) the decision of the Immigration and Refugee Board to order the applicant’s removal from Canada.
The Department of Justice argued that this was improper. However, Justice Bell disagreed, writing that:
The Applicant counters that this same issue was raised in Clare v Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, 2016 FC 545,  FCJ no 513 [Clare]. In Clare, O’Reilly, J. disagreed with the Minister’s contention. He concluded that, “[w]hile it was open to Mr. Clare to seek judicial review of those other decisions, it was not necessary to do so in order to challenge the [Immigration Division’s] decision on admissibility”. While O’Reilly, J. acknowledged that in some cases applicants had challenged multiple decisions through separate applications, he did not interpret them as “requiring applicants to do so in order to challenge the ID’s decision on admissibility”.
Mr. Chambers contends this issue has already been disposed of by the judge who granted leave. I agree. Leave was granted on the application as filed, without any limitation. The question is therefore moot. However, by way of obiter, I would state that I agree with the approach adopted by O’Reilly,Read more ›
The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (“AINP“) currently has three streams.
Employer Driven Stream
The AINP Employer-Driven Stream is for:
- Alberta Employers who want to retain a foreign worker on a permanent, full-time basis where there is a challenge finding Albertans/Canadians to fill the position; and
- Foreign workers with a permanent, full-time job offer from an Alberta Employer who intend to live and work in Alberta permanently.
It includes the following substreams:
Please note that individuals in the following circumstances are not eligible under the Strategic Recruitment Stream:
- Refugee claimants, or individuals involved in a federal appeal or removal process;
- Live-in caregivers currently living in Canada;
- Temporary foreign workers working and residing in a province other than Alberta; and
- International students studying in Canada and doing co-op work placements or internships as part of their study program
Skilled Worker Category
In order to be eligible under the Skilled Worker Category, the employer must:
- Be incorporated or registered as a business in Alberta by or under an act of the legislature of a province or the Parliament of Canada and operating as a business that has an established production capability, plant or place of business in Alberta;
- Provide a job offer to the Candidate for permanent, full-time employment in a skilled occupation;
- Provide a job offer to the Candidate that meets Alberta’s employment and wage standards and does not conflict with existing collective bargaining agreements;
Last updated on May 17th, 2019
Where a visa application has been refused and an applicant is convinced that the decision is unreasonable then it may be advisable to file an Application for Leave to Commence Judicial Review with the Federal Court of Canada (the “Federal Court” or the “Court”).
The Federal Court has the jurisdiction to review the decisions of visa officers. The Court will determine whether an immigration officer committed any reviewable errors that should result in the decision being set aside. Reviewable errors include errors of fact, law, or breaches of procedural fairness. If an applicant succeeds in Federal Court, then the Court will order that the immigration officer’s decision be set aside, and typically that the application be reconsidered by a different officer.
Usually, a successful judicial review will ultimately result in a positive decision from the second visa officer. However, this is not always the case. Furthermore, as the Federal Court of Appeal determined in Lee v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), there is no obligation on the second immigration to specifically refer to the order of the Court and provide reasons as to how and why the second decision differs from the first.
In deciding whether to submit a judicial review application it is important to note that the Federal Court will not review or accept new evidence, but, rather, determine if an officer made an error based on the information that was before them.
As well, pursuant to the Federal Court of Appeal decision in Maple Lodge Farms Ltd. v Canada (Food Inspection Agency), 2017 FCA 45, even where a visa officer or tribunal makes a mistake a judicial review may still not succeed if ordering a redetermination would be an exercise in futility.Read more ›
Last updated on October 20th, 2020
An interesting aspect of judicial review is that provincial courts show much more deference to provincial nomination programs than the Federal Court does of visa officers. Here are some key passages of two British Columbia Provincial Nomination Program judicial reviews.
This case essentially stands for the proposition that officers can look beyond an offer of employment to determine whether a proposed job offer meets BC PNP program requirements. Justice Bowden wrote:
In determining whether an applicant met the criterion of PNP, if a decision maker relied only upon a future offer of employment, that might well be unreasonable. Not only would that ignore the factor of past employment over a nine month period but also an offer of employment in the future is not an assurance that the criterion will be met.
In this case Madam Justice E.A. Arnold-Bailey provided a useful summary of existing jurisprudence on provincial nomination judicial reviews. She wrote:
Moving from more general statements of principle to specific cases more closely aligned to the present case, I note that among the cases referred to by the Respondent are Jiang and Baba. Both these cases deal with provincial nominee programs in other provinces, Manitoba and New Brunswick respectively. In neither case was the denied applicant successful.
Jiang was an appeal from an order of the application judge refusing to quash a decision of the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program for Business (the “Program”). The appellant, who applied under the economic class pursuant to the business stream,Read more ›
The Federal Court has ruled that owning the majority of shares in a company and being president can count as self-employment.
http://decisions.fct-cf.gc.ca/fc-cf/decisions/en/item/214532/index.doRead more ›
The word “continuously” appears in several immigration requirements. It is not often not defined, and its interpretation has largely been left to immigration officers and the courts.
Black’s Law Dictionary defines the word “continuously” to mean:
Uninterruptedly; in unbroken sequence; without intermission or cessation; without intervening time; with continuity or continuation.”
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word “continuously” as being:
“in a continuous manner; uninterruptedly, without a break”.
The Canadian Oxford Dictionary defines “continuous” as meaning “unbroken, uninterrupted.”
Webster’s Third New International Dictionary defines “continuously” as being “in a continuous manner” and “continuous” as “characterized by uninterrupted extension in time or sequence.”
Dependent Child Jurisprudence
Much of the jurisprudence on the matter involves the definition of “dependent child” before the Conservative Government of Canada changes in 2014.
Previously, a “dependent child” was defined as:
“dependent child”, in respect of a parent, means a child who
(a) has one of the following relationships with the parent, namely,
(i) is the biological child of the parent, if the child has not been adopted by a person other than the spouse or common-law partner of the parent, or
(ii) is the adopted child of the parent; and
(b) is in one of the following situations of dependency, namely,
(i) is less than 22 years of age and not a spouse or common-law partner,
(ii) has depended substantially on the financial support of the parent since before the age of 22 — or if the child became a spouse or common-law partner before the age of 22, since becoming a spouse or common-law partner — and,Read more ›
Towards the end of 2016 the Canadian government made many changes to Canada’s immigration programs. The parents and grandparents sponsorship program went from being first-come, first-serve to a lottery system, arranged employment through a Labour Market Impact Assessment went from guaranteeing someone an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residency to only being a factor slightly more significant than the newly introduced factor of Canadian post-secondary education, and Canada lifted the visa requirement against Mexican nationals.
The rate of change will continue to be fast in 2017. Already, the government has announced that it will lift the visa requirement against Brazil, Bulgaria, and Romania, that it would introduce a work permit program for highly skilled foreign workers, that having relatives in Canada will increase one’s chances of being issued an invitation to apply for permanent residency, and that Canada will ratify the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union, which will make it easier for Europeans to work in Canada.
At the same time that the rate of the pace of changes is increasing, the Canadian government has also expanded the number of ways in which it publicizes these announcements. Many have been introduced through legislative amendments. Others are simply posted on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) website, where changes and updates are frequently posted as Program Delivery Updates, Operational Bulletins, Notices, and the IRCC website’s ever growing Help Section. Often times, there is no formal announcement of a change. Rather, a page on the IRCC website is simply updated.
Given the simultaneous increase in the number of changes and the increase in the ways in which these changes are disseminated to the public, it is perhaps not surprising that on occasion visa officers make decisions which contradict the IRCC website.Read more ›
In Gabriel v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), the officer stated:
Unfortunately, the regulations are silent regarding medical conditions of dependent children and determining their eligibility as dependents. Since there is no mention of [ ] medical condition exceptions Michael is not considered a dependent. While I empathize with Michael and his mother I am not satisfied that an exception should be made in this case. The decision to remove Michael from the application stands.
The Federal Court noted that this amounted to fettering discretion, stating that:
In my view the Decision shows that the Officer believed that, because the Regulations did not mention the possibility of an exception from the requirement for continuous study for students who became ill, she could not give Michael the benefit of such an exception and include him in Rose’s application for permanent residence as a dependent child notwithstanding the Absence.Read more ›
In a recent Borderlines episode, Garth Barriere, Eric Purtzki, Peter Edelmann and I discussed the constitutionality of laws that are retroactive or retrospective. This episode can be found here:
A link to this episode’s synopsis can be found here.
The following post provides a more detailed written summary of retroactive and retrospective legislation in the immigration context.Read more ›
Please note that none of the information on this website should be construed as being legal advice. As well, you should not rely on any of the information contained in this website when determining whether and how to apply to a given program. Canadian immigration law is constantly changing, and the information above may be dated. If you have a question about the contents of this blog, or any question about Canadian immigration law, please contact the Author.
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