Loading articles...

Lawyers take Quebec to court over abrupt closure of 18,000 immigration files

MONTREAL — Lawyers argued today in favour of an injunction reversing the Quebec government’s decision to cancel more than 18,000 immigration applications waiting to be processed.

Representatives of an association of Quebec immigration lawyers say the province is ignoring laws currently in place in anticipation of a new law, Bill 9, that would overhaul the system for selecting newcomers to the province.

The 18,139 outstanding applications involve skilled workers’ cases, which are managed by the province.

Doug Mitchell, a lawyer representing those affected, told the court the province’s move essentially amounts to ignoring the law of the land, causing great prejudice to those affected.

Quebec Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette tabled Bill 9 on Feb. 7, setting out a framework that would permit the province to be more selective with immigrants, ensuring they speak French, respect Quebec values and meet labour market needs.

People whose applications were already being processed were informed they would have to start afresh under the new system. They are seeking a certificate from the Quebec government that would allow them to obtain permanent residency in Canada.

The request being heard today in Quebec Superior Court involves Seeun Park, a Korean woman in Montreal, but it is being argued on behalf of all of those who have seen their applications set aside. They want the Quebec Immigration Department to be ordered to resume processing their applications.

The Canadian Press