Canada Immigration Lawyers and Information Enter Canada with Confidence Mon, 06 Apr 2015 22:22:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Emailing with CIC: Who is responsible for lost or failed email messages? Mon, 06 Apr 2015 22:22:44 +0000 Related posts: ]]> emailfailed

If you provide an email address in your application form, you are allowing CIC to communicate with you by email.

Generally speaking email is a great thing for any immigration application.  Email is instant, and letters from CIC can take days to weeks depending on which country you are in.

However, what happens if an email message gets lost in the web?  What if it fails to deliver?

There have been some devastating cases of this happening.  An applicant is patiently waiting for CIC to respond to an application.  One day they receive an email (or a letter) saying the application was rejected because the applicant failed to respond to previous requests for information.

Requests that were never received from CIC.


Thankfully a recent court case decided in February of this year – Asoyan v. Canada –  has summarized the law on email communication between CIC and applicants.

In that case, Ms. Asoyan applied for permanent residence in November of 2012.  CIC sent her an email in February of 2013 asking for updated forms to fill-in some gaps in information.  Ms. Asoyan had 30 days to comply.

She didn’t receive that email.

In March of 2013 she requested an Acknowledgement of Receipt.  CIC emailed this in the same month.

She didn’t receive that email, either.

In November of 2013 she did receive an email from CIC – a refusal of her application!  CIC stated she had not provide the information and as a result, her application was rejected.

Even after two requests for a reconsideration, CIC refused her application.

The issue the court dealt with was if the visa officer failed to provide Ms. Asoyan with proper notice and a meaningful opportunity to respond to the request for information.

The court found that the visa officer did not provide such an opportunity.

The court stated that CIC can presume an email has been sent to an email address provided by the applicant (which has not been revoked or revised), and where there has been no indication that the email may have failed.

Recall that in this case, Ms. Asoyan emailed in March 2013 asking for an Acknowledgement of Receipt.  The court found that this was an indication to CIC that she had not received the February 2013 request for information.  As a result, CIC should have made enquiries to ensure Ms. Aroyan had received that February 2013 email.

The court also stated that it would be “unduly harsh” to place the responsibility for failed emails on applicants, especially when CIC had no process to ensure emails had been received.

The court accepts the general fact that there is no way to reliably determine if an email has been delivered (as opposed to a fax message for example, where the fax machine can confirm the message was received).

The court also accepts that unlawful hacking and email interception are unfortunate facts of life, which undermines the reliability of email communication.

Given this state of affairs, the court states that CIC should exhaust all “reasonable mechanisms” available to ensure email is received (such as asking the applicant to acknowledge the email was received).  The court decided CIC’s email protocol was not sufficient and thus not fair to Ms. Aroyan.  The court allowed Ms. Aroyan’s appeal.

What you can do when CIC sends you email

How can you protect yourself against lost emails from CIC?

Based on the above case, you should do the following:

  • Check your spam or junk email box, and don’t have it set to automatically delete contents.
  • If you don’t receive a communication from CIC in a timely manner, email them and ask for an update, stating you have not received any communication (and save a copy of that email!). This will give CIC the message that any email they send failed to reach you.
  • Write a letter (and keep a copy) stating you have not received communication from CIC.
  • If you are rejected, ask for a reconsideration and state that no emails from CIC were received. Refer to the court case described in this blog that the onus of proof lies with CIC, and provide copies of the emails you sent to CIC asking for an update. Those emails gave CIC notice that you did not receive a communication from them.

What you can do when you send CIC email

How can you ensure that your email reaches CIC?  Remember, now the onus is on you to ensure it is received.

  • Be careful to send the email to the correct CIC address.
  • Check to see if that the email was actually sent properly.
  • Ensure there was no “bounce back” or other indication that the email didn’t get received.
  • Ask CIC to acknowledge receipt of the email. In my experience, CIC rarely acknowledges receipt, but it is important to include it in your email in case you end up in court one day.
  • After a certain amount of time, send the email again if you didn’t get an acknowledgement of receipt, and state that you are sending it because you haven’t heard from CIC.

In all cases, it is important not to bombard CIC with email messages – this can be annoying to visa officers and perhaps be detrimental to your application.  Only send communications after a certain amount of time passes when you expected to hear from CIC and haven’t.

If you found this article useful, please feel free to provide a link to it on your website or social network.  Thanks!


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Facing removal from Canada? Here are some options Tue, 31 Mar 2015 03:18:03 +0000 Related posts: ]]> Denied Visa on Passport

If you are facing removal from Canada, all is not lost.  CIC will likely notify you about a process where you can remain in Canada.

PRRA (or Pre-Removal Risk Assessment) is a process available to those facing removal from Canada.  Don’t know if you qualify?  If you do qualify you’ll receive a notification letter – but be ready to act quickly when you receive notice from CIC.

PRRA is designed for those facing removal from Canada, but who do not pose a risk to the Canadian public.

You’ll need to prove that if you are sent back to your country of origin, you will be persecuted.  The onus of proof lies on you, and the most common application follows the same five main criteria as a refugee application: well-founded fear, persecution, UN Convention Refugee categories, state protection and internal flight alternative.

Well-founded fear

If you were forced to return to your country of origin you would be personally afraid for your life.  You must also prove that other international organizations have documented similar accounts of persecution in your country of origin.


Persecution is a threat to life or freedom.  There must be repeated incidents of persecution, leading to a genuine fear of death or continued persecution.

Your persecution must fit into 1 of the following 5 UN Convention Refugee categories (“Nexus”):

  1. Race/Ethnicity- includes race, colour, descent, and national, tribal, clan or ethnic origin
  2. Religion- Right to personal beliefs and spiritual practice
  3. Nationality- Citizenship or membership to an ethnic or linguistic group
  4. Political Opinion-Freedom of opinion and expression
  5. Membership in a Particular Social Group:

Note that “group” is defined by innate or unchangeable characteristics, orwhose members voluntarily associate for reasons so fundamental to their human dignity they ought not be forced to forsake this association (human rights activists for example).

Membership in a “group” can also include former involuntary status unalterable due to its historical permanence.  One example might be if you are a member of a political group, always you are always considered a member.

State Protection

Did you approach your government in your country for protection?  If not, why not?  A request for protection is not required, but an explanation of why the government in your country of origin will not protect you is required.

Internal Flight Alternative

There must be no safe place for you in your country of origin.

You may stay in Canada while you await this PRRA decision, and you may apply for a work permit (or an extension as the case may be) while your application is in process.

But you must not leave Canada until a final decision is made.  If you leave Canada, prior to a final decision, you may not be allowed to re-enter.

If you have found this blog useful, please feel free to share it with your social network or through a link on your website.

Thank you!

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Overview of the new study permit rules Wed, 01 Oct 2014 04:47:43 +0000 Related posts: ]]> bookswoman studyingThousands of foreign students enter Canada every year to study at one of hundreds of colleges or universities.

It’s a smart move.  Not only do you get to experience Canadian culture, but it can set you up for a post-graduation work visa, and eventually permanent residence in Canada.

Even if permanent residence is not your current goal, after studying here, you may wish to stay indefinitely.

However, the student permit rules have changed recently and I’ve summarized the key aspects below.

Note that a study permit is only required for a program over 6 months in length.  However, it’s a good idea to get  a study permit no matter the length of the program, in case you want to continue studying while you’re here beyond the six month period.

You have to study while you’re here

Previously, you could get a study permit but not necessarily follow through with your study plan.

No longer.

Now, you have to remain enrolled in your school and make reasonable progress towards completing your study program.  CIC will get information on your status from your educational institution, so they will know what you are up to.

If you don’t remain enrolled (and progress – very important – you can’t linger in a program), you might be removed from Canada.  Not good.  So if you come here to study, do just that.

You can only attend certain educational institutions

CIC rules on which institutions you could – and could not – attend have changed over the years.

Now, you must only attend a designated learning institution.  Note that this applies only to post-secondary education.  Elementary and high schools are all acceptable.

You’ll need the number of you college or university in order to apply – you’ll find in the link in the previous paragraph.

You have to pay your way and be healthy

This rule hasn’t changed: you have to show you (or your parents) have enough money to cover tuition fees, living expenses while you’re here, and travel expenses to get back to your country of origin.

If you’re from certain countries (or you’ve lived or traveled in certain countries) for 6 months or more, you might need a medical as well.  Click here for the list of countries where a medical might be needed.

You can now work off campus

This is a big change.  You can work off campus without a work permit for 20 hours per week during classes, and full-time when school breaks.  If you’re studying English (or French) as a second language, then you won’t be able to work off campus.  You would need a work permit in order to work in Canada.

You can work in a co-op / internship program

Co-op or internship programs are fine, so long as they are an essential part of your training program.  However, you do need a co-op work permit (apart from your study permit) to participate.

Studying English (or French) as a second language won’t let you work in a co-op or internship.

You might be able to apply for a study permit from within Canada

Certain individuals can apply for a work permit from within Canada, including:

  • Minor children studying at an elementary, middle or high school
  • Exchange students and some visiting students
  • Students who completed a short course that is a condition for acceptance at a designated learning institution

Feel free to share a link to this article with your social network or on your website if you’ve found it useful.

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Labour Market Opinion is now a Labour Market Impact Assessment Sat, 02 Aug 2014 21:39:47 +0000 Related posts: ]]> If you are planning to work in Canada as a temporary foreign worker, you typically need an employer who is willing to hire you.  That employer must also be willing to apply to the government to show that it is difficult (or impossible) to find a Canadian who is able to do the job you wish to do.

In the past the employer would apply for a “labour market opinion” (LMO) to confirm that it would be difficult to find a Canadian.  An LMO would be issued and you would use that LMO to apply for your work permit.

However, the labour market opinion is now known as a labour market impact assessment (LMIA).  A positive LMIA (or a confirmation letter) will confirm that a foreign worker is required because there is no Canadian available to do the job.

However, not all Canadian employers are required to obtain a positive LMIA.  In many cases, an work permit can be obtained without an LMIA.  Click here and scroll down to “Obtaining a Work Permit Not Requiring ESDC Confirmation” for a list of work permits that be obtained without an LMIA.

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Renewing a supervisa at Vegreville Fri, 04 Jul 2014 04:10:25 +0000 Related posts: ]]> For those of you who have been issued a supervisa, you quickly realized that the promise of a 10 year entry visa was in fact a one or two year entry visa, that must be renewed.

Why is this the case?

CIC wants to ensure that after one or two years, the conditions under which the supervisa were issued have not changed.  For example, do your parents still have adequate medical coverage?  Are they still residing with you?  Can you meet their food and lodging needs?

If your parents are currently residing in Canada with you, then the renewal application is sent to CPC Vegreville.  Currently, the address is:

CPC Vegreville
Visitor and Temporary Resident Permit
6212-55th Avenue – Unit 303
Vegreville, AB
T9C 1W1

However, please check the address on the CIC website before you send anything – CIC often changes addresses without much notice.

What should be included in a renewal application?

In essence, your renewal application (which is an Application to Change Conditions or Extend Your Stay in Canada as a Visitor) should contain all the information you provided in your initial supervisa application, with updated information. So new medical coverage insurance should be included, along with tax information, job letter, and so forth.

Don’t take this application lightly – if you don’t do it right, the supervisa won’t be renewed and your parents will have to return to their home country.

I’ve included a copy of a renewed supervisa here if you want to see what it looks like.

If you’ve found this information helpful, please share this post with your social network or on your blog or website with appropriate credit.  Thanks!

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Did you know you can apply for citizenship with less than 1095 days physical presence? Thu, 12 Jun 2014 04:33:29 +0000 Related posts: ]]> two canadian passports

As a permanent resident, the general rule to apply for Canadian citizenship is to have 1,095 days of physical presence in Canada in the previous 4 years.

If you meet that test, great.

But what if you were out of the country for a few days per month?  What if you have to be out of the country a few days per month (like one of my clients who has business in the USA)?  Can you apply with anything less than 1,095 days?

Yes you can.

To say that the law on physical presence is currently in a state of confusion would be an understatement.  There are several cases at the Federal Court that all say different things.

However, citizenship judges will generally look at your ties to Canada if you have less than 1,095 days.  So let’s look at the factors the citizenship judge will consider, so you can draft your submission accordingly.  Note that generally, only temporary and relatively short absences will be considered as exceptions – lengthy absences and living away from Canada will not fall within the factors below.

1. Was the individual physically present in Canada for a long period prior to recent absences which occurred immediately before the application for citizenship?

This means that you lived here for close to 3 years, left for a period of time (a few months perhaps) but then returned and live here permanently.

2. Where are the applicant’s immediate family and dependents (and extended family) resident?

Let’s say you have regular business trips outside of Canada.  But most or all of your family live here.  It shows you have real ties to Canada, so those days away may count as physically residing here.

3. Does the pattern of physical presence in Canada indicate a returning home or merely visiting the country?

If you leave Canada regularly but stay in hotels, it looks like you are returning home each time, so those days away can count as presence here.  However, if you own a residence elsewhere and leave the country to live there, it may appear as you are visiting Canada and living elsewhere, so those days may not count as presence here.

4. What is the extent of the physical absences – if an applicant is only a few days short of the 1,095 total it is easier to find deemed residence than if those absences are extensive.

Pretty straightforward – the fewer absences the better under this exception to the physical presence rule.

5. Is the physical absence caused by a clearly temporary situation such as employment as a missionary abroad, following a course of study abroad as a student, accepting temporary employment abroad, accompanying a spouse who has accepted temporary employment abroad?

This the exception that most applicants use.  You live here and your employer compels you take an assignment abroad.  If you are going to try this approach, you better have lots of evidence, including an employment contract and a detailed letter from your employer explaining why you were required to work out of the country and what you were doing.

6. What is the quality of the connection with Canada: is it more substantial than that which exists with any other country?

If you want to use this exception, show all your links to Canada: job, property, involvement in the community, contacts, social organizations – whatever you can.  Also if you pay tax here and no other place, make a point of that too.

You should note that one line of case law says citizenship judges must look at the factors above if you have less than 1,095 days.  Another line of case law says they can rely on strict physical presence in Canada.  So you are taking your chances applying with fewer days.

But most citizenship judges will apply the above factors, and if you run into one who sticks with physical presence, you can always apply again once you have 1,095 days.

Always a good idea to speak with a lawyer before applying.

I hope you found this article useful, and if so, feel free to share a link to it with your social network or on your blog or website.

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Eligible occupations announced for the federal skilled worker program Fri, 25 Apr 2014 04:46:30 +0000 Related posts: ]]> suitcase with a canadian flag on itIf you missed out applying under the federal skilled worker program last year because your occupation reached its cap, there’s good news.

CIC just announced a new list of occupations for applicants beginning May 1, 2014.  The overall cap is set at 25,000 applications for the next 12 months.  There are sub-caps of 1,000 for each of the 50 eligible occupations (I’ve listed them below, along with links to the NOC descriptions).

So if you are interested in applying under this program, do it quickly.  Last year, some of the occupation sub-caps were reached by the end of June.  If you like help applying, please feel free to contact me.

Remember, your job title does not necessarily have to match the titles below, but you must be able to show you performed the duties of each occupation (or at least a substantial number of them, depending on the circumstances).

Eligible occupations for May 1, 2014 to April 30, 2015

  • Senior managers – financial, communications and other business services (0013)
  • Senior managers – trade, broadcasting and other services, n.e.c. (0015)
  • Financial managers (0111)
  • Human resources managers (0112)
  • Purchasing managers (0113)
  • Insurance, real estate and financial brokerage managers (0121)
  • Managers in health care (0311)
  • Construction managers (0711)
  • Home building and renovation managers (0712)
  • Managers in natural resources production and fishing (0811)
  • Manufacturing managers (0911)
  • Financial auditors and accountants (1111)
  • Financial and investment analysts (1112)
  • Securities agents, investment dealers and brokers (1113)
  • Other financial officers (1114)
  • Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations (1123)
  • Supervisors, finance and insurance office workers (1212)
  • Property administrators (1224)
  • Geoscientists and oceanographers (2113)
  • Civil engineers (2131)
  • Mechanical engineers (2132)
  • Electrical and electronics engineers (2133)
  • Petroleum engineers (2145)
  • Information systems analysts and consultants (2171)
  • Database analysts and data administrators (2172)
  • Software engineers and designers (2173)
  • Computer programmers and interactive media developers (2174)
  • Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians (2232)
  • Construction estimators (2234)
  • Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians (2241)
  • Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics (2243)
  • Inspectors in public and environmental health and occupational health and safety (2263)
  • Computer network technicians (2281)
  • Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors (3011)
  • Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (3012)
  • Specialist physicians (3111)
  • General practitioners and family physicians (3112)
  • Dietitians and nutritionists (3132)
  • Audiologists and speech-language pathologists (3141)
  • Physiotherapists (3142)
  • Occupational therapists (3143)
  • Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists (3214)
  • Medical radiation technologists (3215)
  • Medical sonographers (3216)
  • Licensed practical nurses (3233)
  • Paramedical occupations (3234)
  • University professors and lecturers (4011)
  • Psychologists (4151)
  • Early childhood educators and assistants (4214)
  • Translators, terminologists and interpreters (5125)
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No more foreign workers for fast food sector Fri, 25 Apr 2014 04:15:33 +0000 Related posts: ]]> Hand stopping motionThe Government of Canada just announced that there is an immediate moratorium on foreign worker applications in the fast food sector for all provinces.

Why did this happen?

There will be a full review of the program after several media stories of a few employers who allegedly abused the program by hiring foreign workers when perhaps there may have been Canadians available to do the work.

Or that Canadians already working had their hours cut after the company hired foreign workers.

The most high profile case was that of McDonalds Restaurants, where it is alleged that foreign workers were given priority work status or more hours.  Also alleged are misrepresented application forms, though none of this has been proven in court.

Three McDonalds locations in Victoria, BC have been “blacklisted” by CIC, meaning they can no longer participate in the temporary foreign worker program.

There is no question that the government had to respond to these allegations as reported in the media.

However, placing a moratorium on the entire fast food sector seems extreme in the circumstances.  Many employers who rely on foreign workers will be hurt by this decision.

It may lead to some employers ceasing to operate, which means their Canadian employees (and their Canadian service providers – everyone from janitorial staff to accountants), will also lose business.

I have no idea whether the allegations against McDonalds are true or not.

However, I do know employers in the food sector, and they always say that it is very hard to find Canadians to work late shifts, especially at locations which are open 24 hours.  So although there may be Canadians available, filling late shifts or odd shifts is often difficult.

I hope the review is done quickly, and a more rational approach to the foreign worker program for the fast food sector is taken.

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Disagree with CIC? How to appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division Fri, 11 Apr 2014 04:08:41 +0000 Related posts: ]]> man at witness standHave you applied to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and been refused?  Did you think the decision was unfair?

CIC Officers are bound by the rules and regulations laid out by the Canadian government.  They are following written procedures, including fairness guidelines.  When it comes to appealing a decision made by a CIC Officer, visa officer or the Immigration Division – you may be able appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) which is one branch of the Immigration Refugee Board.

Who can appeal?

There are three different categories for appeals.

First if your family sponsorship application was refused, the sponsor may appeal the decision, if there are sufficient reasons to appeal.  The reasons for the appeal are also called “grounds for appeal.”

The second category is a removal order appeal.  If you received a departure order, exclusion order, or deportation order, it may be possible for you to appeal the removal order.  You must be a permanent resident, a foreign national with a PR visa, a protected person or a convention refugee to appeal such a decision.

The third category for appeal is a permanent resident who received a decision from overseas that they failed to comply with their residency obligation.  Permanent residents must ensure they spend 730 days (2 years) physically present in Canada within every 5 year period.

Grounds for appeal

There must be a satisfactory reason for the appeal to take place.

According to the rules in place there are three grounds for appeal:

1) an error in law or fact;

2) a principle of natural justice was not observed; or

3) there are sufficient humanitarian and compassionate reasons (usually involved best interests of a child/children) to overcome a negative decision.

Your appeal will not be heard at the IAD unless you have sufficient evidence to file under one of those grounds for appeal.

I will explore these grounds for appeal in more detail in future posts.

Who can not appeal?

An appeal can not be made if you have been found inadmissible due to serious criminality, organized criminality, espionage or violating human or international rights.

In addition, foreign nationals who have been denied a visa, work permit, or study permit may not appeal those decisions.

What about misrepresentation?

If you have been found to be inadmissible based on misrepresentation on your immigration application, you can only appeal to the IAD if you are a sponsor’s spouse, a sponsor’s common-law partner, or a sponsor’s child.

Deciding whether to appeal

A decision to appeal to the IAD should be considered carefully.  Time and expense must be taken into account.  The deadline to file the Notice of Appeal is typically within one month from receiving a decision in Canada or within two months if you live overseas.

If you fit into one of the three categories discussed above (sponsorship, residency obligation (for a decision made overseas) or a removal order), and you feel confident you have grounds for appeal, then contact an immigration lawyer to evaluate your case and help you through the process.  The IAD is a superior court of record and is adversarial by its nature – you should not likely appear unrepresented.

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Holding multiple Canadian work permits at the same time Fri, 14 Feb 2014 04:58:57 +0000 Related posts: ]]> many permits are displayed with a rubber stampDid you know that you can hold multiple work permits at the same time?  And why would you want to do that?

Multiple work permits can provide a level of comfort for individuals working in Canada.  Suppose things go sour with your employer.  You both decide to part ways.  Now you are stuck with a work permit tied to that employer in a particular city.  You can’t work.

Things can get bad in a hurry – you’ll have to quickly find a new employer willing to support you and obtain a labour market opinion.  Once that’s received, you’ll have to apply for another work permit.  Months could pass with you unable to work in Canada, and your savings will quickly deplete, especially if you working in an expensive city such as Vancouver or Toronto.

Holding multiple work permits ensures that if one job ends badly, you can still continue to work for your second (or even third(!) job).

Where on the CIC site does it say I can get multiple work permits?

Like many things in immigration law, the CIC website is silent on this issue.  Perhaps they don’t want to encourage the practise, who knows, but you won’t find any information there.

But an analysis of the law is revealing.

Nowhere in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act does it state that when you get a new work permit, the old work permit is cancelled.  In fact, the Regulations state that a work permit only becomes invalid when it expires or when a removal order made against the permit holder becomes enforceable.  It’s important to note that is does not become invalid when a second (or third, or fourth) work permit is issued.

As a result, holding multiple work permits is not prohibited anywhere in the law.

Great! How can I get multiple work permits?

The key to getting a multiple work permit is to have an occupation that is in high demand.


Because you need at least two employers interested in hiring you, and one will usually be casual or part-time. For example, tradespeople in northern Alberta often hold multiple work permits – one full-time, and one part-time.  Or one for the summer season, and one for the winter.

I have a client who is a nurse and holds 2 work permits – one full-time, one for part-time casual work.

Can I have 2 full-time work permits?

Not likely.  Remember, an employer is required to meet the conditions of employment submitted for the labour market opinion.  If the employer said he or she would employ you full-time and pay you a certain wage, it won’t work if the employer then pays you part-time at a lesser salary.

However – as noted above – a full-time work permit and casual part-time work permits are fine, or a number of casual part-time work permits would be acceptable as well.

So if you have skills in high demand, do yourself a favour and secure multiple work permits – you’ll earn more and you won’t be tied to a single employer.

If you found this post useful, I ask that you link to it from your site, or share it with your social network.

Thanks for reading!





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