Saturday, March 31, 2012


Applications in the Skilled Worker category filed prior to February 27, 2008 will be returned by visa pssts, government to refund filing fees.

Government of Canada Transforms Economic Immigration Program - MarketWatch

OTTAWA, ONTARIO, Mar 30, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- To create a fast and flexible immigration system that creates jobs and promotes Canada's long term prosperity, the Government of Canada will eliminate the backlog in the main federal economic immigration program.
"The Federal Skilled Worker Program backlog is a major roadblock to Canada's ability to respond to rapidly changing labour market needs," said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. "Having to process applications that are as many as eight years out of date reduces our ability to focus on new applicants with skills and talents that our economy needs today."
As announced in Economic Action Plan 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada is planning to refund fees and return stale applications from nearly all those applicants who applied under the dated criteria in existence before February 27, 2008.
CIC is transforming its suite of economic immigration programs to create a just-in-time system that recruits people with the right skills to meet Canada's labour market needs, fast tracks their immigration, and gets them working in a period of months, not years. Eliminating the longstanding backlog of FSW applications will allow the Department to focus resources on facilitating the arrival of skilled immigrants who apply under the current eligibility criteria.
Under proposed legislation, CIC will close the files of FSW applicants who applied before February 27, 2008, and for whom an immigration officer has not made a decision based on selection criteria by March 29, 2012. This is expected to affect around 280,000 applicants, including their dependants. CIC will begin the process of returning the full amount of fees paid to the Department by these affected FSW applicants. For those who have passed the selection criteria stage - approximately 20,000 people - CIC will continue processing their applications until they are approved for entry into Canada or not.
Over the last decade, the number of FSW applications received has greatly exceeded the space available within the Immigration Levels Plan each year, resulting in long processing times and an increasing inventory. Under the 2008 Action Plan for Faster Immigration, CIC began to limit intake to priority occupations. The Department added caps to the number of new applications in 2010. As a result of these efforts, CIC has reduced the pre-2008 backlog by more than 50 percent, and the overall FSW inventory by over 25 percent. However, without further action, some FSW applicants might have to wait until 2017 for a decision.
"It's unreasonable to keep applicants waiting for another five years," said Minister Kenney. "It's also a far cry from the nimble and responsive immigration system Canada needs to remain a destination of choice."
TTY (Telecommunications device for the hearing impaired)
This news release is available online at: .

Friday, March 30, 2012


Applications filed pre-2008 will be eliminated, fees to be refunded.

Budget 2012: New immigration rules and $130M aimed at fixing skilled worker backlog in Canada | News | National Post


Another scam offering high paying jobs and immigration to Canada has surfaced. Advise to applicants: hire a lawyer, service costs money, and nothing is free.

DFA warns vs. Canada immigration scam | GMA News Online | The Go-To Site for Filipinos Everywhere

DFA warns vs. Canada immigration scam

March 29, 2012 5:30pm
Filipinos who plan to find work or settle in Canada were warned against bogus websites claiming to be affiliated with official Canadian government websites.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said these websites sometimes use the Canada wordmark or Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) logo.

Such sites offer dubious special immigration deals or high-paying jobs for a fee but with no tangible results, the DFA said in a news release.

"The DFA wishes to inform the public that the only people who may charge a fee to represent or advise people in connection with a Canadian immigration proceeding or application are authorized immigration consultants, lawyers, Quebec notaries, and paralegals regulated by a law society," it said.

The DFA also said there is no "immigration consultant" website affiliated with the Canadian government.

"If you are suspicious about a website, do a web search to see if anyone has reported any problems with that site.

Do not pay for offers of guaranteed entry to Canada or faster processing of your application. These claims are false," it said.

The DFA also noted the CIC recently launched a multilingual advertising campaign warning prospective immigrants, permanent residents and Canadian citizens not to be taken in by crooked immigration consultants.

It includes a short video warning people not to be duped into committing marriage fraud.

A video directs people to a special page on the CIC website to find out how to immigrate to Canada "the right way."

CIC also encourages everyone to report immigration fraud by calling the Border Watch Tip Line at 1-888-502-9060 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-888-502-9060 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

Under Canada's immigration programs, all people are treated equally, whether they hire someone to represent them or not.

The DFA said the CIC and the Competition Bureau offer the following advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of immigration fraud:
  • Be wary of websites advertised in unsolicited e-mails from strangers and do not give out personal information unless you know who you are dealing with.
  • Before hiring an immigration representative, do your homework: ask for a referral from someone you trust, check their credentials, and discuss the services they will offer.
  • For information on how to choose an immigration representative, one may visit CIC's website.

— VVP, GMA News

Thursday, March 29, 2012


In a recent speech, the Minister of Citizenship and indicated that a third party will evaluate education credentials before potential immigrants can apply,. this seems to be the right move.

Immigration minister plans reforms to foreign credential recognition

OTTAWA — Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced plans to hire an outside company to assess the educational credentials of newcomers before they arrive in Canada in a bid to keep foreign physicians from having to drive cabs when they arrive.

On the eve of an anticipated austerity budget, Kenney said the government will issue a request for proposals within the next two months in the hopes of selecting a third-party organization that can begin conducting these overseas assessments by the end of the year.

"The overall goal here is to better select and better support potential immigrants before they come to Canada so they can hit the ground running once they arrive by integrating quickly into our labour market," he told a business audience of professional regulators Wednesday.

"Once this process is in place, we think this will result in a significant improvement in the points grid system we use to assess applicants to the foreign skilled worker program."

Kenney said the idea is to "be more up front and honest" with would-be newcomers by giving them a sense of how their credentials stack up against someone with a similar Canadian education. It would also help screen out those without adequate levels of education.

In other words, simply having a degree in a particular field will no longer be enough to garner an individual points toward acceptance as a skilled worker.

While this is the sort of thing that ought to be part of visa officers' jobs, Kenney suggested it's an impossible task for them.

"Our visa offices simply don't have the time or expertise to do a qualitative assessment of every single applicant," he said.

"This is an opportunity for specialized assessment of their credentials and their education by going to the experts . . . Unlike immigration officers, they know what the standards are to be licensed as an engineer or as a physician in Canada."

That said, the pre-arrival assessment does not guarantee applicants will find work in Canada commensurate with their skills, nor does it guarantee they'd become licensed in their field.

That lies with the professional regulatory bodies in the jurisdiction in which the individual intends to settle — and that, Kenney suggested, is a whole other problem.

In many ways credential recognition is a provincial responsibility, outside of Citizenship and Immigration's jurisdiction, he said. Kenney also cited the case of an Iranian couple — a radiologist and orthopedic surgeon — who have struggled to get their skills recognized and have resolved to return to Iran.

He suggested some regulatory bodies have been overly protectionist and ought to "do a lot more" to streamline their processes.

"We want to maintain our high Canadian standards, but certainly there has been a lot of criticism," he said.

"We have a moral obligation at all levels of government, all professional licensing bodies, to move forward with deliberation, and haste and urgency to do whatever we can to open the opportunity for people like this to practice."

NDP immigration critic Don Davies suggested the government's been touting this idea for ages and while it's a good start, it still doesn't do anything to actually get a person's credentials recognized in Canada.

He agrees the provinces and particularly the regulatory bodies have put up barriers, for instance to protect their members' earnings potential, but suggested there are ways the federal government can get around it.

While he has yet to table it in this Parliament, Davies has previously put forward a motion urging the federal government to enter into "nation-to-nation treaty discussions" to mutually recognize certain credentials, for example, from a particular university.

Kenney also used the opportunity to release the government's progress report on foreign credential recognition. It highlights a number of initiatives that have been taken, including a program that offers pre-arrival orientation sessions in up to 25 countries, a bridging program to help internationally trained nurses meet Canadian licensing requirements and a website where stakeholders can share information.

Kenney offered few details about what to expect in the budget, but noted the government would be making "fundamental improvements" to immigration programs starting Wednesday and continuing throughout the year.

The policy reforms, he said, are meant to attract skilled immigrants who can fill gaps in the Canadian labour market.

He would not say whether the budget would include a plan to legislate away a massive backlog in applications for immigration, an idea put forward for discussion earlier this month.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


See case below, it is extremely sad and devastating. There is a reasonable likelihood that the person concerned may be deported after the sentence is completed, but it is not automatic. he may be able to file an application for humanitarian and compassionate grounds, and if refused, seek judicial review. That will take considerable time.

R. v. Luskin

Between Her Majesty the Queen, and
Roman Luskin

[2012] O.J. No. 1239

2012 ONSC 1764

 Ontario Superior Court of Justice

G. Trotter J.

Heard: December 22, 2011; March 2, 2012.
Judgment: March 19, 2012.

(32 paras.)



1     Impaired by alcohol, and driving his car at a shocking rate of speed, Roman Luskin crashed into a minivan that was carrying 5 people. Three of them - Kim Hon To (44 years old), Christine Taing (24 years old) and Thimui Quach (64 years old) - were thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene. The driver of the minivan, Si Pho Taing (who was Mrs. To's husband and Christine Taing's father) broke his collar bone. The other passenger, Hon Tran, suffered numerous life-threatening injuries.

2     As a result of this collision, Mr. Luskin has entered pleas of guilty to three counts of criminal negligence causing death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm.

The Offences

3     The collision occurred close to midnight on October 17, 2009 on Finch Avenue West in Toronto, a busy city street. Moments earlier, Mr. Luskin's BMW passed a police cruiser traveling in the opposite direction. The officers in that cruiser estimated that Mr. Luskin was traveling at 150 to 200 kilometres per hour. As they began turning their car around, they heard the terrible crash. Mr. Luskin's vehicle hit the minivan as Mr. Taing attempted to make a left hand turn. The crash destroyed the minivan, shredding it into four pieces. It left a large field of metal and glass debris all over the road. One can only get a true sense of the magnitude of this destruction by looking at the eerie photographs of the scene.

4     An expert report estimated that Mr. Luskin would have been traveling at 181 kilometres per hour just prior to the collision and at a minimum of 118 kilometres per hour when he smashed into the minivan. The cause of the collision was a combination of excessive speed and Mr. Luskin's consumption of alcohol.

5     Mr. Luskin was arrested at the scene. He smelled of alcohol. After he was treated for a fractured wrist, he was asked to provide a breath sample. He refused to do so. But blood was seized. An analysis of his blood estimated that, at the time of the collision, his blood alcohol level was between 122 and 157 mgs of alcohol in 100 ml of blood.

The Impact on the Victims

6     The devastation caused by this criminal act is obvious. Three people lost their lives that fall evening, in a violent manner, without ever knowing what happened to them. Their injuries were catastrophic. Mercifully, loss of consciousness and death came almost immediately. But the pain of their deaths lives on. Mr. Taing lost a wife and a daughter in the crash. He is so grief-stricken by his loss that he was unable to bring himself to prepare a Victim Impact Statement.

7     When Ms. Quach was killed in this horrific collision, she had five children who she had raised almost single-handedly, following the premature death of her husband. In a joint Victim Impact Statement, her children and grandchildren express their sorrow and anguish as a result of losing the loving head of the family.

8     Ms. Tran, who is now in her late 30's, suffered life-threatening injuries. Her injuries included: a traumatic brain injury; a broken leg; liver and spleen lacerations; multiple rib fractures; and traumatic psuedoaneurysm of the descending thoracic aorta. She lost 12 teeth. Right after the collision, she endured a number of surgical procedures. She was then hospitalized for 3 months. Ms. Tran's uncle prepared a poignant statement, detailing the impact of her injuries. She requires constant care. Ms. Tran suffers memory loss. She frequently attends many medical appointments with occupational therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists and speech language pathologists. She is on many medications. She suffers from pain disorder and, not surprisingly, depression. Ms. Tran will never be the same. Her life has been ruined.

Mr. Luskin and His Circumstances

9     Mr. Luskin is now 23 years old. He was born in Kazakhstan. His family moved to Israel in 1998, where Mr. Luskin studied to be a dental technician. The family moved to Canada in 2005. Many character reference letters were filed in support of Mr. Luskin. He is spoken of as a kind and considerate person. A number of these letters refer to Mr. Luskin's life prior to arriving in Canada.

10     In 2008, apparently as a result of a swimming pool accident, Mr. Luskin suffered a spinal cord injury which has affected the use of his arms to a certain extent. He received disability payments from the Ontario Government as a result of this injury. There is no indication that this injury was connected in any way to the offences. Moreover, nothing has been filed to suggest that it has had any impact on his incarceration to date or that it will have any impact in the future.

11     Since coming to Canada in 2005, Mr. Luskin has encountered considerable legal troubles. In 2007, he was convicted of a number of offences in Kingston, all related to credit card fraud. He received a one-year conditional sentence, which expired in October of 2008. After that, he was on a peace bond. As the Crown said during her submissions, for most of his time since coming to Canada, Mr. Luskin has been on bail, serving a sentence, subject to a peace bond or in jail.

12     Mr. Luskin is subject to a deportation order as a result of his previous convictions. An appeal from that decision is pending. Any sentence I impose today will likely trigger further proceedings. If he receives a sentence of greater than two years on the present charges, it will extinguish his right to appeal the deportation order that is presently in place and any other order that is made as a result of these offences: Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27, s. 64.

13     At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing, Mr. Luskin exercised his right to address me personally. Reading a prepared statement, he expressed remorse for his actions, and apologized to those affected by what he has done.

14     One more thing must be said about Mr. Luskin and his situation. He receives moral support from his mother and his step-father. They too have suffered as a result of his offending and may continue to experience unpleasant consequences if Mr. Luskin is deported. I also note that Mr. Luskin lost his natural father many years ago, when he was killed by a drunk driver in Kazakhstan.

Positions of the Parties

15     The Crown submits that I impose a sentence of at least 10 years' imprisonment. She further asks that I impose a 15-year driving prohibition. Counsel on behalf of Mr. Luskin submits that a total sentence of 6 to 7 years' imprisonment would be appropriate in the circumstances. Mr. Luskin has spent a considerable period of time in pre-sentence custody. Counsel disagree on how much credit he should receive for this time in jail.


·       (a) 

Pre-trial Custody

16     The Crown submits that Mr. Luskin should not receive the typical 2:1 credit for all of his pre-trial custody because he has been delaying proceedings in order to accumulate time in pre-trial custody with a view to obtaining enhanced credit. On Mr. Luskin's behalf, Ms. Penman argues that this makes no sense because the favourable parole rules applicable to inmates in Federal institutions would result in Mr. Luskin actually spending less time in custody than in his present situation.

17     On the record before me, I am unable to find that Mr. Luskin delayed his plea for the purposes of racking up time in pre-sentence custody. While I am not required to impose credit on a 2:1 basis, prior to the recent amendments (S.C. 2009, c. 29, s. 3) to the Criminal Code, which came into force after the commission of these offences, the 2:1 ratio was accepted as the customary credit for pre-trial custody: see R. v. Wust (2000), 143 C.C.C. (3d) 129 (S.C.C.) and R. v. Rezaie (1996), 112 C.C.C. (3d) 97 (S.C.C.). Mr. Luskin is entitled to credit on this basis, especially given the significant period of time he has spent at the Toronto Don Jail.

·       (b) 

The Appropriate Sentence

18     The law is clear - in drinking and driving cases that result in death or bodily harm, the principal aims of sentencing must be general deterrence and denunciation. This approach can be traced back to the decision of the Court of Appeal for Ontario in R. v. McVeigh (1985), 22 C.C.C. (3d) 145 (Ont. C.A.).

19     In R. v. Bernshaw (1995), 95 C.C.C. (3d) 193 (S.C.C.), Justice Cory explained the impact of drunk driving in our communities. As he said at p. 204:

·       Every year, drunk driving leaves a terrible trail of death, injury, heartbreak and destruction. From the point of view of numbers alone, it has a far greater impact on Canadian society than any other crime. In terms of the deaths and serious injuries resulting in hospitalization, drunk driving is clearly the crime which causes the most significant social loss to the country. 

After reviewing empirical data on the issue, Cory J. added the following observations, at p. 205:

·       These dry figures are mute but shocking testimony demonstrating the tragic effects and devastating consequences of drinking and driving. The social cost of the crime, great as it is, fades in comparison to the personal loss suffered by the victims of this crime through the death and injury of their loved ones. The gravity of the problem and its impact on Canadian society has been so great that Criminal Code amendments were enacted aimed at eliminating or, at least, reducing the problem. 

20     There is no reason to think that these words are any less valid today. Indeed, since Bernshaw, a virtual chorus of cases repeat these concerns and continue to stress the importance of deterrence and denunciation. Moreover, sentences for these types of offences have tended to increase over the years: R. v. Linden (2000), 147 C.C.C. (3d) 299 (Ont. C.A.), at p. 300; R. v. Reiger (2011), 282 O.A.C. 392, at para. 2; R. v. Boukchev (2003), 117 O.A.C. 119, at para. 6; R. v. Junkert (2010), 259 C.C.C. (3d) 14 (Ont. C.A.), at p. 24. Just last year, in R. v. Kummer (2011), 266 C.C.C. (3d) 32 (Ont. C.A.), MacPherson J.A. reiterated this theme and said at p. 37: "As the dangers of impaired driving have become increasingly evident and as this problem has continued to demonstrate its intractability, the sentences imposed where impaired driving results in death have increased." Rejecting the argument that two of the Court's recent decisions (R. v. Ramage (2010), 257 C.C.C. (3d) 261 (Ont. C.A.) and R. v. Junkert, supra) capped the maximum sentence for these offences at four to five years, MacPherson J.A. pointed out that the maximum sentence for impaired driving causing death is life imprisonment. Consequently, he said (at p. 39): "It must remain within the realm of possibility that a life sentence could be imposed for this crime."

21     With respect, the sentence that the Crown asks me to impose, nothing less than 10 years' imprisonment, is not supported by the authorities. Kummer is the most compelling authority from the Court of Appeal because it is very recent and the factual matrix in that case is similar to Mr. Luskin's case. In Kummer, the Court upheld a sentence of eight years' imprisonment. Like Mr. Kummer, Mr. Luskin killed three people. Mr. Kummer seriously injured two other people. Mr. Luskin injured two people, one very severely. While Mr. Luskin has a criminal record, Mr. Kummer had none, but he had a terrible previous driving infraction involving alcohol.

22     I also note that, in Kummer, MacPherson J.A. compared the facts of that case to two other decisions of that Court in which sentences of nine years were either upheld (R. v. Wood (2 005), 196 C.C.C. (3d) 155 (Ont. C.A.)) or substituted (R. v. Mascarenhas (2002), 60 O.R. (3d) 465 (C.A.)). As MacPherson J.A. said, because Mr. Kummer did not have the same terrible criminal records as the offenders in those cases, he was entitled to a slightly lesser sentence. The same reasoning must apply to this case.

23     It is also important to appreciate that the sentence upheld in Kummer reflects the upward trend of sentences in this area; it does not foreshadow it. Moreover, there is nothing in that case (or in other recent cases from the Court of Appeal) to suggest that sentencing judges should be extending the range even further. This is not to say that harsher sentences may not be justified in some cases. After all, MacPherson J.A. did posit the possibility of a life sentence in an appropriate case. However, I am not persuaded that there are any legally significant factors in this case that warrant assessing the appropriate sentence outside of the framework discussed in Kummer.

24     Of course, there is no tariff or set sentence for this type of case. Each case is unique and the appropriateness of any sentence that is imposed must be determined by the facts of the case, the circumstances of the offender and the constellation of aggravating and mitigating factors.

25     In this case, there are numerous aggravating factors, the principal ones being:

·       (a) 

Mr. Luskin's blood-alcohol level was high, being between 1.5 to 2 times the legal limit; 

·       (b) 

Mr. Luskin's driving was atrocious. Proximate to the time of the collision, he was driving at 180 kilometres an hour in a 60 kilometre per hour zone. He was a danger to everyone in the area that evening; 

·       (c) 

The devastation caused by his driving is almost unspeakable. He killed three people. He injured two others, essentially ruining the life of one of them; 

·       (d) 

Mr. Luskin has a prior criminal record. However, I do not place much weight on this because the record is unrelated. However, it does, to a certain extent, undermine the effect of the letters attesting to his good character. Mr. Luskin also has a driving record. However, it is negligible, and I give it no weight; and 

·       (e) 

Mr. Luskin refused to provide a sample of his breath following this collision even after being informed that three people had been killed. 

26     There are also mitigating factors that must be taken into account. The most important of which are as follows:

·       (a) 

Mr. Luskin is a youthful offender, being only 23 years of age; 

·       (b) 

Mr. Luskin has entered a plea of guilty. While the case against him would appear to have been overwhelming, Mr. Luskin is still entitled to credit for admitting his guilt, saving the system the cost of a trial and sparing further pain to those who have been affected by this terrible event. Balanced against this is the fact that the guilty plea is not an early one: R. v. Daya (2007), 227 C.C.C. (3d) 367 (Ont. C.A.), at p. 372; 

·       (c) 

Mr. Luskin is remorseful for what he has done. The Crown alleges he is not. I fail to understand the basis for that submission. From a legal standpoint, it is difficult for an accused person to express remorse prior to a plea or finding of guilt. The plea is an indication of remorse. In this case, remorse is also to be found in the character letters filed on Mr. Luskin's behalf. I accept Mr. Luskin's statement from the prisoner's box that he is remorseful; and 

·       (d) 

Mr. Luskin has support in his community and from his family. However, the assertion of good character is muted somewhat by his criminal record and prior involvement with the criminal justice system during his short time in Canada. 

27     Each case of drunk driving causing death is uniquely tragic. The violent loss of life in this case is horrific. Without warning, three people, who were going about their daily law-abiding lives, enjoying the love of family and friendship, had their lives taken from them by the selfish and incredibly reckless actions of a drunk driver. Their families will be forever broken. The two people who were lucky enough to escape with their lives are themselves sentenced to a lifetime of painful memories of that fall night, especially Mr. Taing, who lost his wife and his daughter. In addition to her emotional pain, Ms. Tran will likely always suffer physical pain from her many injuries.

28     To properly give effect to the significant aggravating factors present in this case, and to reflect the principles of general deterrence and denunciation, a sentence at the very upper end of the continuum of sentences for this type of case is warranted. I am unable to meaningfully distinguish this case from R. v. Kummer. Applying the law conscientiously, it is my view that a sentence of 8 years' imprisonment is appropriate for this horrific cluster of offences.

29     To return to the issue of pre-trial custody, Mr. Luskin has been in jail for two years and five months. As noted previously, he is entitled to credit on a 2:1 basis, for a total of four years and ten months. Accordingly, I sentence him to a further three years and two months in the penitentiary.

30     On Count #1, I sentence Mr. Luskin to three years and two months of imprisonment. I do the same on Counts #2 and #3, to be served concurrently. On Count #9, I impose a concurrent sentence of one year imprisonment. On Count #10, I impose a concurrent sentence of three years.

31     In addition to an eight year penitentiary sentence, I prohibit Mr. Luskin from driving anywhere in Canada for 15 years. This order may be somewhat academic because Mr. Luskin may be deported following the custodial portion of his sentence. I make an order under s. 109 for 10 years. I also make an order that Mr. Luskin provide a sample of his DNA.


32     In these Reasons for Judgment, I have refrained from referring to this tragic event as an "accident." That word trivializes the serious nature of these offences, which are characterized by a wanton and reckless disregard for the safety and lives of others. The consequences of Mr. Luskin's offences are as grave as they are permanent. Understandably, some will believe that no period of incarceration would ever be long enough to mark the magnitude of what happened that fall night. But there is no sentence that a judge could impose that would somehow make things right. In the circumstances, I must impose a serious penitentiary sentence in order to denounce Mr. Luskin's lethal behaviour and to deter others bent on the same path of destruction. A higher sentence would improperly distort recent authority from the Court of Appeal; a shorter one would fail to reflect the devastation caused by Mr. Luskin that night.



Options are being weighed, but the bottom line will be that the category will be restricted due to economic realities and pressure on health care resources.

Canada News: Immigration sponsorship of parents, grandparents under review by Ottawa -

Immigration sponsorship of parents, grandparents under review by Ottawa

March 27, 2012
Nicholas Keung

Ottawa is considering limiting eligibility of immigration sponsorship of parents and grandparents to those who are “widowed.”
That is one option under review by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney as he launched his national consultations to redesign the program that reunites parents and grandparents with their families in Canada.
Other measures under consideration include:
Raising the income requirements of the sponsors and binding them to lifetime financial support of the elderly family members in Canada.
Adopting the “balance of family test” where parents and grandparents must have at least half of their children residing permanently in Canada to be eligible for sponsorship.
Restricting eligibility to sponsors who are Canadian citizens; currently permanent residents are eligible to sponsor their parents and grandparents.
Limiting the applications to “exceptional cases” by, for example, requiring that the parent or grandparent “be widowed or have other exceptional needs.”
“Our government is fully committed to helping families reunite,” said Kenney in a statement. “The feedback provided by Canadians will guide our government in creating a new program in which future applications will be processed quickly and backlogs will not develop.”
To tackle the sponsorship backlog that now stands at 168,500, Ottawa has stopped accepting sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents since November. It plans to accept between 21,800 and 25,000 applications in 2012, up from 14,072 in 2011.
It also launched the 10-year Super Visa in December, allowing parents and grandparents to make temporary visits to Canada.
Kenney said the revamped program has to be “sensitive to fiscal constraints, bearing in mind Canada’s generous public health-care system and other social benefits.”
According to the government’s discussion paper on the reforms, almost half of the respondents in a 2011 survey said they wanted to see the parents and grandparents category scrapped.
The same online survey, said Ottawa, also found 1,482 respondents favoured allowing more parents into Canada each year, with 1,272 participants suggesting the number be limited.
The online public consultations start this week and run until May 25. A report will be released later this year.
Top 10 source countries for parents/grandparents
In 2010:
India: 4,775
China: 2,380
Philippines: 1,015
Sri Lanka: 820
Romania: 410
Iran: 300
Ukraine: 285
Vietnam: 285
Israel: 200
Haiti (spike a result of 2010 earthquake): 640
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Experience is one of the factors to be assessed by a visa officer in a Skilled Worker application. Many applicants provide letters of experience that re short or somewhat unclear, but may be sufficient to prompt further inquiry,. In the case below, the officer failed to explain specifically which duties of the occupation the applicant did not perform.

Shirazi v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Farha Farook Shirazi, Applicant, and

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Respondent

[2012] F.C.J. No. 343

2012 FC 306

Docket IMM-2817-11

Federal Court

Montréal, Quebec

Scott J.
Heard: January 10, 2012.

Judgment: March 14, 2012.

(33 paras.)


I. Introduction

1 This is an application by Farha Farook Shirazi (Ms. Shirazi), pursuant to subsection 72(1) of the Immigration and refugee Protection Act, SC 2001, c 27 [IRPA], for judicial review of a decision of M. Pendleton, Case Officer at Citizenship and Immigration Canada (the officer) rendered April 14, 2011, denying Ms. Shirazi's application for permanent residence as a member of the Federal Skilled Worker [FSW] class.

2 For the reasons that follow, this application for judicial review is granted.

II. Background

A. Facts

3 Ms. Shirazi is a citizen of India, born in Surat, on September 10, 1975.

4 Ms. Shirazi is married with two children. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a diploma in Computer Education from the D.R.K. College of Commerce, in India and a diploma in International Trade from Mumbai.

5 Her resume reveals that she held several positions in the secretarial field. From October 1999 to September 2001 she worked as a secretary for Al-Rods est., in Sharjah, U.A.E. From November 2002 to February 2006, she worked as an Executive Secretary for Avon Appliances in Mumbai. Ms. Shirazi then worked for Standard Carpets in Sharjah until April 2007. Finally, she joined the "Happy Home English School" in Sharjah from September 2008 to this date (see paras 7 to 15 of the Affidavit of Farha Farook Shirazi).

6 In July 2007, she filed an application under the FSW class.

7 On October 9, 2007, Ms. Shirazi received an acknowledgement of application from the Canadian High Commission in London, England.

8 On March 11, 2010, Ms. Shirazi was informed that her application was sent to the Case Processing Pilot in Ottawa.

9 The Officer concluded that Ms. Shirazi did not satisfy the requirements of the IRPA and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, SOR/2002-227 [IRPR]. Therefore, she was inadmissible under de FSW class, more particularly under the secretary category.

B. Officer's decision

Points assessed


Age 10 10

Education 22 25

Experience 19 21

Arranged employment 0 10

Official language

proficiency 14 24

Adaptability 0 10




10 The Officer assessed Ms. Shirazi's application and awarded points as follows:

11 In order to be accepted under the FSW class, Ms. Shirazi needed a minimum of 67 points. However, as the table above indicates, Ms. Shirazi only scored 65 points out of a maximum of 100 points.

12 The portion of the decision that is at issue, in this case, relates to the Officer's rating in the "Experience" category.

13 As evidence of her experience in the secretarial field, Ms. Shirazi provided several letters from past employers. According to the Officer, of all the documents submitted, only two contained details of her duties (see pages 49 to 59 of the Applicant's Record). The Officer assessed Ms. Shirazi's work experience using these two letters. The Officer compared the duties listed in these letters to the description in the National Occupational Classification [NOC] and found that only one letter (see the letter from Avon Appliances, pages 49 to 57) demonstrated that Ms. Shirazi had performed a number of the duties listed in the NOC code 1241 [NOC 1241]. The Officer writes: "that letter, from Avon Appliances, covers a period of employment of three years, but less than 4 years" (see page 2 of the Tribunal Record).

14 Ms. Shirazi was awarded 19 points instead of 21 points in the experience category because of the length of her tenure at Avon. The Officer calculated Work Experience points "based upon the dates of employment as provided by the letter from Avon Appliances. The dates of [employment] are indicated as 5 November 2002 to 28 February 2006. This is a total of 39 months of employment, or three (3) years but less than four (4) years. As per section 80(1) of the [IRPR], [the Officer] awarded 19 points for work experience based on this assessment" (see para 16 of the Affidavit of Meghan Pendleton dated November 18, 2011).

III. Issue and standard of review

A. Issue

• * Did the officer err in finding that Ms. Shirazi failed to satisfy the requirements found in subsection 75(2) of the IRPR?

B. Standard of Review

15 "The assessment of an application for permanent residence under the [FSW] class is an exercise of discretion that should be given a high degree of deference" (see Ali v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2011 FC 1247, [2011] FCJ No 1536 at para 26; Kniazeva v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2006 FC 268). The present issue raises a question of fact or of mixed fact and law. It is therefore reviewable on a standard of reasonableness (see Gulati v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2010 FC 451, [2010] FCJ No 771 at para 19 [Gulati]).

16 When reviewing a decision on a standard of reasonableness, the Court must be concerned "with the existence of justification, transparency and intelligibility within the decision-making process. But it is also concerned with whether the decision falls within a range of possible, acceptable outcomes which are defensible in respect of the facts and law" (see Dunsmuir v New Brunswick, 2008 SCC 9, [2008] 1 SCR 190 at para 47 [Dunsmuir]).

IV. Parties' submissions

A. Ms. Shirazi's submissions

17 Ms. Shirazi claims the Officer's decision is unreasonable because she failed to take in consideration her letter of employment from the "Happy Home English School". She also submits that an applicant does not need to perform all of the duties set out in the NOC 1241. In Sandhu v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2010 FC 759 at para 27, Justice Mandamin wrote that "the Applicant's last employer listed her responsibilities. This list included two tasks which would qualify the Applicant as a secretary as understood by the NOC 1241 standard: namely, making travel arrangements and training new staff".

18 Ms. Shirazi underlines that she occupied the position of school secretary at the "Happy Home English School". She alleges that her duties at the school which were listed in her letter dated May 2, 2010 (see page 59 of the Applicant's record) shows that she did perform a number of the main tasks listed in the NOC 1241. She submits that, in comparing the NOC 1241 to her letter of employment from the school, similarities of the duties are apparent.

19 The Officer disregarded Ms Shirazi's experience at the school because it failed to show that she had performed a number of the main duties described in the NOC. Ms. Shirazi contends that the main duties listed in the NOC 1241 must be applied to various contexts.

B. Respondent's submissions

20 The Respondent submits that, although Ms. Shirazi had performed the main duties of a secretary in the lead statement of the NOC 1241, she only met the requirements of two criteria for one of her former positions.

21 The Respondent alleges that the evaluation of an applicant's work experience is a matter that belongs to each visa officer. The decision at hand is discretionary and is reasonable in its entirety. This Court's intervention is therefore not warranted.

22 The Respondent refers to Justice Jerome's decision in Hajariwala v Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), [1989] 2 FC 79 at para 7, where he held that "it is clearly, therefore, the responsibility of the applicant to produce all relevant information which may assist his application". Since Ms. Shirazi did not provide sufficient information in support of her application, the Officer was unable to conclude that she had performed a substantial number of the main duties listed in NOC 1241 when working for the "Happy Home English School". Consequently, The Officer's decision is reasonable.

V. Analysis

• *

Did the officer err in finding that Ms. Shirazi failed to satisfy the requirements found in subsection 75(2) of the IRPR?

23 On April 14, 2011, the Officer rendered her decision. She wrote:

• provided several letters of employment, letters of offers and contracts. Of these documents, two (2) contained details of your duties. I assessed your work experience using these two documents. I compared the duties listed in these letters to the description in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) and found that only one letter demonstrated that you had performed a number of the main duties. That letter, from Avon Appliances, covers a period of employment of three years, but less than 4 years.

24 The Officer concluded that her letter of employment from the "Happy Home English School" failed to demonstrate that she had performed a substantial number of the main duties set out in the NOC 1241.

25 Pursuant to subsection 11(1) of the IRPA, "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".

26 Subsection 12(2) of the IRPA governs the application under the economic class. Its purpose is to determine whether a foreign national has the ability to become economically established in Canada.

27 Furthermore, subsection 75(1) of the IRPR provides that, "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". Pursuant to subsections 75(2) and (3) of the IRPR:

• (2)

a foreign national is a skilled worker if

• (a) within the 10 years preceding the date of their application for a permanent resident visa, they have at least one year of continuous full-time employment experience, as described in subsection 80(7), or the equivalent in continuous part-time employment in one or more occupations, other than a restricted occupation, that are listed in Skill Type 0 Management Occupations or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupational Classification matrix;

• (b) during that period of employment they performed the actions described in the lead statement for the occupation as set out in the occupational descriptions of the National Occupational Classification; and

• (c) during that period of employment they performed a substantial number of the main duties of the occupation as set out in the occupational descriptions of the National Occupational Classification, including all of the essential duties.

• Minimal requirements

• (3)

If the foreign national fails to meet the requirements of subsection (2), the application for a permanent resident visa shall be refused and no further assessment is required.

* * *

• (2)

Est un travailleur qualifié l'étranger qui satisfait aux exigences suivantes :

• a) il a accumulé au moins une année continue d'expérience de travail à temps plein au sens du paragraphe 80(7), ou l'équivalent s'il travaille à temps partiel de façon continue, au cours des dix années qui ont précédé la date de présentation de la demande de visa de résident permanent, dans au moins une des professions appartenant aux genre de compétence 0 Gestion ou niveaux de compétences A ou B de la matrice de la Classification nationale des professions -- exception faite des professions d'accès limité;

• b) pendant cette période d'emploi, il a accompli l'ensemble des tâches figurant dans l'énoncé principal établi pour la profession dans les descriptions des professions de cette classification;

• c) pendant cette période d'emploi, il a exercé une partie appréciable des fonctions principales de la profession figurant dans les descriptions des professions de cette classification, notamment toutes les fonctions essentielles.

• Exigences

• (3)

Si l'étranger ne satisfait pas aux exigences prévues au paragraphe (2), l'agent met fin à l'examen de la demande de visa de résident permanent et la refuse.

28 In reading subsection 75(3) of the IRPR it is clear that a foreign national must meet the requirements found in subsection 75(2) in order to be considered a skilled worker.

29 The Officer held that Ms. Shirazi did not meet subsection 75(2) paragraph (c) of the IRPR. However, as Justice Mosley wrote, in paragraph 41 of Gulati cited above, "it is impossible to assess the officer's conclusion, that the applicant had not performed a substantial number of the main duties of NOC ... without knowing which duties the officer thought had not been performed and why". A review of the Computer Assisted Immigration Processing System notes [CAIPS notes] does not shed additional light on the issue since they merely reiterate the Officer's reasons for her decision but do not provide any clear indication of the reasoning behind the rejection of the letter from the Happy Home English School provided by Ms. Shirazi.

30 Certain clarifications were given in the Officer's affidavit dated November 18, 2011 where she wrote that "[i]n comparing the details of the Applicant's duties as provided by letter from Happy Home English School to the NOC code provided by the Applicant for this position (1241), I was not satisfied that the Applicant had performed a substantial number of the main duties provided in the description. I was satisfied that the Applicant had performed some of the main duties listed, but not a substantial number" (see para 14 of the Affidavit of Meghan Pendleton). Again, the affidavit failed to provide sufficient details to explain the basis for the Officer's conclusion that she was not satisfied that Ms. Shirazi had performed a substantial number of the main duties as set out in the NOC 1241.

31 The Officer's decision is a discretionary one. However, the reasonableness of a decision stands on its transparency and intelligibility.

32 According to Dunsmuir cited above "the transparency and intelligibility of a decision are important elements of a reasonableness analysis" (see Gulati at para 42). There absence renders the decision unreasonable.

VI. Conclusion

33 The Officer's decision is unreasonable, it lacked in transparency and intelligibility. The application for judicial review is hereby granted and the matter is remitted to the Case Processing Pilot in Ottawa for reconsideration by another Officer.



• 1. This application for judicial review is granted and the matter is remitted to the Case Processing Pilot in Ottawa for reconsideration by another Officer; and

• 2. There is no question of general interest to certify.



The residency obligation is many time the focus of discussion by those who wonder as to how they can keep their residency when they must leave Canada for business or personal reasons. In a recent decision, the Federal Court allowed a Minister's judicial review and reversed the IRB decision allowing an applicant to keep his residency despite having left Canada. The court noted that there was no evidence of establishment in Canada.

Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v. Mukerjee

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Applicant, and

Subir Mukerjee, Respondent

[2012] F.C.J. No. 348

2012 FC 310
Docket IMM-4916-11
Federal Court

Toronto, Ontario
Zinn J.

Heard: February 29, 2012.

Judgment: March 15, 2012.

(11 paras.)

1 ZINN J.:-- This is an application for judicial review of a decision of the Immigration Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada granting an appeal of a visa officer's decision to refuse to grant a travel document to return to Canada, because the respondent failed to comply with the residency obligations for permanent residents pursuant to section 28 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, SC 2001, c 27.

2 The Board agreed with the officer that the respondent had failed to meet the residency requirements of the Act but found that there were sufficient humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) considerations to warrant special relief under the Act.

3 The Board noted that in deciding the appeal it was guided by the H&C factors non-exhaustively set out in Bufete Arce v Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, [2003] IADD No 370 and Kok v Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, [2003] IADD No 514. The Board found that there was no child that would be affected by the decision, and that the situation of the respondent's family members did not give rise to H&C grounds. Further, it found that the respondent's explanation for his significant absences outside of Canada were the result of personal choices and did not give rise to H&C considerations. However, the Board found two factors weighed in the respondent's favour: hardship and establishment.

4 The Minister submits that the Board's decision with respect to both of these two factors is unreasonable.

5 In making a hardship finding the Board reasoned that some level of hardship was evidenced by the respondent's fulfilment of his conditions of landing, his substantial previous unsuccessful investment, and his testimony attesting to the significant time, energy and investment spent generating new business. The Court cannot interfere with the Board's weighing of this evidence even if it might have weighed and balanced these factors to a different result. In my view, the Board's conclusion on hardship is an acceptable outcome based on the evidence and is not a basis to set aside the decision.

6 The Board's analysis and conclusion with respect to establishment, however, is deficient. Its finding on establishment is as follows:
• As indicated above, the Appellant has been previously established in Canada through his investment here. It is unfortunate that the Appellant's previous business did not prosper as expected. Based on the Appellant's evidence, he has minimal funds in a savings account in Canada. The Appellant declares that he does not have any other assets in Canada. The panel accepts that the Appellant has demonstrated establishment in Canada through the funds in his savings account and his previous investment here. The panel weights the evidence in favour of the Appellant's case [emphasis added].

7 I agree with the applicant that the Board failed to properly consider the lack evidence of establishment at the time of the hearing as required by this Court's jurisprudence: Ambat v Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, 2011 FC 292. The Board was obliged to consider the respondent's degree of establishment initially and at the time of the hearing; it failed to properly consider the establishment at the time of the hearing, noting only his previous investment.

8 At the hearing, the respondent testified to having approximately $3,000 in a Canadian bank account. He has no family members living in Canada, no permanent residence, and there was no evidence, besides a brochure and a deed of sale of one of the respondent's properties in India, to substantiate any current business plans in Canada. Moreover, the Board failed to weigh and balance the evidence of the respondent's considerable establishment in India against his scant establishment currently in Canada.

9 For these reasons, I find that the Board's finding of establishment was made without an evidentiary foundation. The evidence in the record, if anything, weighs against a finding of a current establishment in Canada and therefore I find the Board's evaluation of the evidence and its decision on establishment to be unreasonable.

10 Given the requirement to balance the factors established in the jurisprudence, and my rejection of the Board's finding of establishment, the majority of factors considered by the Board do not weigh in the respondent's favour. Accordingly, the conclusion the Board reached cannot stand.

11 Neither party proposed a question for certification.



• 1. This application is allowed;

• 2. The decision of the Immigration Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada dated July 14, 2011, allowing on humanitarian and compassionate considerations the respondent's appeal of a decision of a visa officer refusing him a travel document to return to Canada is set aside; and

• 3. The respondent's appeal is referred back to a differently constituted Board for determination; and no question is certified.



The story reported in the link below is hardly unique. There is also a question that arises from the story  as to whether the workers participated willingly in illegal employment, or whether the employer misled them into thinking that they were being employed legally or working towards legal status, that is not clear.

Employers and employees are strongly cautioned not to engage in unauthorized employment, as sever penalties are at stake.

Restaurateur exploited immigrants | Home | Winnipeg Sun

Sunday, March 25, 2012


See article below. Draw your own conclusions.

Sex assault suspect was deemed ‘likely to reoffend’ a month ago

Man fighting deportation since February 2011 after two previous convictions

The man who was charged with sexually assaulting a developmentally disabled woman on Wednesday was deemed “likely to reoffend” when he was ordered deported from Canada last month.
Louay Khalil, 34, has been fighting his February 2011 deportation — he was ordered out of the country on the grounds of serious criminality after two sexual assault convictions on strangers he met on the bus — back to Lebanon.
He appealed the deportation and the Immigration and Refugee Board tossed out the appeal last month. In its removal order, the board said Khalil had not sought any professional help.
“These offences are serious and without any credible promise of change, I find the appellant is likely to reoffend,” wrote IRB member Lynne Cunningham in her decision dated February 18, 2012.
But he has not been deported because he has two unrelated sexual assault cases pending before the courts and those take precedent.
In the most recent case, Calgary police say he befriended the vulnerable victim at a restaurant on Wednesday evening, lured her to a northeast home and sexually assaulted her.
Khalil was previously convicted and jailed after following two women off public transit buses in two separate occasions in 2007, grabbing them and trying to forcefully remove their pants. He was scared off in both instances.
During his immigration hearings, Khalil offered up a bizarre story to explain the two sexual assaults.
He told the immigration board his acquaintances had surreptitiously slipped some pills into a Tim Hortons cake he’d eaten and blamed that for the attacks.
“The appellant’s version of events sounded nonsensical, especially because he stated that it happened to him twice in the same way,” wrote Cunningham.
Khalil also said he continued to spend time with the people he claimed had drugged him and bought a stolen computer from them.
“He accepts little responsibility for his crimes, instead relying on a nonsensical story about eating cake with pills in it. He testified that not only did this happen to him once, but also that it occurred a second time and in both instances he sexually assaulted unsuspecting victims. He stated that he could not remember the offences, but he remembered everything up to the point of the sexual assault,” reads the decision.
“Furthermore, instead of avoiding these friends who allegedly surreptitiously gave him the pills, he went to a hotel to buy a $500 computer for $100 from them. Once again, he found himself in trouble with the law. In short, I did not find the appellant credible.”
In his favour, she found that Khalil was a hard worker at his seasonal construction job and he also has family in Canada and support from his mosque, though she wondered if they were aware of his criminal convictions.
Khalil has been in Canada since 2006 when he was sponsored by his then-wife, who is also his cousin, to come to the country.
He is now in custody after his first appearance in court for Wednesday’s alleged sexual assault.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Much talk...but will we see any action on human smuggling?

Canada to step up battle against illegal migration, smuggling

Stephen Harper talks trade, human smuggling in Thailand

By Lee Berthiaume, Postmedia News
March 23, 2012

BANGKOK, Thailand — Canada is contributing $12 million over two years to crackdown on human smuggling and illegal migration in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the funding during a visit to a Thai police outpost where he toured two military-style vessels and received a briefing on efforts to prevent asylum seekers from arriving on Canada's shores by boat.

Canada established a task force in Bangkok, comprised of RCMP officers and other officials, after a ship called the MV Sun Sea bearing 492 Tamil asylum-seekers arrived off the shores of British Columbia from Thailand in August 2010.

"Since the fall of 2010, intensified co-operation between the RCMP and the Royal Thai Police, has thwarted the activities of human smuggling gangs," Harper told task force members and Thai police officers

"Several illegal operations have been blocked and boats have been stopped before they can sail for Canada's shores."

Ward Elcock, the prime minister's special adviser on human smuggling, told reporters Thai police have not actually seized any ships.

Rather, he said a number of operations had been disrupted, with passengers assembling at staging areas but unable to secure transport to Canada.

In addition, Elcock said one shipload of Tamils was seized in Indonesia last July that was bound for Canada.

Passengers on the MV Alicia claimed they were bound for New Zealand.

Elcock could not say how large or small the problems of human smuggling and illegal migration are in the region, but Tamils from Sri Lanka are the main focus.

About $7 million has been set aside specifically for training and equipping police throughout the Southeast Asian region, including $2.5 million specifically for Thailand, which has emerged as Canada's primary partner for tackling the problem of human smuggling and migrant boats.

Harper thanked the Thai security officials "for their energetic pursuit of some of the world's worst criminals — people who profit from exploiting the miseries and the aspirations of some of the world's most vulnerable people."

Elcock believed two years would be enough to train-up security forces in the region to tackle the problem themselves.

However, he felt changes to Canada's immigration and refugee systems would also help.

Since the MV Sun Sea appeared off the coast of British Columbia, and the MV Ocean Lady carrying about 100 Tamil asylum seekers before it in 2009, the Conservative government has worked to prevent more such boats from doing the same.

In addition to establishing the task force in Thailand, the government also introduced a bill aimed at strengthening Canada's anti-human smuggling laws, targeting both those who ran the boats and those who travelled on board, whom the government accused of trying to jump the queue and take advantage of the country's refugee system.

The effort, however, has been a source of controversy as refugee groups have complained the government is unfairly targeting genuine refugees fleeing war and discrimination in their home countries, which would go against Canada's international obligations.

Harper, who has been in Thailand since Thursday, will now fly to Japan, where he is expected to announce free trade talks with the third-largest economy in the world.

On Friday, a giant red sign in front of Bangkok's palatial Government House greeted Harper a "warm welcome" during his first visit to Thailand.

It's a reception the prime minister is hoping to receive throughout the booming Asia-Pacific region, where Canada has been lagging behind its competitors.

Since coming to power in 2006, the Harper government has completed free trade talks with nine countries. However, none of them are in Asia, which is seen as key to Canada's future prosperity.

Negotiations with Singapore were launched in 2001 but have gone nowhere. Discussions with South Korea have also been stalled for several years, while Canada has had a difficult time breaking into the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a major trading bloc that includes the U.S. and a number of other important economies on both sides of the ocean.

The only real progress for Canada has been with India, and while completing a deal with the second-most-populous country in the world would be a major boon, no agreement is on the horizon. In contrast, the U.S., European Union and others have inked numerous agreements in the region.

Harper and his Thai counterpart, Yingluck Shinawatra, announced with great fanfare the launch of a study into whether a free trade agreement between the two countries makes economic sense.

This is considered the first step to full-fledged negotiations and an eventual agreement, which the federal government is hoping will serve as a springboard into the broader Southeast Asian region.

After officials toasted the announcement with champagne — Harper drank white grape juice — the Canadian prime minister declared the study "yet another part of Canada's ambitious trade agenda."

Harper, who is also expected to announce the launch of trade talks with Japan during a stop in Tokyo on Sunday, added that his government has made great strides on free trade in Asia and other parts of the globe.

"Obviously we have and are in the process of launching agreements throughout this region and around the world," he said, "and I'm confident some of these agreements will continue to move forward."

Shinawatra, for her part, welcomed Canada's interest in exploring the possibility of a free trade agreement with her country, and its "re-engagement with Asia and Southeast Asia, in particular" — a telling remark on what many perceive as Canada's absence from the region in recent years.

This is Harper's second visit to Asia in as many months following a high-profile tour of China in February, but the first state trip to Thailand by a Canadian prime minister since Jean Chretien was here in 1997.

The three-country tour, which includes stops in Japan and South Korea, is intended to reiterate Canada's interest in the continent after the Conservative government spent years focusing on the U.S.

Officials have privately said Canada's limited number of trade negotiators are being overworked and under a great deal of pressure, and the addition of two more major negotiations will only add to the load.

Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada president Yuen Pau Woo said he senses an "urgency" in the Conservative government's efforts to complete a deal in Asia, particularly given the number of competitors already in region and Canada's failure to land an agreement. But simply announcing talks isn't enough.

"At the end of his current Asian tour, Canada could have as many as five Asian free trade agreements in various stages of negotiation, not including the Trans-Pacific Partnership," Woo said.

"What matters, however, is not the number of negotiations but Ottawa's ability to close deals and the quality of those agreements. On that measure, we have yet to make the scoreboard."

"It is important that Canada demonstrate its ability to negotiate with Asian trading partners," said trade consultant Peter Clark. "Every deal Canada concludes will enhance our reputation for being able to close. Too much effort goes into these negotiations to join them unless there is a good chance of reaching a mutually beneficial conclusion."

One potential advantage is Canada's energy and resource stocks, which are emerging as key focal points of interest throughout Asia, with countries like China, Japan, South Korea and even Thailand looking to power their fast-growing economies.

Harper acknowledged the role energy could play in Canada-Asia economic relations — which is why the government is pushing major projects like the Northern Gateway, which is designed to facilitate the shipment of oil and gas across the Pacific.

"Our government believes it's essential that we be able to sell our energy products outside North America, to partners and countries other than the United States," he said.

"Obviously that will require some significant infrastructure projects to go forward, and we're obviously, as we've indicated, looking at taking steps necessary to make sure we can get timely regulatory decisions on those kinds of projects."

In addition to the free trade study, Harper and Shinawatra announced the completion of a youth exchange agreement that will let individuals from each country between the ages of 18 and 30 obtain work visas.

Friday was Harper's first full day in Thailand and he started it by visiting the hospital where the country's beloved but ailing 84-year-old monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Harper did not meet the king, but signed a book wishing him well and passing along a vase of flowers.

Harper then travelled to Thailand's Government House, where he was warmly greeted by Shinawatra and inspected an honour guard in the sweltering heat before retiring for a private discussion with the Thai prime minister.

He also visited the Royal Palace before ending the day at a Canadian and Thai business roundtable and reception.

Friday, March 23, 2012


This trial is quite  interesting and surprisingly long. Ottawa Citizen reports on the details:

No one would risk job over $200 gifts, witness tells immigration fraud trial

OTTAWA — A man who was supposed to be a star witness for the Crown in its case against an immigration manager charged with fraud and bribery has instead claimed the bureaucrat didn’t know he was accepting cash from immigrants.
And while Issam Dakik said he did give Diane Serre gifts and cash up to $200, he never told her it was in exchange for her help speeding up the processing of permanent resident applications and other immigration files.
Prosecutors allege Dakik teamed up with Serre — a family friend who also babysat and tutored his children — in a scheme that saw Serre use her influence as an immigration manager to fast track the application process.
Serre, 41, has pleaded not guilty to 28 charges, including fraud upon the government, breach of trust by a public official and bribery.
Dakik said someone would have to be “the most stupid person on the earth” to risk a good job with Citizenship and Immigration Canada over $200 gifts.
Serre was steadfast that she wouldn’t accept money for helping with the immigration files because it would be wrong, Dakik said, even when he suggested they could make a lot of cash together.
Serre insisted on following the rules, Dakik said.
“Any clients I have, did the RCMP strip them of their status? No, because it fit the rules,” said Dakik.
Dakik agreed with Serre’s lawyer, Natasha Calvinho, that he didn’t want Serre to know he was collecting money because there was a “real risk” she wouldn’t continue to help him.
However, Serre did tell him she and other immigration officers could accept the $200 gifts, Dakik said. The code of conduct for Citizenship and Immigration Canada says it may be all right to accept token gifts, but says nothing about a $200 limit.
Dakik, who was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison for the fraud, testified he didn’t even read the facts he admitted to when he pleaded guilty. Those facts implicated Serre in the scheme.
Dakik said Thursday that he took the plea because the Crown agreed to drop charges against his wife.
Dakik’s testimony Thursday followed six days of cross-examination by the Crown after a judge declared Dakik an adverse witness as a result of his evasive answers that were full of discrepancies.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


A stiff sentence was imposed on a foreign national after she was found guilty of trying to import  cocaine through Pearson International Airport in Toronto.

R. v. Robinson

Between Her Majesty the Queen, and
Angela Robinson

[2012] O.J. No. 1138

2012 ONSC 1613

Court File No. 1246/11

 Ontario Superior Court of Justice

A.J. Goodman J.

March 13, 2012.

(47 paras.)


1     A.J. GOODMAN J.:-- On October 19, 2011, the defendant Angela Robinson was found guilty by a jury and a conviction was registered for the offence of importing into Canada an amount of cocaine, contrary to section 6(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

2     The Crown seeks a penitentiary sentence of 8 years. Defence counsel agrees that a term of imprisonment in the penitentiary is called for but urges the court to find that the appropriate range ought to be 4 to 5 years after deducting the appropriate credit for pre-trial custody.

Circumstances of the offense

3     On April 19, 2011, Ms. Robinson arrived at Toronto International Airport from Jamaica. Specifically, on April 19, 2011, Ms. Robinson carried a total of 3.532 kilograms of cocaine when she entered into Canada from Jamaica at the Pearson International Airport in Mississauga.

4     At the time of her arrest Ms. Robinson's luggage had been searched and officials detected cocaine contained in cake mix boxes located in her checked luggage. Ms. Robinson had denied any knowledge of the cocaine in the cake mix boxes at all relevant times and testified that she was given those boxes by her boyfriend's mother to take to him.

5     The central issue on the trial before the jury was whether or not Ms. Robinson knew about the presence of cocaine in the cake mix boxes. She testified that she had packed all of the food items into her luggage, including those particular cake mix boxes among other food items she received from her boyfriend's mother prior to leaving Jamaica. Her intent was to deliver various Jamaican food items to her boyfriend during her short visit to Toronto. She claimed that she had no knowledge of any drugs and no reason to suspect that anything improper or illicit was placed in the cake mix boxes prior to her packing them.

6     It was evident from the jury's verdict that they did not accept her evidence and her story that she did not know there was cocaine in the cake mix boxes. Moreover, the jury did not accept her version of events giving rise to her visit to Jamaica, her activities leading to her departure from Jamaica, her conduct at the Toronto International Airport and her actions and stated intention with respect to her journey to Canada.

Circumstances of the offender

7     A pre-sentence report was prepared which provides Ms. Robinson's background and life challenges. Ms. Robinson is a citizen and a resident of the United Kingdom, born in Birmingham, England. She resides in England and has neither status nor family connections in Canada. She has children in England and a son in Jamaica. She was employed as a nursing assistant.

8     Ms. Robinson left the family home at 18 years of age after she gave birth to her first son. She admits that she was unable to care for her son and her mother assumed the role of primary caregiver. At the age of 21 Ms. Robinson gave birth to her second son. She advises that his biological father is in and out of the picture and offers intermittent financial assistance for him. She also advises that the relationship was abusive. At the age of 27 (2002), Ms. Robinson gave birth to her third son, and the biological father's whereabouts are unknown to her. Ms. Robinson advises that her two middle sons currently reside with her mother in Birmingham. Her mother (Ms. Margaret Henry) confirmed that she is caring for her daughter's children and claims that it has been a financial strain on her. Ms. Robinson's eldest son resides on his own.

9     Ms. Robinson married for the first time in 2002, and gave birth to her fourth son in 2005. This marriage dissolved shortly after the birth of their son. Both her son and her former spouse returned to his native homeland of Jamaica. The defendant's husband has custody of their son in Jamaica, which was a stated reason for Ms. Robinson's visit to Jamaica.

10     Ms. Robinson did not complete high school. At the age of 25, Ms. Robinson enrolled in the Access to Nursing Studies Program through the city college in Birmingham. She reported that she obtained her high school diploma and graduated from the Registered Nursing Assistant Program in 2000 with "distinction". After graduating she commenced full-time employment as an auxiliary nurse. In contrast to her testimony at trial, it is reported that Ms. Robinson had been out of work for approximately one to one and a half years prior to the offense date.

11     Ms. Robinson advised that she is not planning to return to her position as an auxiliary nurse. Eventually, she hopes to obtain full-time employment as a caretaker at a drug rehabilitation centre located in Birmingham.

12     Ms. Robinson admitted to the probation officer that she was first introduced to crack cocaine around the age of 14 and used the drug off and on for approximately 5 years. From the ages of 19 to 24 she recalled her drug use steadily increasing to daily use. To her credit, she reported that at the age of 24, she decided to quit all drug use and denied any form of drugs being used since that age. Ms. Robinson advised that she never attended any form of treatment program to address her addiction issues. However she reiterated that illicit drug use is no longer an issue for her and she does not believe professional intervention is warranted.

13     Ms. Robinson admitted that alcohol abuse has been an issue for her since she was about 13 or 14 years of age. She admitted that she never previously acknowledged she had an alcohol problem until she became incarcerated with respect to this charge. She admitted drinking alcoholic beverages on a daily basis prior to her arrest and her consumption of alcohol was apparently used as a coping mechanism.

14     Ms. Robinson described her formative years as horrific and stated that her family was dysfunctional. She described her father as an alcoholic with a gambling addiction. She claimed that her mother was physically and emotionally abusive towards her. Ms. Robinson recalled the lack of food in her home as her father's pay cheque was spent on alcohol or gambling. Ms. Robinson's early difficulties at home and throughout her formative years were confirmed for the most part by her half sister when she was contacted by the probation officer. Her mother was also contacted and described her daughter as a very wise and intelligent girl. The defendant's mother was surprised to learn of the offense before the court.

15     Sources contacted by the probation officer indicated that Ms. Robinson could benefit from ongoing intensive counselling to deal with the emotional issues stemming from her childhood anger issues, her coping techniques and the addiction issues. According to the probation officer, Ms. Robinson now appears to have some insight to her need for professional intervention. However the probation officer opines that Ms. Robinson lacks the knowledge or ability to address those issues once she is to be released from custody.

16     Ms. Robinson continues to maintain her innocence in the matter before the court but stated that she does feel guilty about being very stupid and not investigating the food items that she was given to take to Canada. According to the probation officer, Ms. Robinson appeared to appreciate the negative impact this offense has created on both herself and her family.

17     Ms. Robinson is described as a very clever and loving person. Various individuals contacted for the pre-sentence report confirmed that Ms. Robinson had made some poor decisions in the past and they believe that she acted out of frustration due to her personal situation and substance abuse issues. It was confirmed by sources contacted by the probation officer that Ms. Robinson is a person whose coping techniques are poor and who has anger issues.

18     Ms. Robinson believes that she was cooperative with the police when she was arrested for this offense.

19     The Probation officer noted that while incarcerated Ms. Robinson has failed to utilize the few professional resources available to her at the institution. Nonetheless, Ms. Robinson confirmed that she has been engaged in various life skills training offered by the Vanier Correctional Institution and she presented the court with various certificates outlining her accomplishments.

20     Ms. Robinson does not have any prior criminal record in Canada. In the pre-sentence report Ms. Robinson admitted that she was found guilty of assault in England around 2008 and was required to complete community service work and pay a fine. She stated that she complied with the probation order and denies any outstanding matters before the courts in England. However, Ms. Robinson did not disclose her recent involvement with the criminal justice system in Jamaica.

21     As it is extremely likely that Ms. Robinsons will be subject to a deportation order at the conclusion of her sentence, the probation officer did not offer a conclusion. The Court acknowledges that the defendant seeks the earliest possible date for a removal or deportation order following the completion of her sentence.

22     Ms. Robinson advises the court that she is sorry for all of the trouble and the burden on the court and the taxpayers of Canada. She expressed that she is glad that the drugs did not make their way onto the streets of Canada.

Positions of the parties

23     The Crown takes the position that the appropriate range of sentence is between 6 to 8 years and seeks the high end of the range of 8 years in this case. She relies principally on R. v. Cunningham ([1996] O.J. No. 448 (C.A.)) where the accused pled guilty to importing 5.231 kilograms of cocaine with a value of over a half a million dollars at street level. Ms. Cunningham was 21 years old, single with no children and had no record. She was to be paid $4,000 and she had cooperated with authorities. Ms. Cunningham stated that she was unaware of the quantity of drugs; she admitted that she knew that hard drugs were involved. The trial judge held that the range of sentence was three to five years and he imposed a sentence of three years. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and held that as a general rule, absent exceptional or extenuating circumstances, the range of sentence for first offender couriers who smuggle large amounts of cocaine into Canada for personal gain should be six to eight years in the penitentiary. The Court of Appeal adopted the reasons for decision by Lamer J. in R. v. Smith, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 1045, where he held that:

·       Those who import and market hard drugs for lucre are responsible for the gradual but inexorable degeneration of many of their fellow human beings as a result of their becoming drug addicts. The direct cause of the hardship cast upon their victims and their families, these importers must also be made to bear their fair share of the guilt for the innumerable serious crimes of all sorts committed by addicts in order to feed their demand for drugs. Such persons, with few exceptions (as an example, the guilt of addicts who import not only to meet but also to finance their needs is not necessarily the same in degree as that of cold-blooded non-users), should, upon conviction, in my respectful view, be sentenced to and actually serve long periods of penal servitude. 

24     The defendant's counsel argues that the court ought to grant Ms. Robinson enhanced pre-trial credit. Counsel advises that Ms. Robinson has served a few days shy of 11 months in pre-trial custody. As mentioned, the defence seeks a range of between 4 to 5 years. There is no issue with respect to any of the ancillary orders sought by the Crown.


25     The defendant provided several authorities to the court in support of her position. I have reviewed those authorities which include R. v. Chukwu, [2011] O.J. No. 3356, a case involving 1.4 kilograms of cocaine. Justice Kiteley held that the appropriate sentence ought to be four years jail for the importing of cocaine, two years concurrent for possession of cocaine and six months consecutive for two Criminal Code offences.

26     In R. v. White, [2010] O.J. No. 3618, the trial judge imposed a sentence of 14.25 months for the importation of 397 to 419 grams of cocaine. In that case, the accused pled guilty and was a first offender. The court specifically acknowledged her post-offence conduct in assisting the authorities and she was clearly remorseful.

27     In R v. C.N.H., [2002] O.J. No. 4918, the Court of Appeal acknowledged that a plea of guilty to the offence of importing multi-kilograms of cocaine would ordinarily attract a lengthy penitentiary sentence. In the case the accused did not have a prior criminal record. The court considered the impact or discount of the accused's cooperation with the police as well as other legal issues raised by the parties. The court reaffirmed the range of sentence for this type of offence. I find that the authorities provided by the defendant are distinguishable on their facts and are of limited assistance.

28     Over and above the aforementioned authorities, both parties provided numerous cases for the attention of the court as being relevant to the appropriate sentence that is called for in this type of offense and in these particular circumstances. As an offender who has been found guilty of importing more than one kilogram of cocaine into Canada, two leading decisions of the Ontario Court of Appeal are authoritative and instructive.

29     As mentioned, one of these cases is R v. Cunningham. The other leading case heard predating Cunningham is that of R. v. Madden, [1996] O.J. No. 376. In Madden, the accused, a 23 year old woman with no prior record was arrested for importing 770 grams of cocaine. Ms. Madden believed that she was importing marijuana and not cocaine. She cooperated with the authorities in an attempted controlled delivery. She pled guilty. In the circumstances of that case, the Court of Appeal held that the trial judge erred in "accepting as a starting range a sentence of six to seven years for the importation of this quantity of cocaine". The Court held that the appropriate range would be three to five years, with the eventual sentence set at three years.

30     Some of the plethora of cases that have considered the principles flowing from these leading authorities include R. v. Alleyne, [1998] O.J. No. 1852; wherein the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from a sentence of seven years in addition to the four months of incarceration prior to conviction for importing a "very substantial amount of cocaine".

31     In R. v. Hamilton, [2004] O.J. No. 3252, both Ms. Hamilton and co-accused Ms. Mason had pled guilty to importing cocaine. Ms. Hamilton was a 26 year old black single mother with no criminal record who had agreed to act as a courier for compensation. Before her return from Jamaica, she swallowed pellets containing 349 grams of cocaine with a street value of about $70,000. Ms. Mason was a 31 year old single black mother with no criminal record. She swallowed pellets containing 489 grams of cocaine. There was no evidence of the street value. In a lengthy and detailed decision describing the general nature of drug importation with its correlative systemic racial and gender bias and the specific circumstances of these accused, the trial judge imposed a sentence of 20 months on Ms. Hamilton and a sentence of 2 years less a day on Ms. Mason, both sentences to be served in the community. The Ontario Court of Appeal held that the trial judge erred in principle by imposing conditional sentences. However, the Court of Appeal agreed that imprisonment for 20 months and 2 years less a day would have been appropriate. In that decision the Court did not make reference to the Madden decision.

32     I agree with the Crown that the case of R. v. Syblis, [2001] O.J. No. 115, (C.A.) is similar to the fact situation before me. In that case, the court imposed a sentence of seven years for importing 2.13 kilograms of cocaine and four years concurrent for importing one kilogram of hashish. The Court of Appeal confirmed the range set out in Cunningham and dismissed the appeal pointing out that while the amount was substantially less than in Cunningham, the appellant was not entitled to consideration of the mitigating factor of a plea of guilty. It should be noted that the accused in Syblis was a first-time offender.


33     The court is guided by the principles of sentencing as set out in sections 718 and 718.2 of the Criminal Code and specifically the provisions as found in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

34     Some of the objectives listed in section 718 of the Code include the denunciation of unlawful conduct, to deter the offender and others from committing offenses and to separate offender from society where and when necessary. I find that in a case such as this, namely the importation of drugs into Canada, the principles of general deterrence must be emphasized. However, while I have placed the consideration of general deterrence as paramount, I have not neglected to consider the other principles listed in section 718 of the Code including specific deterrence and other relevant factors in deciding what sentence to impose.

35     Based on the foregoing, it appears that the range of sentence is highly dependent on the quantity of the cocaine that was imported. The informal delineation appears to rest on the threshold of one kilogram. A kilogram or multi-kilogram amounts attract a range of six to eight years. Quantities below a kilogram attract a range of incarceration in the upper reformatory sphere. In the case at bar, the quantity being over 3.5 kilograms, the range appears to be between six to eight years, absent exceptional or extenuating circumstances. However, the bulk of these cases speak to a scenario wherein the accused was a first time offender and did not have the burden of a prior criminal record.

36     As directed by section 718 of the Criminal Code, the fundamental purpose of sentencing is to contribute to respect for the law and the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society by imposing just sanctions that reflect enumerated objectives. Those objectives relevant to this case are denunciation of the unlawful conduct, deterrence of other potential offenders, and rehabilitation of Ms. Robinson. It is also important to impose a sentence that promotes a sense of responsibility in offenders and an acknowledgement of the harm done to victims and to the community. The sentence must be proportionate to the gravity of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the offender. The circumstances of the offence and of the offender must be analyzed to identify the aggravating and the mitigating factors.

37     Section 718.1 of the Criminal Code requires that the sentence be proportionate to the offense and the degree of the accused's involvement or responsibility. This is not a case where there is a statutorily imposed minimum sentence. As mentioned, the jurisprudence provides that the quantity of illegal drugs imported into Canada if not determinative of the appropriate sentence, has been held to be one of the most significant factors in determining the sentence, along with the court's consideration of extenuating circumstances, as well as mitigating or aggravating factors. In this case, the principles as set out in s. 10(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act are of limited application.

38     Both parties have suggested a range of incarceration in a penitentiary.

39     The aggravating factors include: The quantity of cocaine imported in the circumstances, being 3.5 kilograms in and of itself constitutes an aggravating factor to be considered. The drug involved was cocaine which has been described as a scourge on society because of the physical, emotional, psychological and social damage caused to those who are addicted. Ms. Robinson was a courier and it was the Crown's theory that Ms. Robinson was motivated strictly by financial gain. I accept that proposition.

40     In the pre-sentence report Ms. Robinson did not appear to fully recognize or see the seriousness of the consequences of her behaviour. It is also clear that Ms. Robinson exhibited minimal remorse for her conduct, although I fully accept her apology offered to the court.

41     Ms. Robinson's prior criminal record is another aggravating factor. She was convicted on June 25, 2009 in Jamaica of possession of ganga, dealing in ganga and taking steps preparatory to export ganga.1 Ms. Robinson received a term of incarceration at hard labour in the 6 to 9 month range coupled with a significant fine. Her conviction and subsequent jail term ensued not long before her involvement with the offence before this court.

42     There are a few mitigating factors. There is no evidence that Ms. Robinson was going to be involved in trafficking of the cocaine once it made its way into Canada. Her role in this scheme was crucial but limited to the importation of the drugs. Ms. Robinson's difficult and dysfunctional upbringing and related challenges leading to her emotional and psychological issues have also been recognized.

43     The nature of the offence and the maximum sentence demand that denunciation and deterrence are the priorities. It is not surprising that many of these offenders who are caught importing significant drugs into Canada are first time offenders. It may be that the principals of these illicit transactions seek out vulnerable or greedy couriers who are willing to take a risk for a potential reward. But such is not the case here. Ms. Robinson, having been convicted for a similar export/import activity with illicit drugs, albeit of a different nature, ought to have appreciated the significance of her actions. I find that this is not a case where the defendant might receive some benefit based on a potential for her lack of awareness of the seriousness of the situation or not appreciating the gravity of the calculated risk. It seems that Ms. Robinson has not learned from her prior and related criminal behaviour. In my opinion, specific deterrence is required.

44     I have considered the relevant authorities including the guidance provided by cases such as Cunningham, Madden and Hamilton. I take into account the circumstances of the offence and of the defendant, while recognizing and applying the applicable sentencing principles.

45     In conclusion, this is a serious offence involving a substantial amount of cocaine. The impact of cocaine upon the citizens of Canada cannot be under estimated. The directions from most appellate courts paint the picture of cocaine as a destructive plague on the community. A penalty reflecting all of the principles of sentencing with emphasis on deterrence is warranted. There are no exceptional or extenuating circumstances in this case and but for the range proposed by the Crown, this court would have sentenced the defendant to a longer term of imprisonment. I am persuaded that the range of 6 to 8 years reflects the appellate courts direction to trial judges in cases involving multi kilograms of drugs being imported into Canada in conjunction with individuals who are first-time offenders with no prior criminal antecedents. In this case, the serious aggravating factors dictate consideration of a sentence at the very high-end of the range as submitted by the Crown.


46     I impose a section 109 weapons prohibition order. You are to provide a sample of your DNA pursuant to section 487.051 of the Criminal Code.

47     I conclude that a fit and appropriate sentence in this case is a custodial term of 8 years. Due to the unexpected delay in completing the sentencing hearing, I will grant you some enhanced credit for your pre-trial custody, which I have determined to be the equivalent of 14 months. Therefore, on the one count before me, the sentence imposed shall be a term of imprisonment of 6 years and 10 months in a federal penitentiary.