Immigration program for parents ‘discriminatory,’ Federal Court of Appeal rules

42 days vs 37 months:

In 2010, Attaran complained to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, claiming that the program discriminated against parents and grandparents by delaying the processing of their applications.

At the time of his complaint, it took immigration 42 days to screen the sponsors of spouses and children but the same screening took 37 months for those who wanted to bring their parents and grandparents to Canada.

The commission, however, dismissed his complaint, a decision later upheld by a federal judge.

In a ruling released Wednesday, the Federal Court of Appeal said the decision by the human rights commission to dismiss the complaint was unreasonable.

It overturned the lower court decision that there was a “bona fide” justification for the differential treatment. The court referred Attaran’s case back to human rights commission for reconsideration.

“The explanations provided by CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) confirm that it was differentiating adversely based on family status by treating sponsorship applications for parents more slowly than sponsorship applications for spouses and children,” wrote Justice Wyman W. Webb on behalf of the three-member panel. “As a result, CIC was carrying on a discriminatory practice.”

In dismissing Attaran’s complaint, the human rights watchdog had said it did not appear immigration officials treated the complainant in an “adverse differential manner based on age.” It also concluded that the delays do not deprive parents and grandparents the access to permanent residency.

“There is no reference to undue hardship . . . in the decision of the (human rights commission). There is a reference, though, to the justification being ministerial discretion and a general reference to challenges being imposed on ‘the resource allocation for’ CIC,” said the appeal court decision.

Immigration program for parents ‘discriminatory,’ Federal Court of Appeal rules | Toronto Star.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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