Quebec may not cancel immigration applications, argue lawyers

Photo: Jacques Nadeau Le Devoir
Seeun Park could see cancelled his immigration application filed in 2015.

Lawyers in immigration law have tried to convince, Friday, the superior Court to file an injunction to force Quebec to treat 18 000 immigration cases pending. After having heard the parties, the judge Fédéric Bachand has made it known that he would make a decision early next week.

As the bill 9 has not yet been adopted by the national Assembly, the minister Simon Jolin-Barrette does not have the power to remove 18 139 immigration records have not been processed, have called the lawyers representing the quebec Association of lawyers and lawyers in immigration law (québec immigration lawyers association) on Friday. The minister has pretended that the law did not exist, said input game Me Doug Mitchell.

In January, the prime minister François Legault was, however, assured that the 18 000 existing records would be treated under the old rules. Bill 9, however, led to their undoing, forcing the persons concerned to file a new application. 18 000 files in game, 3700 relate to nationals in Quebec.

“What we ask of you, is to order the minister to comply with the law which is still in force,” said to Me, Olga Redko in front of the judge Bachand. “It is related to the current law until it changes. […] It applies to the citizen, but also the Immigration minister. “

The lawyer argued that the minister’s decision to cancel the 18 000 records was causing serious prejudice to the persons concerned who have seen their dreams wiped out. Among them, Seeun Park, Korean origin, who has filed a request for a certificate of selection of Quebec (CSQ) in 2015, and that, with the arrival of the bill, would not be eligible, particularly because of his age.

“You don’t attack the bill 9. We demand, rather, the treatment records as governed by the current law of immigration. It is alleged that the minister has not the power to do what he did by suspending the processing of the current records, ” explained Guillaume Cliche-Rivard, president of the québec immigration lawyers association, outside of the hearing room.

The public interest

The lawyers of the government consider that none of the four criteria necessary for an injunction is not respected.

The minister has not suspended the processing of the files, it has rather ceased to make decisions, has explained to court Me Stephanie Garon. A minister of Immigration has the power to make decisions to apply the general policies that it develops, and this justifies the decision he has taken in the 18 000 records concerned, she argued.

“The prejudice to the government, it is not able to apply its policies to the public interest,” added his colleague, I Thi Hong Link Trinh.

Me Garon has also called into question the notion of urgency pleaded by the québec immigration lawyers association, especially as it took two weeks before filing its request for injunctive relief. “This delay is inexcusable and fatal to the application,” she said.

In this case, the Court has a limited power, because even if she makes an order to force Quebec to deal with folders, a section of the bill provides that when the latter shall be adopted by the national Assembly, the decisions taken by the department after the February 7, 2019 will be cancelled, and it was explained to Me Garon.

In the same breath, the lawyer has reported that the bill would may not be adopted as it stood.

The judge Bachand took the cause under advisement and issue its decision, in writing, at the beginning of next week.

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