Group Suing Government Over Wipe-Out of 280,000 FSW Application Backlog Making One Last Try in Court

A group of immigration-hopefuls whose applications for permanent residence in Canada were wiped out by legislation passed by parliament on June 29th are asking a federal court judge to order CIC to process their applications on 'humanitarian and compassionate' grounds. (Montrealais)

A group of approximately 900 people whose applications for permanent residence in Canada were closed after the federal government wiped out the back-log of 280,000 Federal Skilled Worker program applications are making one last attempt in court to force the federal government to process their applications.

The group had previously scored a victory when a federal court justice ruled that the federal government must assess their applications due to the legal obligation it had to process applications in a timely manner once it had filed them. Soon after the ruling, Bill C-38, legislation which includes a legal provision that wipes out the back-log of applications that were filed before February 27th 2008, was passed, which the federal government argues invalidates the court ruling.

The lawyers representing Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) stated that the federal government would process the applications of 165 of the litigants whose files were not among the 280,000 applications in the backlog, but that the applications of the remaining litigants would not be processed as they were eliminated by Bill C-38 when it was passed on June 29th.

The group’s lawyer, Tim Leahy, is making a final effort to save the group’s applications and asking the presiding judge to order CIC to process the group’s applications on ‘humanitarian and compassionate’ grounds.

Immigration Applicants Sue Canadian Government for Wipe-out of 280,000 Application Backlog

A group of former applicants for immigration to Canada are suing the Canadian government for its decision to wipe-out the backlog of approximately 280,000 applications filed under the Federal Skilled Worker program before February 27th 2008.

Toronto lawyer Lorne Waldman is representing at least 40 people from China and Hong Kong who had their applications closed in the wipe-out. The legal action seeks to force the federal government to process their applications. The hearing for the case will be on June 5th.

A group of at least 40 immigration applicants are suing the Canadian government for closing their applications (UNODC)

Waldman is also seeking an injunction to force the federal government to keep his clients’ applications open once bill c-38 passes, and the backlog wipe-out is legally put into effect, until the case is decided.

The federal government argues that the wipe-out of the 280,000 applications was necessary to implement a new immigration assessment system, as the processing of old applications was taking focus away from processing applications filed under more recent rules that better meet Canada’s needs.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says he’s confident this latest legislation will stand legal challenges, but the federal government’s attempt to wipe-out a backlog ten years ago legislatively through a retroactive change in the assessment system failed due to legal challenges.