Wednesday, February 29, 2012


See reported case below. Quite apart from the Board's reviewable errors, the better question of policy is why should society tolerate individuals who enter Canada and are found guilty of multiple offences?. Should there be automatic deportation of foreign nationals who commit multiple offences? What about the cost they impose on taxpayers? Should the protection of teh public at large take precendene over all other considerations? What do you think?  Should there be a policy debate on this issue?

Bosompem v. Canada (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness)

Between Ato Bosompem, Applicant, and
The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness,

[2012] F.C.J. No. 213

2012 FC 196

Docket IMM-4865-11

 Federal Court
Toronto, Ontario

Zinn J.

Heard: February 2, 2012.
Judgment: February 10, 2012.

(42 paras.)


1     ZINN J.:-- Mr. Bosompem asks the Court to set aside the decision of the Immigration Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board dismissing his appeal and setting aside the stay of his removal that it had previously granted on January 14, 2008.


2     The applicant is 27 years of age and is a citizen of Ghana. He landed in Canada in 2000 when he was 15 and became a permanent resident. He completed grades 9 through 12 in Canada and has been working at a food service company for the past four years. He is the father of a two year old Canadian born daughter. The mother is a former girlfriend who figures prominently in the events that gave rise to the decision under review.

3     In 2003, when he was 18, Mr. Bosompem was arrested for robbing a convenience store with his friend who was armed with a sawed-off shotgun. The record shows that the applicant was there as a look out; he never entered the convenience store and he did not carry a gun. The applicant was charged with armed robbery. He pled guilty to robbery, was acquitted of armed robbery, and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

4     As a consequence of the criminal conviction, a deportation order was issued against Mr. Bosompem; however, a consent order issued from the Immigration Appeal Division in 2008 staying his deportation for a period of three years, subject to conditions. Noteworthy among the conditions attached to the stay were that he "[n]ot commit any criminal offences... [r]espect all parole conditions and all probation orders...[and] [k]eep the peace and be of good behaviour."

5     After his release from custody, Mr. Bosompem entered into a relationship with a woman he had known from school. Their period together was of short duration; however, a child was born soon after they separated. Sometime in March or beginning of April 2010, Mr. Bosompem and this former girlfriend had an argument concerning their daughter. Although he was not living with the child and her mother, the record indicates that he agreed to pay child support and he regularly visited his daughter.

6     In early 2010, the former girlfriend accused Mr. Bosompem of trying to choke their daughter when he enlarged the hole in the nipple of the baby bottle so that more food could flow. Because of that incident, his former girlfriend prohibited Mr. Bosompem from seeing his daughter and refused to answer his telephone calls.

7     On April 22, 2010, following an argument relating to child support payments and custody of his daughter, Mr. Bosompem left his former girlfriend a voicemail stating: "I am going to murder you if you get me deported." He left a second voicemail on May 5, 2010, stating: "I am going to beat you down and cut your face the next time I see you." The former girlfriend reported these two threats to the police on May 7, 2010. Criminal charges were laid against Mr. Bosompem and he voluntarily surrendered himself to the police on June 3, 2010.

8     He pled guilty and on January 20, 2011, Mr. Bosompem was convicted of threatening death and bodily harm contrary to subsection 264(1) of the Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46. He received a suspended sentence, 18 months probation, and was required to "attend and actively participate in such counselling programs for anger management and domestic violence program (PARS) and any other counselling programs within 30 days of this order as recommended by your probation officer."

9     As required by his probation officer, Mr. Bosompem attended and completed an anger management program conducted by The Salvation Army on October 23, 2010.

10     On June 30, 2011, Mr. Bosompem appeared before the Board for a reconsideration of the three year stay of deportation granted in 2008. On July 7, 2011, the Board set aside the stay of removal.

The Board's Decision

11     The Board properly conducted its analysis of the evidence using the factors enunciated by the Board in Ribic v Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), [1985] IADD 4, which were approved by the Supreme Court of Canada in Chieu v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2002 SCC 3: the seriousness of the offence, the prospects of rehabilitation, the establishment in Canada, the best interests of the applicant's daughter, and the hardship on him and his family members.

Seriousness of the offence

12     The Board noted that although Mr. Bosompem did not have a lengthy criminal record, it was nonetheless serious. It found that "a threat of harm and/or murder from a person, who has in the past displayed a propensity towards violence by virtue of having a firearm in the commission of an offence, would be frightening and in my view makes the offence even more serious." Both of the applicant's offences were stated to weigh heavily against him.

Prospects of rehabilitation

13     The Board found that Mr. Bosompem "attempted to minimize the seriousness of his last offence." This finding was based on his evidence that he did not mean the threats, that his former girlfriend knew he would never hurt her, that the threats were a result of her not allowing him to see his daughter, and that he moved on with his life and was now seeing his daughter and communicating with his former girlfriend through text messaging.

14     Further, the Board stated that because of this "downplaying" of the offences it was "not persuaded that he has accepted responsibility for them." This was stated to be a factor that weighed heavily against him.

15     Lastly, the Board noted that the only rehabilitative steps that were taken by Mr. Bosompem were Court-ordered and this too was found to be a factor weighing heavily against him.

16     As a result, the Board found his "prospects for rehabilitation have diminished given his new conviction ... demonstrates that he is still a potential threat to Canadian society."

Establishment in Canada

17     The Board attributed moderate weight in favour of Mr. Bosompem as a result of his establishment because of his young age and his four years of stable employment.

·       Family in Canada and best interests of a child directly affected by the decision

18     The Board noted the presence of some close family members such as Mr. Bosompem's new girlfriend with whom he lives, his step-father and half-sister in Canada, and his mother in the United States. The Board considered his young daughter to whom he has access every second Sunday from 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

19     The Board found that Mr. Bosompem was genuinely interested in having a relationship with his daughter. It stated that while it is usually in the best interests of a child to have both parents close by, it is not always possible. The weight awarded by this factor was diminished as the Board found that Mr. Bosompem "still has an anger management problem which does not bode well for a role model." Moreover, the Board was satisfied that the applicant's daughter would have support in Canada, notwithstanding her father's deportation. The Board noted that no evidence was adduced as to why Mr. Bosompem's daughter could not travel to visit her father in Ghana later in life. Accordingly, only minimal weight was awarded to the presence of family members in Canada.

Hardship on the applicant and family members

20     The Board noted that Mr. Bosompem contributes financially to his child's support, but said that no evidence was led as to the possibility of him obtaining employment and sending money from Ghana. While the Board realized that Ghana's economy does not equate to Canada's, it was not in the position to take judicial notice of the fact that Mr. Bosompem would be unable to send money. Nonetheless, some weight was given in his favour because of the financial hardship his former girlfriend would endure if he is removed.

21     The Board noted that Mr. Bosompem testified that he sometimes gives rides and money to his sister. Although the sister and the stepfather were not present at the hearing and they did not provide letters in support of his testimony, the Board accepted that his removal from Canada would have some adverse affect on his family. Accordingly, minimal weight was attributed to this factor.

22     As for Mr. Bosompem's mother living in the United States, the Board stated that no evidence was tendered as to why his mother could not visit him in Ghana. Although it was accepted that Mr. Bosompem used to send some money to his 75 year-old grandmother in Ghana, no reasonable explanation was given to establish that he could not provide for her from Ghana. Moreover, the Board found that his personal hardship would be diminished since his grandmother lives in Ghana and he lived with her for the six years prior to his immigration to Canada. Similarly, the Board noted that a list of family members submitted in evidence suggested he has a 19 year old sister in Ghana which could also diminish his hardship. Although the record contains a document that indicates that Mr. Bosompem has a sister in Ghana, that was clearly in error as the immediately preceding document indicates that the very same named sister lives in Canada and he testified that he drives that sister occasionally. Further, this issue was specifically addressed at the hearing:

·       COUNSEL: What about your family back home? 

·       APPELLANT: My family back home is only my grandma that's there. 

The Board erred in its assessment of the evidence in this regard. This is of some importance as the Board relied on the applicant having a sister in Ghana when considering his ability to reintegrate to society in Ghana.

23     Mr. Bosompem's 11 year stay in Canada was found to not be particularly long. The Board found that apart from his years in high school in Canada, he was educated in Ghana. "He is familiar with the culture and at the very least, his grandmother and sister [live] there." The Board found no evidence as to why he would not be able to work and live in Ghana.

24     Although the Board was persuaded that Mr. Bosompem and his family would face some hardship from his removal, it was not persuaded that any hardship was undue. As such, minimal weight was attributed to this factor.

25     The Board concluded that Mr. Bosompem was given a chance to demonstrate that his behaviour would change but he chose to breach the conditions granted in 2008. The seriousness of his convictions and his diminished prospects of rehabilitation were found to outweigh the humanitarian and compassionate considerations. The stay of the removal order was set aside and Mr. Bosompem's appeal was dismissed.


26     The applicant in his written submission raised a number of issues. At the hearing, Mr. Waldman, counsel for Mr. Bosompem, candidly acknowledged that if the Court was of the view, as argued by the respondent, that the applicant's submissions amounted to a dispute as to the weight the Board gave to the evidence, then this application could not succeed. His position was that the Board based its decision on findings of fact that were not supported by the evidence.


27     Having carefully read the complete record as well as the decision under review, I have concluded that some of the concerns raised by the applicant do not constitute a mere reweighing of evidence; they amount to mischaracterizing or ignoring of evidence that could have materially affected the result. Accordingly, while the appropriate standard of review for all the substantive issues is reasonableness, and while this is a deferential standard and the Court ought not to substitute its own view for that of the Board, in the unique facts before the Court, the decision under review, must be set aside.

28     In its decision, the Board Member stated: "I agree with counsel for the Minister that a threat of harm and/or murder from a person, who has in the past displayed a propensity towards violence by virtue of having a firearm in the commission of an offence, would be frightening and in my view makes the offense even more serious." The Board observed in a footnote to that passage that it "acknowledges that the appellant was convicted of robbery and not armed robbery; however, it was the appellant's own testimony that revealed that there was a firearm during the robbery." While it is true that Mr. Bosompem was found guilty of robbery, it is important to note, which the Board did not, that he was also found not guilty of armed robbery.

29     It is clear from the passage above, as well as from an earlier statement of the Board when reciting the facts behind the first conviction, namely that "he testified that he had a sawed off shotgun that belonged to the friend he was with at the time [of the robbery]," that the Board believed that Mr. Bosompem was armed during the robbery; he was not. Mr. Bosompem's testimony quite clearly shows that it was his friend, not he, who was armed.

·       MINISTER' COUNSEL: It's kind of scary to think someone that's capable of taking a shotgun and ... 

·       APPELLANT: It wasn't me that was holding it. 

·       MINISTER' COUNSEL: ... and holding up ... holding up a convenience store ... someone that's capable of that calling you and telling you that they're going to murder you, or telling you that they're gonna beat you down and cut your face, don't you think? 

·       APPELLANT: I know I threatened her, but in my head ... and she knows, and in her head too she knows I'm not going to do that. 

30     In my view, this error by the Board is significant because it undercuts the finding that Mr. Bosompem has "in the past displayed a propensity towards violence," a finding that played a large role in the Board's finding that the recent offence involving his former girlfriend would have been seen by her to be "frightening" and "makes the offense even more serious."

31     The Court does not discount the seriousness of the crime for which he was convicted, threatening death and bodily harm, but it was an error for the Board to give it increased weight based upon its false view of his previous record.

32     Further, the Board failed to consider the timing of the report to the police by the former girlfriend of these threats when it considered the seriousness of the offence, her reaction, and Mr. Bosompem's testimony that he did not mean to harm her and she knew that.

33     The former girlfriend reported the applicant's threats on May 7, 2010 - two weeks after the first telephone message was left and two days after the second. If she believed the applicant was serious and that her life was at risk, one would have expected her to have reported the first call to the police immediately after receiving it. This evidence strongly supports the applicant when he testified that she knew that he would not harm her and that his comments were made out of frustration when he was denied access to his daughter.

34     Moreover, it appears from the record that the police were of the same view. Although the report was made to them on May 7, 2010, they appear to have taken no steps to arrest the applicant. The record indicates that Mr. Bosompem voluntarily turned himself in to police on June 3, 2010, nearly a month after the offences were reported to the police. It is not evident from the record how the applicant learned of the charges, however, it is clear that he was working during this time and his former girlfriend knew his address at home and at work. There was therefore no impediment to arresting him if the police were of the view that these allegations placed the former girlfriend in imminent danger.

35     The Board concluded that the applicant had not accepted responsibility for his offences because he "downplayed" the offenses. The Board made that assessment based on his evidence (i) that he did not mean the threats, (ii) that the former girlfriend knew he would never harm her, and (iii) that the threats were the result of him being prevented from seeing his daughter. In fact, there is ample evidence in the record to establish that each of these statements is factually accurate. If so, they cannot be a basis for finding that he failed to take responsibility for his actions. Further, the Board failed to consider evidence that did show that he did take responsibility for his actions, such as the fact that he pled guilty to the offences, that he voluntarily surrendered to the police, that he gave frank testimony to the Board regarding his criminal offences, and that there was no action taken by him on either of the threats made - in fact there was no evidence that he ever approached the former girlfriend at all.

36     I am also troubled that the Board made a negative inference from Mr. Bosompem's lack of taking rehabilitative courses on his own initiative. He says that there was nothing in the record to suggest that he needed such courses. He says that there was also no evidence that he had "anger problems." He submits that the fact that in difficult circumstances he threatened his former partner, does not support a finding of generalized anger problems.

37     Mr. Bosompem does not have an extensive history of problems with the law. He had a serious conviction in 2003 and then kept out of trouble for seven years until 2010. The victim was not harmed and no violence was involved. Mr. Bosompem submits that in finding that he continued to be a threat, the Board ignored his general pattern of conduct, the context in which the incident occurred, and the post-offence conduct.

38     In my view, the Board erred in its analysis of the applicant's alleged anger management problem and failed to properly consider the remedial action that had been taken to address any anger management concerns.

39     With respect to the first point, the Board writes that the weight it would normally award the applicant relating to his child's interests in having him present "is diminished somewhat by the appellant's recent conviction which in my view displays that he still has an anger management problem [emphasis added]." There is no evidence at all that the applicant had any issues controlling his anger prior to the events that gave rise to these recent convictions. If his recent actions prove that he has an "anger management problem" then it is one of recent origin.

40     Further and addressing my second point, the Criminal Court as part of Mr. Bosompem's sentence ordered him to undergo whatever anger management therapy the probation officer considered appropriate. He was told to take a one-day course, which he completed successfully. Apparently the probation officer, someone more experienced than the Member in assessing anger management problems and required therapy, was of the view that a one-day course was sufficient to address any problems the applicant had controlling his anger. While it is open to the Board to disagree with that assessment, it must explain the basis for any such disagreement and for its view that more was required. If no more was required, then it was unreasonable to fault the applicant for failing to voluntarily take unnecessary additional courses and programs of treatment.

41     As a result of these errors, this decision must be quashed and remitted to a new panel for determination after a full hearing.

42     Neither party proposed a question for certification.


THIS COURT'S JUDGMENT is that this application is allowed, the decision is set aside and the applicant's appeal is remitted to a differently constituted panel for determination after a full hearing. No question is certified.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Work Permit applicants are assessed on a series of issues, but lack of ties at home and poor job prospects when returning are often reasons fo rrefusal.

Huang v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)
Between Huang, Zhai Ning, Applicant, and
The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Respondent

[2012] F.C.J. No. 203

2012 FC 145

Docket IMM-3046-11

 Federal Court
Montréal, Quebec

Martineau J.

Heard: February 1, 2012.
Judgment: February 8, 2012.

(16 paras.)


1     MARTINEAU J.:-- This is the second time that the applicant challenges the legality of a decision of the Canadian Embassy in China refusing the issuance of a work permit. The impugned decision, dated April 21, 2011, concludes once again that the applicant has failed to satisfy the Visa Officer that he will leave Canada by the end of his authorized stay. Accordingly, the applicant is not a genuine temporary resident pursuant to sections 197 and 200 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, SOR/2002-227.

2     The applicant, a Chinese citizen, is a cook in Tibet, who has been recruited to work for a Cantonese restaurant in Alberta for a two year contract. He is 35 years old, single, and has no children. The applicant's step-mother and three sisters live in Alberta. He also has a brother and a sister residing in Tibet. In February 2007, he applied for a work permit which was refused. He filed a second application in January 2010 which was also denied. In January 2011, the Court set aside the officer's decision and sent the application back for re-determination by another officer. The applicant was required to resubmit all supporting documentary evidence and update his application. The applicant reapplied and, on April 21, 2011, his application was again refused, leading to the present judicial review proceeding.

3     That said, the Visa Officer specifically took account of the applicant's declaration attesting to the warning given to the applicant by his potential Canadian employer with respect to the consequences of work permit contravention. The Visa Officer did not consider interviewing the applicant. Essentially, the Visa Officer found that the applicant could be easily replaced at his previous job; he had an income on the lower end of Chinese society; he did not provide evidence of any assets in China aside from an expired 30000 CNY bank book deposit; he presented no evidence of international travel; he remained registered in Guangdong province despite working and living in Tibet; and he had family in Canada in the same town where his job is located. On this evidence, the Visa Officer determined that the applicant had not demonstrated that he was well established in China. The Visa Officer also noted the financial incentive for the applicant to work in Canada and the "pull-factor" of the presence of his siblings in Canada. Consequently, the Officer was not satisfied that the applicant will depart Canada at the end of the authorized stay and accordingly refused his application for a work permit.

4     The standard of review of visa officers' decisions for a temporary work permit is that of reasonableness and considerable deference should be accorded to the Visa Officer's decision (Dunsmuir v New Brunswick, 2008 SCC 9; Li v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2008 CF 1284; Ngalamulume v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2009 FC 1268 at paras 15-16). However, the issue of whether procedural fairness required that the Visa Officer conduct an interview should be assessed on a correctness standard (Bravo v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2010 FC 411 at para 9).

5     I have determined that the application for judicial review must fail. Although at the hearing before this Court, applicant's counsel questioned the reasonableness of each and all of the findings of fact mentioned in the CAIPS notes, it is more convenient to regroup by themes the main arguments made in this regard by the applicant. Moreover, at the outset, I wish to underline that the fact that the previous judicial review application was allowed by the Court is not determinative. Indeed, I am entirely satisfied that the Visa Officer, who is a different person, took a fresh look at the evidence before making a new decision.

Failing to interview the applicant

6     The applicant submits that an interview was required in his case. He argues that where the application demonstrates ineligibility on its face, a paper examination is sufficient but where an officer comes to a conclusion based on speculation that an applicant will commit an offence by overstaying, an interview should be conducted. No further corroboration other than what had been actually provided (i.e. the offer of employment in Canada) was needed in the circumstances. An interview was further warranted by the Visa Officer's reference to the bank note which was submitted as evidence by the applicant to show his assets. The Visa Officer noted that the bank note expired in November 2010 and that the applicant failed to demonstrate savings or funds with any other documents. The applicant argues that should the Officer really wonder where the money is, the applicant could have been called to an interview to tell him. The applicant submits that as the applicant's passport was being renewed and unavailable for submission, the Officer erred in a negative finding based on the applicant appearing to remain registered in Guangdong but residing and working in Tibet. It is submitted that natural justice would require this "appearance" to be confirmed by way of letter or interview.

7     The applicant's arguments are unconvincing. Case law teaches that where an applicant fails to meet the evidentiary onus of satisfying the Visa Officer that they will leave Canada at the end of their authorized stay, an interview is not a statutory requirement. It is the applicants who bears the onus of providing visa officers with thorough applications in the first place (Lu v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2002 FCT 440 at para 11; Dhillon v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2009 FC 614 at paras 30-32; Bonilla v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2007 FC 20 at para 22 [Bollina ]). Generally, where an officer has extrinsic information of which the applicant is unaware, an opportunity to respond should be made available to the applicant to disabuse the officer of any concerns arising from that evidence (Ling v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2003 FC 1198 at para 16; Chow v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2001 FCT 996 at para 14). A similar exception is found where the officer's conclusion is based on a subjective consideration rather that on objective evidence (Bollina, above, at para 27; Yuan v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), [2001] FCJ 1852 at para 12). This is not the case here. In this instance, the Visa Officer relied only on materials submitted by or known to the applicant and so he was not required to conduct an interview. By themselves, the expired bank note, the lack of any other financial records or documentation to confirm residency and registration, are relevant to assess financial capability and his degree of establishment in China (for example, the applicant does not own a house in China). Thus, no reviewable error has been made in this regard by the Visa Officer.

Considering a financial incentive

8     The applicant further submits that the Visa Officer failed to establish a link between his assessment and his conclusion that the applicant would overstay his temporary work permit. He argues that having a financial incentive to stay in Canada is not illegal and not necessarily indicative of a desire to stay illegally. In support of this position, the applicant relies upon Cao v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2010 FC 941 [Cao ], in which the Court stated that a financial incentive, present in virtually all applications for temporary work permits, cannot be held against the applicant. Further, the applicant states that the Visa Officer is required to consider the difference in cost of living between Canada and China.

9     In fact, the Court has repeatedly stressed that a financial incentive, on its own, cannot justify an application refusal (Rengasamy v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2009 FC 1229; Cao, above). This factor cannot discount every other evidence proffered by the applicant. However, a review of the Visa Officer's CAIPS notes reveals that this factor was not given inordinate weight - it was a factor considered in light of the lack of evidence establishing the applicant's ties to China, either familial or financial. There is no reviewable error in this instance.

·       Finding a negative inference on lack of international travel

10     The applicant takes issue with the Visa Officer's argument that a negative inference can be drawn from the applicant's lack of international travel. The applicant relies upon Ogunfowora v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2007 FC 471 at para 42, to argue that though lack of travel may be a consideration that "does not assist the applicants, on the other hand, it cannot hurt their application, since they have no negative travel. Thus this factor alone could not have been strong enough to overweigh the strong evidence to the contrary". The applicant submits that this was an argument advanced in the first application, and subsequently confirmed by the Court.

11     In the CAIPS notes, the Visa Officer stated: "The applicant has presented no evidence of previous international travel. International travel has become a sign of affluence in China and is one of the factors I consider when assessing if an applicant is established". An applicant's travel history cannot overweigh strong evidence to the contrary and cannot hurt the applicant. It remains, however, a relevant factor to be considered (Obeng v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2008 FC 754 at para 13). In the case at bar, the applicant failed to establish sufficient economic or family ties with his country, had a nominal source of income and no verifiable proof of savings. The Visa Officer looked to the applicant's history of travel in order to support a finding of establishment, not to make one. This was not a reviewable error.

Disregarding the applicant's statement

12     The applicant further takes issue with the Visa Officer's failure to give proper weight to the applicant's declaration which was neither challenged nor put into question. This statement addressed the question of illegally overstaying the work permit and articulates the applicant's clear understanding of the consequences of doing so, and his undertaking to leave when required.

13     The Court has recognized that declarations of this sort, though not banal, cannot be presumed to be true and must be viewed in light of the totality of the evidence and the personal circumstances of the applicant; viewing them otherwise would amount to a policy where a declaration would be all that was required to prove that an applicant would not overstay his permit (Cao, above, at para 13). In the CAIPS notes, the Visa Officer acknowledged the applicant's statements, and determined that "these declarations however are not disinterested and could not be forced upon him". This is not an unreasonable inference in the Court's opinion.

14     In final analysis, the Court finds that the Visa Officer reviewed all the evidence that was made available to him and his decision is not unreasonable. The onus was on the applicant to show that he would leave Canada by the end of his authorized stay. To be clear, the Visa Officer did not have to conclude that the applicant would overstay. Any suggestion that the applicant's good faith or credibility should have been taken into account is misplaced in this case. No finding to the contrary was made by the Visa Officer as is apparent from a reading of the CAIPS notes. Furthermore, this does not constitute a positive factor in favour of the applicant or otherwise displace relevant countervailing concerns (Donkor v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2011 FC 141 at para 13).

15     The Visa Officer was entitled to assess the applicant's establishment in China having regard to his employment, his financial savings and his familial ties. The Visa Officer considered that the applicant was an unmarried male with family in Canada, with no dependants, no job to return to in China and no assets. The Officer did not draw unreasonable inferences and natural justice was not breached in his failure to conduct an interview with the applicant. As mentioned earlier, the duty of fairness does not necessarily require an oral hearing in every case and a decision not to dialogue with the applicant was not incorrect in the circumstances.

16     The present application for judicial review shall therefore be dismissed. No question of general importance has been proposed by counsel to the Court.


THIS COURT ADJUDGES that the application for judicial review is dismissed. No question is certified.



Interesting case on a much misunderstood section of the IRPA. The bottom line: an immigration officer does not have to consider further evidence after a decision was communicated on a refusal of an application.

Grigaliunas v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)


Grigaliunas, Sarunas, Applicant, and

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Respondent

[2012] F.C.J. No. 87

[2012] A.C.F. no 87

2012 FC 87
Docket IMM-2862-11
Federal Court

Montréal, Quebec
Shore J.
Heard: January 11, 2012.

Judgment: January 20, 2012.

(30 paras.)

• I. Introduction

1 The matter centres on the following finding by the Federal Court of Appeal in Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v Kurukkal, 2010 FCA 230:

• [3] ... However, in our view, a definitive list of the specific circumstances in which a decision-maker has such discretion to reconsider is neither necessary nor advisable.

• ...

• [5] The judge directed the immigration officer to consider the new evidence and to decide what, if any, weight should be attributed to it. In our view, that direction was improper. While the judge correctly concluded that the principle of functus officio does not bar a reconsideration of the negative section 25 determination, the immigration officer's obligation, at this stage, is to consider, taking into account all relevant circumstances, whether to exercise the discretion to reconsider. [Emphasis added.]

• II. Judicial procedure

2 This is an application for judicial review of a decision of an immigration officer dated March 2, 2011, rejecting an application for reconsideration of a decision dated January 7, 2011, refusing the applicant's application for permanent residence in Canada as a skilled worker.

• III. Facts

3 The application for permanent residence in the skilled worker class by Sarunas Grigaliunas, a college professor, was received by the Canadian Embassy in Warsaw on November 23, 2010.

4 On January 7, 2011, the immigration officer refused the application for permanent residence on the ground that the applicant had obtained only 65 of the 67 minimum number of points needed to meet the requirements under the skilled workers class. The officer found that the applicant would be unable to become economically established in Canada.

5 On February 23, 2011, the applicant sent a detailed application for reconsideration of the decision rendered regarding his case, directing the immigration officer to use substituted evaluation in accordance with subsection 76(3) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, SOR/2002-227 (Regulations).

6 In support of the application for reconsideration, the applicant attached three documents that had previously been submitted and a new document dated February 2, 2011.

7 In an e-mail dated March 2, 2011, the immigration officer rejected the application for reconsideration.

• IV. Decision under review

8 The immigration officer rejected the application for reconsideration in the following termination e-mail dated March 2, 2011:


• Your application for permanent residence in Canada was carefully and sympathetically evaluated on the basis of the information available in your file at the time of the decision. I was of the opinion that the points allocated were an accurate reflection of your ability to become economically established in Canada, and therefore found that the application for substituted evaluation was unjustified. The decision is final and will not be reconsidered.

• The detailed reasons for the rejection were provided to you in our letter dated January 7, 2011, which fully concluded your file. The documents received after that decision were not and will not be taken into consideration.

(Tribunal Record (TR) at page 1).

• V. Issue

9 Is the decision rejecting the reconsideration of the application for substituted evaluation by the immigration officer reasonable under the circumstances?

• VI. Relevant statutory provisions

10 The relevant provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, SC 2001, c 27 (IRPA) are as follows:

• Act includes regulations

• 2. (2) Unless otherwise indicated, references in this Act to "this Act" include regulations made under it.

• Application before entering Canada

• 11.

(1) A foreign national must, before entering Canada, apply to an officer for a visa or for any other document required by the regulations. The visa or document may be issued if, following an examination, the officer is satisfied that the foreign national is not inadmissible and meets the requirements of this Act.

• Economic immigration

• 12. (2) A foreign national may be selected as a member of the economic class on the basis of their ability to become economically established in Canada.

* * *

• Terminologie

• 2. (2) Sauf disposition contraire de la présente loi, toute mention de celle-ci vaut également mention des règlements pris sous son régime.

• Visa et documents

• 11.

(1) L'étranger doit, préalablement à son entrée au Canada, demander à l'agent les visa et autres documents requis par règlement. L'agent peut les délivrer sur preuve, à la suite d'un contrôle, que l'étranger n'est pas interdit de territoire et se conforme à la présente loi.

• Immigration économique

• 12. (2) La sélection des étrangers de la catégorie "immigration économique" se fait en fonction de leur capacité à réussir leur établissement économique au Canada.

11 The relevant provisions of the Regulations are as follows:

• Class

• 75.

(1) For the purposes of subsection 12(2) of the Act, the federal skilled worker class is hereby prescribed as a class of persons who are skilled workers and who may become permanent residents on the basis of their ability to become economically established in Canada and who intend to reside in a province other than the Province of Quebec.

• Selection criteria

• 76.

(1) For the purpose of determining whether a skilled worker, as a member of the federal skilled worker class, will be able to become economically established in Canada, they must be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

• (a) the skilled worker must be awarded not less than the minimum number of required points referred to in subsection (2) on the basis of the following factors, namely,

• (i)

education, in accordance with section 78,

• (ii)

proficiency in the official languages of Canada, in accordance with section 79,

• (iii)

experience, in accordance with section 80,

• (iv)

age, in accordance with section 81,

• (v)

arranged employment, in accordance with section 82, and

• (vi)

adaptability, in accordance with section 83; and

• (b) the skilled worker must

• (i)

have in the form of transferable and available funds, unencumbered by debts or other obligations, an amount equal to half the minimum necessary income applicable in respect of the group of persons consisting of the skilled worker and their family members, or

• (ii)

be awarded the number of points referred to in subsection 82(2) for arranged employment in Canada within the meaning of subsection 82(1).

• Number of points

• (2)

The Minister shall fix and make available to the public the minimum number of points required of a skilled worker, on the basis of

• (a) the number of applications by skilled workers as members of the federal skilled worker class currently being processed;

• (b) the number of skilled workers projected to become permanent residents according to the report to Parliament referred to in section 94 of the Act; and

• (c) the potential, taking into account economic and other relevant factors, for the establishment of skilled workers in Canada.

• Circumstances for officer's substituted evaluation

• (3)

Whether or not the skilled worker has been awarded the minimum number of required points referred to in subsection (2), an officer may substitute for the criteria set out in paragraph (1)(a) their evaluation of the likelihood of the ability of the skilled worker to become economically established in Canada if the number of points awarded is not a sufficient indicator of whether the skilled worker may become economically established in Canada.

* * *

• Catégorie

• 75.

(1) Pour l'application du paragraphe 12(2) de la Loi, la catégorie des travailleurs qualifiés (fédéral) est une catégorie réglementaire de personnes qui peuvent devenir résidents permanents du fait de leur capacité à réussir leur établissement économique au Canada, qui sont des travailleurs qualifiés et qui cherchent à s'établir dans une province autre que le Québec.

• Critères de sélection

• 76.

(1) Les critères ci-après indiquent que le travailleur qualifié peut réussir son établissement économique au Canada à titre de membre de la catégorie des travailleurs qualifiés (fédéral) :

• a) le travailleur qualifié accumule le nombre minimum de points visé au paragraphe (2), au titre des facteurs suivants :

• (i)

les études, aux termes de l'article 78,

• (ii)

la compétence dans les langues officielles du Canada, aux termes de l'article 79,

• (iii)

l'expérience, aux termes de l'article 80,

• (iv)

l'âge, aux termes de l'article 81,

• (v)

l'exercice d'un emploi réservé, aux termes de l'article 82,

• (vi)

la capacité d'adaptation, aux termes de l'article 83;

• b)

le travailleur qualifié :

• (i)

soit dispose de fonds transférables -- non grevés de dettes ou d'autres obligations financières -- d'un montant égal à la moitié du revenu vital minimum qui lui permettrait de subvenir à ses propres besoins et à ceux des membres de sa famille,

• (ii)

soit s'est vu attribuer le nombre de points prévu au paragraphe 82(2) pour un emploi réservé au Canada au sens du paragraphe 82(1).

• Nombre de points

• (2)

Le ministre établit le nombre minimum de points que doit obtenir le travailleur qualifié en se fondant sur les éléments ci-après et en informe le public :

• a) le nombre de demandes, au titre de la catégorie des travailleurs qualifiés (fédéral), déjà en cours de traitement;

• b) le nombre de travailleurs qualifiés qui devraient devenir résidents permanents selon le rapport présenté au Parlement conformément à l'article 94 de la Loi;

• c) les perspectives d'établissement des travailleurs qualifiés au Canada, compte tenu des facteurs économiques et autres facteurs pertinents.

• Substitution de l'appréciation de l'agent à la grille

• (3)

Si le nombre de points obtenu par un travailleur qualifié -- que celui-ci obtienne ou non le nombre minimum de points visé au paragraphe (2) -- n'est pas un indicateur suffisant de l'aptitude de ce travailleur qualifié à réussir son établissement économique au Canada, l'agent peut substituer son appréciation aux critères prévus à l'alinéa (1)a).

• VII.

Position of the parties

12 The applicant makes a two-part argument that the immigration officer erred by refusing to, first, exercise his discretion pursuant to subsection 76(3) of the Regulations and, second, consider the new evidence submitted to evaluate the application of his discretion.

13 Regarding the immigration officer's exercise of discretion, the applicant argues that the immigration officer should have taken into account his substantial fund as a more accurate ground for his ability to become economically established in Canada.

14 With respect to the second argument, the applicant contends that the immigration officer refused to consider exercising his discretion because he refused to take into account the new document submitted with the application for reconsideration. He was not able to then properly consider the possibility of exercising his discretion. The applicant claims that this was an error of procedural fairness.

15 The respondent submits that the immigration officer was not required to reconsider. In fact, he considered the possibility of exercising his discretion, but decided not to do so. As such, an officer has the power to exercise his discretion, but is not required to do so. The reasons for his refusal were recorded in his notes. Furthermore, he states that the applicant failed to submit relevant documents in his application for reconsideration.

16 The respondent claims that, since the legislative amendment to subsection 76(3) of the Regulations, officers cannot exercise their discretion to consider an applicant's settlement funds. According to a line of authority from the Court, exercising the power of substituted evaluation cannot be limited to the criteria set out in paragraph 76(1)(a), that is, the points awarded for the various factors.

• VIII. Analysis

17 According to Dunsmuir v New Brunswick, 2008 SCC 9, [2008] 1 SCR 190, it is important to show deference to discretion.

• [49] ... In short, deference requires respect for the legislative choices to leave some matters in the hands of administrative decision makers, for the processes and determinations that draw on particular expertise and experiences, and for the different roles of the courts and administrative bodies within the Canadian constitutional system.

18 First, an immigration officer is not obligated to reconsider an application for permanent residence.

19 The Federal Court of Appeal enacted this principle in Kurukkal, above:

• [5] The judge directed the immigration officer to consider the new evidence and to decide what, if any, weight should be attributed to it. In our view, that direction was improper. While the judge correctly concluded that the principle of functus officio does not bar a reconsideration of the negative section 25 determination, the immigration officer's obligation, at this stage, is to consider, taking into account all relevant circumstances, whether to exercise the discretion to reconsider. [Emphasis added.]

20 In this case, the immigration officer's notes, as they appear in the CAIPS, are as follows:


(Applicant's Record (AR) at page 69).

21 The immigration officer therefore clearly considered the possibility of exercising his discretion. The reasons are intelligible and transparent. With respect to the new evidence, after making the reasonable decision to not reconsider the file, it was open to him to not consider it.

22 Second, substituted evaluation is an act that is dependent upon the officer's discretion:

• [12] A number of cases have held that officers are not under a duty to provide reasons for their decision not to exercise their discretion to apply a substituted evaluation under s. 76(3): Yan v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2003 FCT 510, at para. 18; Poblano v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2005 FC 1167, at para. 7; and Lackhee v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2008 FC 1270, at paras. 12-13.

(Marr v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2011 FC 367).

23 It is important to focus on the legislative amendment made to subsection 76(3) of the Regulations with respect to an immigration officer's exercise of discretion, which specifies the following: "an officer may substitute for the criteria set out in paragraph (1)(a) their evaluation". [Emphasis added.]

24 Paragraph 76(1)(a) refers directly to the awarding of points according to various criteria. Some see, further to this amendment, that immigration officers cannot use substituted evaluation on the basis of an applicant's financial resources as a reflection of their ability to become economically established, a factor set out in paragraph 76(1)(b).

25 The Court's reasoning in Xu v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2010 FC 418, is as follows:

• [32] In my opinion, for this Court to import the requirement that these funds must be considered by an officer is to overstep the proper role of the Court. I read section 76(3) of the Regulations as not requiring consideration of the settlement funds available to the applicant; however, that is not to say that an officer cannot consider the applicant's settlement funds. [Emphasis in original.]

26 In Xu, above, commenting on Lackhee v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2008 FC 1270, 337 FTR 299, in which the Court allowed the judicial review because the immigration officer had failed to consider a change in the applicant's funds, the Court pursued its reasoning as follows:

• [36] What Lackhee and Roberts establish is that if an applicant puts forward a case as to why his or her settlement funds render the point calculation not indicative of the likelihood of economic establishment, then the officer should be open to considering it.

27 Furthermore, Manual OP 6: "Federal Skilled Workers", a reference for immigration officers, is consistent with this view:

• 13.3.

Substituted evaluation

• R76(3) makes possible substituted evaluation by an officer. This authority may be used if an officer believes the point total is not a sufficient indicator of whether or not the applicant may become economically established in Canada.

• Substituted evaluation is to be considered on a case-by-case basis. The scope of what an officer might consider as relevant cannot be limited by a prescribed list of factors to be used in support of exercising substituted evaluation. There are any number and combination of considerations that

• an officer might cite as being pertinent to assessing, as per the wording of R76(3): "... the likelihood of the ability of the skilled worker to become economically established in Canada... ." [Emphasis added.]

28 An immigration officer may therefore exercise substituted evaluation in light of an applicant's funds, but at his or her discretion. Available funds are only one of numerous relevant factors. Immigration officers are in the best position to weigh this factor among others according to the particular circumstances of the case.

29 In this case, the immigration officer unequivocally admitted that he had considered the evidence submitted to the file with respect to the applicant's financial situation. It must also be noted that the purpose of the applicant's application for reconsideration was clearly to bring the applicant's funds to the attention of the officer again, even though this information had already been the subject of an initial analysis:


• Upon reading the letter of refusal received on January 28, 2011, the lack of reference to the applicant's financial situation is evident. There is reason to believe that the immigration officer placed no weight on any evidence provided by the applicant in support of his settlement funds in the approximate amount of $132,020 CAD ... .

(Application for Reconsideration, AR at page 74).

• IX. Conclusion

30 The immigration officer's decision is reasonable. Therefore, for reasons stated earlier, the application for judicial review is dismissed.


THE COURT ORDERS the dismissal of the applicant's application for judicial review. No question of general importance arises for certification.

Certified true translation: Janine Anderson, Translator


The Federal Court of Appeal has ruled that no points can be awarded for education  unrelated to the degree in a Skilled Worker application.

Lee v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)
Between Martin Tan Lee, Appellant, and
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Respondent

[2012] F.C.J. No. 238

2012 FCA 54

Docket A-213-11

 Federal Court of Appeal
Toronto, Ontario

Layden-Stevenson, Gauthier and Stratas JJ.A.

Heard: February 15, 2012.
Oral judgment: February 15, 2012.

(9 paras.)

Appeal from an Order of the Honourable Madam Justice Snider dated May 26, 2011, Docket No. IMM-6513-10, [2011] F.C.J. No. 790.

The judgment of the Court was delivered by

1     STRATAS J.A. (orally):-- Mr. Lee appeals from a judgment of the Federal Court (per Justice Snider): 2011 FC 617.

2     Mr. Lee had applied for a permanent resident visa under the "federal skilled worker class" described in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, SOR/2002-227. A designated immigration officer rejected Mr. Lee's application on the basis that he failed to earn the minimum number of points needed to qualify for the visa.

3     The Federal Court dismissed Mr. Lee's application for judicial review, finding that the immigration officer committed no reviewable error. In doing so, it certified the following as a question of general importance:

·       In assessing points for education under section 78 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, does the visa officer award points for years of full-time or full-time equivalent studies that did not contribute to obtaining the educational credential being assessed? 

4     Recently, in another appeal, this Court considered this very question and answered it in the negative: Khan v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2011 FCA 339. The appellant has not convinced us that Khan is manifestly wrong. Accordingly, we must answer the certified question in this case in the negative.

5     In addition to the issue raised by the certified question, Mr. Lee raises other issues in this Court. These broadly relate to the substantive merits of the designated immigration officer's decision and his failure to provide reasons.

6     Mr. Lee raised these same issues in the Federal Court, submitting that the designated immigration officer's decision should be set aside. As mentioned above, the Federal Court found no reviewable error.

7     For substantially the same reasons as the Federal Court, we agree that there is no reviewable error.

8     Finally, in this Court, the appellant submits that the decision was "lawfully invalid" because outdated forms were used. The CAIPS notes show that there was updating of the appellant's file. In our view, the appellant's submission in this respect elevates form over substance.

9     Therefore, notwithstanding counsel's spirited submissions, we shall answer the certified question in the negative and dismiss the appeal.


Monday, February 27, 2012


This has been a long-standing problem but politically correct attitudes prevent any meaningful solution, as it would require denial of citizenship to those born from parents without status. Perhaps the time has come for a more common sense approach to this problem.

Canada cracking down on 'passport babies'

By Natalie Stechyson, Postmedia News
February 26, 2012

Citizenship and Immigration Canada is poised to crack down on so-called “passport babies” or “birth tourism” — the practice of travelling to Canada to give birth so that child can have Canadian citizenship — as a media report out of China reveals a ring of consultants that coach pregnant women to do exactly that.

“We are aware of crooked consultants who encourage pregnant women to illegally travel to Canada to give birth and gain access to Canada’s considerable benefits,” Citizenship and Immigration spokeswoman Candice Malcolm told Postmedia News on Sunday.

“We condemn the practice of circumventing our laws to game the system, leaving Canadians taxpayers with the bill. This is unfair and not right.”

The government will introduce changes to the citizenship laws in the next year, Malcolm said.

An investigation by a Hong Kong newspaper found that bogus “consultants” are teaching Chinese women how to hide their pregnancies and how to apply for Canadian visitor or student visas.

For a fee, the pregnant women are instructed to wear dark clothing when crossing the border, not to pack any baby belongings and to lay low until they go into labour, at which point they should rush to the nearest hospital, according to newspaper Apple Daily.

On Friday, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told CBC’s Power and Politics that this kind of fraud has been a problem for some time but that it’s difficult to get a handle on the numbers.

“By definition the hospitals don’t ask. You know, when the birth certificate is issued no one is asking what was the immigration status of their parents. So, there is no statistical register of this,” Kenney said.

Canada and the U.S. are the only two countries in the developed world that have an automatic inheritance of citizenship if you’re born on their soil, Kenney said. He told CBC that he’s asked his department to look at options for change.

“The idea is that we don’t want to encourage birth tourism or what some people call passport babies,” Kenney said.

“And maybe our citizenship laws are rooted in a time when people couldn’t fly over here, fly in and out so quickly, so easily. I think maybe there’s a need to modernize our approach.”

Kasra Nejatian, Kenney’s press secretary, condemned the birth tourism practice in an interview with the Chinese news agency Ming Pao, stressing that the behaviour is unfair to Canadians.

On Feb. 16 the Conservative government introduced sweeping legislation aimed at cracking down on bogus refugees, particularly Europeans whose claims, the Tories say, are generally considered to be unfounded.

"Canada’s asylum system is broken," Kenney said after tabling Bill C-31 in the House of Commons.

The new omnibus bill will deport so-called “bogus” refugee claimants quicker, clamp down on human smugglers and require certain visa holders to turn over biometric data.

Billed as an improvement to the Balanced Refugee Reform Act adopted during the previous minority Parliament but not yet implemented, the new legislation effectively reintroduces contentious elements that were omitted so the Tories could reach a consensus with the opposition.

The Protecting Canada’s Immigration Act, introduced by Kenney, also swallows the government’s human smuggling bill tabled in June and moves forward on a biometrics plan a Commons committee only recently sat down to consider.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Canadians to ease rules allowing Americans entry

Canadians to ease rules allowing Americans entry

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH
  • Star Tribune
  • February 25, 2012 - 4:02 PM
After years of turning back Americans with drunken-driving and other misdemeanor convictions, Canadian border officials are about to relax their entry restrictions.
The move, which begins March 1, should prevent many hunters, anglers and other tourists heading to Canada from being rejected at the border when officials discover a single DWI or other misdemeanor on their records. Thousands of Americans, including many Minnesotans, have been snared by the increase in border security in recent years.
But the changes won't apply to those with multiple convictions or more serious offenses.
As issue for Americans is that drunken driving is a felony in Canada, while a single offense here often is a misdemeanor.
Canadian tourism industry officials say the tightened border restrictions have resulted in thousands of American customers being turned away at the border, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars in revenue.
"We've had hundreds of customers turned around," said Gene Halley, who runs Halley's Camps, a fishing lodge-outpost business in the Kenora, Ontario, area. "The recession hasn't hurt as much as the border crossing issue."
Often if one member of a group gets rejected at the border because of an old criminal offense, the entire group calls off the trip.
"We call them $6,000 vehicles -- if one gets turned around, the whole group goes home,'' said Mike Loewen, executive director of a regional tourist council that represents more than 200 resorts, lodges and outfitters in northwestern Ontario, a prime destination for Minnesota anglers.
"The restrictions have cost millions of dollars just in northwestern Ontario over the years," said Loewen. "People are being turned away who shouldn't be. We're not saying let criminals in, but someone who made a minor indiscretion years ago shouldn't be prevented from coming here to fish."
It was the Canadian tourism industry's continued pressure on their government that led Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to develop the new policy, which begins Thursday. Under it, people with one minor conviction can get a free Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) to enter Canada. Previously, obtaining that permit was a lengthy, costly process.
Americans with convictions still would have to go through a "rehabilitation" process to permanently clear their record, but the TRP would prevent their rejection at the border.
A key unanswered question is whether the permit will give an American essentially one "free pass" into Canada, or whether the pass would be good for a certain period of time.
The government has yet to release the details, but a spokesperson said in a written response to questions from the Star Tribune: "It aims to facilitate the entry of those who are currently inadmissible for certain offenses, such as where the individual has served no jail time and there is no evidence of repeat behavior."
The policy apparently will apply to a DWI, if it is the only conviction on a person's record.
Loewen and other Canadian tourism officials were recently briefed about the coming changes. Though they, too, are awaiting details, they are encouraged the changes will benefit them and their American customers.
"We're hoping it's a large step in the right direction," said Halley.
Attorney Satveer Chaudhary of Fridley, a former state senator, works on immigration issues and has helped clients jump through the legal hoops necessary to enter Canada.
"I have dozens of clients either turned away or know they can't get into Canada," he said.
"I have a client who was going with a group of friends to Winnipeg for a softball tournament. He had a prior DWI from years before, and was denied entry. He spent the weekend at Pembina, N.D., waiting for his friends to return to pick him up."
For those with criminal records, the procedures to overcome inadmissibility to Canada are complex. See the Canadian government's explanations at

Thursday, February 23, 2012


More Greeks coming to Canada, some are already citizens, others have relatives. A word of warning to all Greek applicants: consult a reputable immigration lawyer prior to attempting to move to Canada and get good advice, apply for the appropriate documents and never accept any advise from unscrupulous individuals who may promise 'guarantees" or "success" in your application. respect the legal process and play by the rules, do things right!

More Greek residents willing to say `yassou' to Canada due to economic crisis

More Greek residents willing to say `yassou' to Canada due to economic crisis

Former restaurateur George Varvarigos has started a new career in auto sales after immigrating from Greece seven months ago.
Varvarigos, 37, sold his share of a restaurant and came to Canada with hopes for a better future.
``Everybody works hard for every daily expense . . . and the bills they have to pay,'' he said. ``Nobody is lazy . . . So they're fighters.''
``(Canada) is a better environment with better chances for people who would like to do something in their life, to have a family, to have their job and to get paid for that and to look straight to the future,'' he explained.
Varvarigos adds that he's thankful for the new opportunities in Canada, including his new job where he is training in auto sales in Toronto.
Members of Greek-Canadian communities say Varvarigos's story is becoming familiar as an increasing number of Greek residents inquire about job opportunities in Canada. They are hoping to start a new life because of the financial uncertainty in their homeland, which is on the brink of bankruptcy and has been plagued by sometimes violent anti-austerity protests.
The EU approved a $172-billion bailout for Greece on Tuesday, committing the government to unpopular austerity measures, which include deep cuts to pensions, public-sector wages and the country's minimum wage.
Greece's unemployment rate hit a record 20.9 per cent in November, compared to 10.4 per cent for the 17 countries sharing the euro.
With these economic prospects, new immigrants are increasingly attracted to Canada's economic engines, such as Alberta.
John Yannitsos, president of the Hellenic Society of Calgary, said a few dozen Greek residents have been arriving in Calgary on a weekly basis recently. Most are Greek citizens with Canadian relatives. There are also some Canadian citizens who had been living in Greece and are now starting to return, he said.
Inquiries from Greek residents are skyrocketing, he said, noting it's come to a point where they now land on a daily basis.
``People were inquiring about the city, the climate. Now, it's getting to be, you can sense the desperation in their voices and in the inquiries,'' he said. ``(They say) `can you help us with opportunities? How can we get there? We'll take our chances when we get there.'''
``People were reading (about) where are the economic opportunities, places that could use labour and Calgary and Alberta kept coming up as a province with high economic (prospects),'' Yannitsos said.
New Toronto resident Roula Loukaki says it was when the tourists stopped buying that she and her husband decided to close their decade-old, family-run gift shop in Greece.
Born in Toronto, Loukaki moved to Greece with her family when she was nine years old.
In her late 30s, Loukaki returned to Canada in early February.
``It's a difficult decision but we want a better life,'' she said. ``We thought, let's just try something else because we don't see any future there,'' she said.
Loukaki is from Kefalonia Island, a popular tourist destination on Greece's west coast.
Since 2009, the Loukakis noticed that business was becoming ``slower and slower.''
As the economic crisis deepened, tourists stopped buying trinkets and gadgets, and local residents also found the items too expensive.
``They stopped buying stuff that are not really important,'' she said, instead preferring to save on necessities, such as food.
She says her friends and young people in Greece are considering moving to Canada, Australia or other European countries, such as Germany.
Although there hasn't been a large immigration wave from Greece in Toronto yet, the return of ``bold ex-pats,'' such as Loukaki, also will include individuals who are single, unattached and Canadian-born who are ``coming back to their roots,'' said videojournalist Trifon Haitas, who was born in Greece, works with Toronto's Greek media and was a former candidate for the Liberal nomination in Jack Laytons old Greektown riding.
Some immigration programs could facilitate the arrival of more Greek citizens in Canada.
In Manitoba, the provincial nominee program for skilled workers is open to individuals from several countries and fast-tracks them to receive permanent Canadian resident status.
``Greek skilled workers invited to Manitoba,'' says the government's immigration website. ``Greeks will feel at home here. Our capital city, Winnipeg, has a vibrant and prosperous Greek community.''
``From business life to nightlife, Greeks have helped forge and form our economic and cultural success,'' according to the website. ``The Canadian province of Manitoba has one of the strongest and most stable economies in the world.''
The program has a set criteria, including minimum age, education, work experience and language ability requirements. The government also partners with employers and communities.
Chris Katopodis, board president of Winnipeg's Greek community, said there have been a few inquiries from Greek residents wanting to immigrate to Canada. Some are Canadian-born and hoping to come back, while others have no family connection here.
That's where the Greek community in Winnipeg may come in, he said: to assist those who don't have family in the city by helping them connect with employers and doctors and to ``be more like hosts.''
The program would be similar to a successful provincial program involving the Jewish community and its support of new immigrants from Argentina with Jewish heritage during their country's 2002 financial crisis, he said.
Katopodis said there haven't been many Greek immigrants in Winnipeg - which is home to about 4,000 Canadians of Greek heritage - since about the 1970s, the tail end of a postwar wave of immigration from Greece to Canada.
In the nation's capital, Dean Karakasis, president of the Hellenic Community of Ottawa, said inquiries from Greece have doubled to about 30 calls per month this year.
Karakasis said the Greek community in Ottawa, which numbers about 6,000 individuals, directs Greek residents to contact the Canadian Embassy in Rome for immigration inquiries.
``Where we fit in is when they've come and been accepted. We help them find places to live,'' he said.
The increase in calls is ``about uncertainty, people wondering whether we will have the same opportunities'' in Canada.
With files from Reuters