Trump’s Travel Ban: America’s Loss, Canada’s Enduring Opportunity

Last Updated: 9 April 2020.

Access the PDF version of this article here.

Canada and the United States are friends, partners and allies; in trade, in security, and in international affairs. What happens south of the border impacts Canada (and Canadians) heavily, for better or for worse. It is no wonder, then, that when Canadians woke up on January 27, 2017 to news of Trump’s Executive Order restricting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, they wondered “what does this mean for Canada?”

In the immediate term, our concerns as immigration lawyers were for our clients holding passports from these nations. Does the ban affect dual citizens? Green card holders? Should we advise recent arrivals to Canada not to travel to the United States? These questions continue to occupy many of us, especially as chaos still reigns in airports across the world, Canada included.

Today, the question remains: how are the policies of the U.S. administration affecting Canada? America’s loss continues to be Canada’s gain. Equally, many of those who initially intended to move to the U.S. have looked forward to a bright and more welcoming future in Canada.

Over 130 million people from some of the world’s most vulnerable countries fell under the initial travel ban of the U.S. administration. Until 27 January 2017, the United States was the next frontier for many doctors, scientists, tech workers, engineers, and entrepreneurs who saw their futures not in the failing states and war-torn countries affected by the ban, but rather in North America. Like many before them, they were inspired by the symbol of Lady Liberty in the New York City Harbor and the poem etched at her base: “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!? While America’s lamp now burns dimmer, Canada’s still burns bright. On 31 January 2020, the U.S. administration added six predominantly African countries to their list of nations facing travel and visa restrictions, bringing the total number of countries to 13, affecting over 350 million people.

Diversity will be even more important to Canada in the future. Canada’s demographics like those of most Western countries, are shifting. As Canadians get older, a heavier and heavier burden is being placed on a gradually shrinking population of working-aged people who will fund the health care and other needs of our aging parents and grandparents. As the population pyramid swells at the top, Canada must supplement the younger segment of the population in order to prevent that pyramid, and by extension, our economy, from toppling over. A robust and positive immigration program is part of the solution.

While we have proceeded carefully, Canada should continue to take these restrictive U.S. Executive Orders as the spark of an enduring opportunity to attract the best and brightest to our country, to help Canada build a dynamic and sustainable 21st century economy. Our local experience in Ottawa is that business leaders, large and small, identify finding talent to fill jobs as their greatest challenge. There are many ways to bridge this talent gap. One of the best is to attract skilled workers from abroad. Canada’s economy is driven by those from abroad who work tirelessly to power the engines that propel our country forward. Among these are immigrants and refugees from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Individuals from these countries have contributed to every sector of our economy. Those who come to Canada seeking to build new lives devote themselves, in return, to making our country stronger.

Canada should look favourably upon those currently in other countries who have already been vetted and approved by U.S. authorities and consider welcoming them as foreign workers and ultimately permanent residents. This chance to add to our human capital with skilled individuals seeking a new home should not be squandered.

Apart from the economic opportunity that a new wave of talented immigrants could mean for Canada, we cannot forget our obligation, grounded in international law, to accept refugees and provide safe haven for those fleeing war, terror and persecution. The Canadian Bar AssociationAmnesty International, the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers and law professors from across the country, among others, have all called on the Government of Canada to reassess its Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States. As long as many refugees are barred from the United States, Canada should be considering whether we can do more to alleviate the suffering of refugees the world over. This should start with considering the claims of asylum-seekers who have already been approved to be re-settled in the United States but who are now barred from entry due to the Executive Orders.

Canada has an opportunity to become the global leader in immigrant attraction and refugee resettlement. We can use this opportunity to attract the skills we need to power our economy and support our population growth into the future. While the U.S. President continues to ban millions through the politics of fear, Canada must show those potential immigrants and refugees that our best days, as well as theirs, are still ahead of us. We can get there together.

Warren Creates is Head of Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall’s Immigration Law Group. He is a Certified Specialist in the fields of Immigration Law, Citizenship Law, and Refugee Law. He can be reached at or 613.566.2839.

Know Your Obligations When Employing a Foreign Worker

Foreign workers are valuable additions to a workplace, but failure to comply with the Regulations can lead to heavy consequences. In this article, we will provide you with tips on how best to comply with the requirements, and also alert you to the potential consequences of failure to do so.

Attaining a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is not an easy task these days.  And the work does not end when that LMIA is issued. In fact, complying with requirements imposed by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations is an ongoing obligation for employers which must be followed vigilantly.

A Canadian employer who employs foreign workers through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program must comply with four (4) requirements according to the Regulations:

  1. The employer must be actively engaged in the business in respect of which the offer of employment was made (unless the offer was made for employment as a live-in caregiver);
  2. The employer must comply with the federal and provincial laws that regulate employment, and the recruiting of employees, in the province in which the foreign national works;
  3. The employer must provide the foreign national with employment in the same occupation as that set out in the foreign national’s offer of employment and with wages and working conditions that are substantially the same as—but not less favourable than—those set out in that offer; and
  4. The employer must make reasonable efforts to provide a workplace that is free of abuse.

The requirements are fairly simply, albeit vague. It boils down to providing foreign workers with good working conditions and making sure that the job they are actually doing is “substantially the same as” the one they were offered. The government has not provided much guidance as to the meaning of “substantially the same as”.

There are three potential ways that Employment and Skills Development Canada (ESDC) can review your compliance:

  1. Random inspections;
  2. Employer Compliance Reviews, which occur as part of the LMIA application assessment process to verify past compliance; and
  3. Reviews under Ministerial Instruction, in which public policy considerations may justify the revocation of an active LMIA or a refusal to process an application.

It should be noted that LMIAs may be suspended during any of the three types of reviews.

Employers may be selected for inspection if:  there is reason for an ESDC officer or the Minister to suspect that the employer is not complying or has not complied with these conditions; the employer has, in fact, not complied; or even simply as part of a random verification of compliance.  Now a past compliance review means  reviewing only the past two years.  In 2020, this will change to six years, i.e. in year 2020 compliance review dating back to 2014 can be assessed.

If the review finds that an employer has not complied with the requirements, there are a number of potential penalties that can be applied. The following consequences are applied to employers found to be non-compliant prior to December 2015:

  1. A two-year ban from using the TFWP;
  2. Publication of their name, address and period of ineligibility on a public website;
  3. Issuance of a negative LMIA for any pending applications; and/or
  4. Revocation of previously issued LMIAs.

Since 2015, the consequences for non-compliance with employer requirements have become more significant. Non-compliance after December 1, 2015 carries the following possible consequences:

  1. Warnings;
  2. Administrative Monetary Penalties ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 per violation, up to a maximum of $1 million per year, per employer.
  3. A ban of one, two, five or ten years, or permanent bans for the most serious violations;
  4. Publication of the employer’s name, address and details of the violation(s) and/or consequence(s) on a public website; and/or
  5. Revocation of previously-issued LMIAs.

All of these consequences are based on a demerit point system, which takes the following factors into account:

  1. Type of violation;
  2. Size of the employer’s business;
  3. Employer’s history of non-compliance;
  4. Severity of non-compliance; and
  5. Whether the employer voluntarily disclosed information about potential non-compliance before an inspection was initiated.

The last point is significant as non-compliant employers are given the option to voluntarily disclose non-compliance so long as the disclosure is made prior to any compliance or enforcement action being taken. While it may be tempting to hope that the Departments of ESDC and Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will not notice non-compliance, voluntary disclosure could be the difference between a temporary and a permanent ban or tens of thousands of dollars.

Foreign workers can add a lot of value to a workplace but the privilege of employing them comes with obligations. While the consequences of failing to comply with LMIA requirements are serious, the requirements are relatively easy to follow. As long as employers are careful to ensure that they are compliant, and honest and open once they realize they may have fallen below that standard, the most significant penalties can be avoided and the employer will receive the full benefit of employing a foreign worker.

Warren Creates is Head of our Immigration Law Group. He can be reached at or 613.566.2839. To view his bio, please click here.

Jacqueline Bonisteel is a lawyer in our Immigration Law Group. She can be reached at or 613.566.2845. To view her bio, please click here.


U.S. Immigration to Canada: Strength and Opportunity through Diversity

Last Updated: 9 April 2020.

Access the PDF version of this article here.

“Deep in our history of struggle for freedom, Canada was the north star. The freedom road links us together.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

When U.S. President Barack Obama invoked the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when addressing the Canadian House of Commons in June 2016, few could have imagined that the election of Donald Trump would once again turn American eyes to the North. On election night in 2017, as state after state turned Republican red, the website of the Canadian Department of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship crashed. Moving to Canada could be an option for many Americans (and others) who no longer see their own values reflected in their country’s leadership and growing divisiveness.

Over the past several years under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada has been a leader in welcoming Syrian refugees, the latest in a long line of communities who have sought new and better lives on our shores. Canadians are proud of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which emphasizes equality for all and also has led Canada to be a leader in legalizing same-sex marriage. Reiterated in his 2019 victory speech, Prime Minister Trudeau stated “From coast to coast, tonight, Canadians rejected division and negativity… We will champion Canada in all its diversity. We will give voice to the voiceless”. To those Americans (and of course others) who want to live in a country that values diversity and progress, we welcome you.

As President Trump closes America’s doors (and builds walls), Canada is working hard to implement the 2019 Immigration Mandate – a robust plan to increase our population and to build a stronger country by actively recruiting the skill and experience of those from abroad. We value not just demographic diversity but also diversity of values and beliefs. Canada’s future depends on the contributions of newcomers.

New data shows the number of people immigrating to Canada increased by 26% between 2015 and 2019. In 2019, the United States was Canada’s fifth largest source of immigrants. As a percentage of each country’s population, Canada currently admits approximately three times as many immigrants as the U.S.

Throughout our history, many have moved north to do business, reunite with family, and to find love. The North American Free Trade Agreement, which united the diverse populations and economies of the United States, Canada and Mexico, has led not only to the free flow of goods between our countries but also of people. Thanks to NAFTA, now called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and our bilateral relationship, American citizens do not need visas to visit Canada and can more easily apply for work permits. While Canada cannot accommodate every potential immigrant, American applicants for permanent resident status will find themselves nearer to the front of the line and with shorter wait times than those from elsewhere.

For 45 years our team at Perley-Robertson Hill & McDougall have represented American professionals, families, small business owners and entrepreneurs to navigate the process of becoming Canadian. Warren Creates is a certified specialist in Citizenship and Immigration Law (Immigration and Refugee Protection) and has successfully helped thousands of businesses and individuals create new beginnings in Canada.

Our country is stronger because of the diversity of skills and experience of those who came here to build better lives and a better country. Give us a call or write us so we can help you navigate the path of coming to Canada.

Warren Creates is Head of Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall’s Immigration Law Group. He is a Certified Specialist in the fields of Immigration Law, Citizenship Law, and Refugee Law. He can be reached at or 613.566.2839.

Canada’s Current Express Entry System

Last Updated: 16 April 2020.

Access the PDF version of this article here.

This article outlines the current Express Entry system, and explores what it means for Canada’s evolving immigration landscape.

The Canadian Government utilizes the Express Entry system to select permanent immigration candidates from a pool of potential candidates who are eligible under one of the three Federal High Skilled Immigration Programs: the Federal Skilled Work Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class.

The current Express Entry process is more akin to an online dating site: each prospective economic immigrant fills out an online profile. These profiles are assessed on ‘core human capital’, skill-transferability and additional factors relating to a provincial nomination, a qualifying offer of arranged employment, and Canadian study experience. Upon completing the profile, the electronic database assigns a points total based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, out of a maximum total of 1,200 points. This CRS score determines a candidate’s rank in the Express Entry pool. Points are awarded for factors such as Canadian work experience, education, and language skills (amongst other criteria). A profile will remain in the system for up to 12 months.

The Canadian government then periodically picks out the top-ranked profiles from the system and invites them to pay the processing fee and submit a formal application for permanent residence. Eventually, Canadian employers will also be able to access the Express Entry database in search of foreign talent.

An applicant can now also obtain additional points for good French skills. An additional 15 points can also now be earned if an applicant (or their spouse or common-law partner who will also come to Canada) has a brother or sister living in Canada who is a citizen or permanent resident of Canada. These changes allow the system to break ties between candidates with the same rank in the pool, based on the date and time candidates submitted their profile.

To be sure, the current Express Entry system has positive aspects. Once a potential immigrant with a current online profile receives the invitation to apply, the Canadian government has undertaken to process the application within six months—a significant improvement from processing times under the old system. As well, all former occupation-specific quota caps and moratoriums have been eliminated. One of the key intentions of the Express Entry system is to make the Canadian immigration system more responsive to up-to-the-minute labour market needs, which is a worthy goal.

However, the downsides are numerous. An applicant who uploads a profile will never be completely certain of the outcome. A worker or student’s temporary status in Canada may expire before they are ever selected. Some applicants will never be selected. The transparency concerns are numerous for a system that can change without notice at any time. Many computer system glitches also remain unresolved.

An ‘Invitation to Apply’ is not enough

In our practice, we have seen applications rejected based on the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) errors, oversights and misinterpretations. Unfortunately, once the decision to refuse is made, it can be very difficult to reverse—even in cases where the applicant has done everything right.  IRCC has unfortunately not developed a standardized review process that a candidate can utilize when a mistaken rejection is suspected.

However, the year 2018 set an all-time record with nearly 280,000 Express Entry profiles submitted through the system, which represents an increase of more than 10% from 2017. This is the highest number of invitations issued for any one year since the Express Entry program was introduced. Ultimately, IRCC issued 89,800 invitations to apply in 2018. The first quarter of 2019 alone saw over 21,000 invitations to apply for permanent residence issued to candidates in Canada’s Express Entry System.

The Bottom Line Today

Express Entry is now Canada’s flagship immigrant management system, designed in part to address Canada’s technical skills gap while assertively embracing the challenges of a labour market in need of highly skilled professionals. Besides filling labour needs, Canada must increase the number of immigrants to prevent a fiscal and economic collapse posed by a combination of its ageing population and low birth rate. Based on extensive consultations and the evidence that shows the economic and social benefits of immigration in Canada, the government has put forward a multi-year immigration levels plan to gradually and responsibly increase permanent resident admissions to 350,000 by 2021.Therefore, Canada wants to and should invest more in the Express Entry system since it is designed to bring skilled workers that boost the economy.

We would be happy to speak to you about Express Entry and about immigration to Canada more generally. Please contact us to set up a consultation appointment.

Warren Creates is Head of Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall’s Immigration Law Group. He is a Certified Specialist in the fields of Immigration Law, Citizenship Law, and Refugee Law. He can be reached at or 613.566.2839.

Working in Canada: What is Work, and when is a Work Permit needed?

Last updated: 9 April 2020.

Access the PDF version of this article here.

In the Canadian immigration context, ‘work’ is broadly defined. Even volunteers, those providing services in a private residence, and student interns may require a work permit, and may run into trouble if they do not have one. This article helps to explain when a work permit is needed and why.

Beware the dreaded report from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA): working without a work permit! It is often a fatal allegation, and hard to disprove. Deportation can often result.

The test is balance of probabilities, and grounds to believe. The threshold is rather low. All the Canadian government needs is “reasonable grounds to believe” that a foreign national has done any work at all, even in the form of help, without having a valid work permit.

The Regulations to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) contain the general definition of “work” requiring a work permit:  any “activity for which wages are paid or commission is earned, or that is in direct competition with the activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labour market”. There are currently 2 types of Canadian work permits: the open and the employer-specific work permit.

Like most of our Canadian laws, it is not the legal definition that tells the story, but instead the interpretation of it by government policymakers, immigration officials, and the courts.

The news here is rather unfortunate. Whereas business owners, managers, visitors to Canada and other foreign nationals in Canada hope for a permissive or relaxed interpretation, the opposite is generally true. The definition in the Regulations has been interpreted as broadly as can be imagined.

Businesses and employers often feel that they can skirt the law by treating the worker as unpaid or as a “volunteer”, and remunerate (i.e. pay) the worker “conditionally” only once they have received authorization to work, or once their Canadian permanent resident status is obtained.  But arrangements that include banked hours and retroactive pay for services previously rendered are unlawful.

The definition of “work” can also include unpaid employment undertaken for the purpose of obtaining work experience, such as an internship or practicum normally done by a student.  Compensation arrangements such as accommodation and meals instead of payment in money have also been considered and found to require a work permit.

Tasks as nominal as unpacking boxes, carrying vegetables to a kitchen in a restaurant, cooking or food preparation in the restaurant kitchen, answering the phone of the business and taking messages, taking orders from customers and childcare have all been determined to be significant enough to constitute work requiring a work permit. If the task—no matter how insignificant in the eyes of the worker or of the business—might have reasonably deprived someone else of employment, then a work permit is required.  Another way to look at it is like this:  if the employer benefitted in any way at all from the task(s) or services performed by the foreign national, then it is fair to assume that a work permit is required.

Courts have also grappled with the situation involving an individual, often a visiting relative, performing tasks in a private residence. There is some good news here:  not all tasks performed by a visitor for a relative are considered work requiring a work permit, even when the Canadian resident would normally need to hire a paid employee to have the tasks completed. Consider, for example, babysitting, cleaning, or garden work. These tasks would not normally require a work permit when done in a private residence by a visiting family member.

Courts have determined that it is the intent of the legislation to protect employment opportunities, no matter how minor, for all citizens and permanent residents of Canada. Arguably, this rationale also applies for those who have already been authorized for temporary work permits.

The Department has even tried to define what is NOT work: any activity that does not really “take away” from opportunities for Canadians or permanent residents to gain employment or experience in the workplace.

The lesson is this: it is all in the eye of the beholder. Foreign nationals and Canadian organizations do not want to be involved in any litigation where the issue is work without authorization. Such hearings are stressful, costly, and usually unsuccessful, because of the broad interpretation. If a work permit exemption is being relied upon, it is best to disclose and seek it ahead of time, to have the regulator review the circumstances and to approve it.

We would be happy to speak to you about your specific questions surrounding authorization to work in Canada. Please contact us to set up a consultation appointment.

Warren Creates is Head of Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall’s Immigration Law Group. He is a Certified Specialist in the fields of Immigration Law, Citizenship Law, and Refugee Law. He can be reached at or 613.566.2839.

Express Entry: Top 5 Tips

Last Updated: 16 April 2020.

Access the PDF version of this article here.

So what is a potential applicant to do?  Here are our Top Five Tips.

(1)  Eligible? Apply Now.

In order to submit your name into the pool, you need to meet basic qualification criteria. The first step is to determine whether your language skills, education, and work experience are sufficient to allow you to apply under one of the economic immigrant categories listed above. It is advisable to create your profile as soon as you are eligible.

(2)  ‘Job Offer’ All the Way

A job offer in Canada is a significant positive factor. Some Canadian job offers are made following a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), while others are not. If you can secure a valid job offer in Canada (offer of arranged employment), your chances of selection from the pool go up significantly. If this is a potential option in your case, it is very likely worth exploring. There are bonus points for this.

(3)  Ensure You Have the Right Documents

Anything you state on your Express Entry profile will eventually need to be backed up with documentation once you are invited to apply. It is essential to have the correct documentation in place before submitting your profile. If you state something that turns out to be false, you risk being found inadmissible for misrepresentation—an offence with very serious consequences. Exercise caution in completing the profile.

(4)  Update Your Profile

Once your profile is built, you will know your points total. Since the government publishes the lowest points scores accepted on each draw, you will have a sense of how you measure up, and your likelihood of selection. If your points total is in the low range, there may be steps you can take to increase the total, such as re-taking a language test, or obtaining a valid job offer. Your profile can always be updated, so these steps may be worth pursuing.

(5)  Work with an Experienced Immigration Lawyer

Canadian immigration law professionals have been following the Express Entry developments closely. We can help ensure that your profile is as strong as possible and can recommend ways to make it stronger. The assistance of a skilled representative can help avoid processing delays, avoid other pitfalls, and increase your prospects for successful immigration to Canada.

We would be happy to speak to you about economic immigration to Canada. Please contact us to set up a consultation appointment.

Warren Creates is Head of Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall’s Immigration Law Group. He is a Certified Specialist in the fields of Immigration Law, Citizenship Law, and Refugee Law. He can be reached at or 613.566.2839.

Spousal Sponsorships and Appeals: What You Need to Know

Last Updated: 9 April 2020.

Access the PDF version of this article here.

A Canadian citizen or permanent resident is entitled to sponsor their spouse, common-law partner, same-sex common-law partner, or conjugal partner for Canadian permanent residence. The concept may be simple, but the process can be fraught with complications and delays. This article describes some important considerations, and discusses the options if your application is refused.

 Should you submit an “Inside Canada” or “Outside Canada” Application?

For spouses or common-law couples ready to pursue Canadian spousal sponsorship, the process can be daunting. One of the first decisions to be made is whether to pursue the “inside Canada” or the “outside Canada” spousal sponsorship process. If the applicant being sponsored resides outside Canada and will continue to do so until the sponsorship is finalized, the “outside Canada” process must be chosen. Sponsored spouses who travel back and forth to Canada often will also likely select the “outside Canada” process.

Spouses who wish to stay in Canada throughout the process may benefit from filing an “inside Canada” application. A major advantage is that this process allows the sponsored person to obtain a Canadian work permit upon “first-stage approval”. In some cases, an “inside Canada” application may also serve to prevent deportation for an applicant who is in Canada without status. However, applicants who submit an “inside Canada” application do not have a right of appeal if the application is refused.

These are just some considerations. An experienced immigration lawyer can help you to determine which process is best for you.

 The Application Process

While the application process is technically divided into two stages, the sponsor and applicant will fill out all their paperwork at the same time and include it within the same application package. All documents on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s checklist must be provided from the outset, and all forms must be properly completely. If documents are missing or mistakes are made, the application will be returned without being processed.

 (1) Stage 1 Processing 

The first stage involves an evaluation of whether the Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse meets all the eligibility criteria to act as sponsor. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s Mississauga processing center conducts this first evaluation. The sponsor must:

– Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;

– Be 18 years of age or older;

– Be resident in Canada or prove intent to return to Canada upon finalization of the sponsorship process;

– Not be bankrupt or in receipt of social assistance;

– Not be ineligible for reason of previous sponsorship default or a serious criminal conviction.

Unlike other types of family sponsorship, a person sponsoring their spouse or partner does not need to meet a minimum income threshold. However, the sponsor must undertake to provide for the sponsored partner’s basic needs and ensure that they do not use social assistance for a period of three (3) years, and ten (10) years for any dependent children or until age 25, whichever comes first.

(2) Stage 2 Processing

Upon first-stage approval, the application is transferred to a different processing centre or visa office for Stage 2 processing. This second stage involves an evaluation of whether the spousal relationship is genuine, and whether there are any inadmissibility issues that would bar the applicant from becoming a Canadian permanent resident (e.g. medical or criminal inadmissibility).

The former Harper government made it a priority to combat “marriages of convenience” that were entered into primarily for immigration purposes. The officers who evaluate spousal sponsorship applications are on the lookout for signs that a relationship is fraudulent. Where the officer has concerns, the applicant will be called in for an interview. If the applicant cannot successfully address the concerns of the visa office, the spousal sponsorship application will be refused.

In the case of relationship breakdown, the sponsored person may not sponsor a new spouse or partner for a five (5) year period.

 Overcoming Refusals

What are the options when a spousal sponsorship application is refused? It is always possible to withdraw the application and re-apply. This course may be recommended where new information or new developments since the time of the initial application strengthen the application significantly.

The other option, for applications that were submitted from outside Canada, is to appeal the refusal to the Immigration Appeal Division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board. Sponsors have the right to go before an independent Immigration and Refugee Board decision-maker to argue why the refusal decision should be overturned. The sponsor may present updated evidence to show the genuineness of the relationship.

If your appeal before the Immigration and Refugee Board is unsuccessful, it may be possible to seek judicial review before Canada’s Federal Court.

The appeal process is long and arduous. It is currently taking up to two years to receive a date to appear before a decision-maker. This prolonged period of separation and uncertainty can be incredibly difficult for couples.

How an Experienced Immigration Lawyer Can Help

The spousal sponsorship process can be long, complicated and stressful. Our team of experienced immigration professionals will assist you every step of the way. We will help you to avoid the significant delays that can be caused by omitted documents or improperly filled forms. We will also help to make your application as persuasive as possible. In other words, we can help to maximize the chances of success. This has the potential to save you significant time, money, strain and separation in the long-run.

If your application is refused, our team can help you determine whether it is worthwhile to pursue an appeal. If you do choose to file a spousal sponsorship appeal, we will help you navigate the process, put together strong supporting evidence, prepare you to testify, and advocate for your rights before the Immigration and Refugee Board and/or the Federal Court.

We would be happy to speak to you about your spousal sponsorship matter. Please contact us to set up a consultation appointment.

Warren Creates is Head of Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall’s Immigration Law Group. He is a Certified Specialist in the fields of Immigration Law, Citizenship Law, and Refugee Law. He can be reached at or 613.566.2839.

Canada’s Citizenship Act: What You Need to Know Now

Last Updated: 9 April 2020.

Access the PDF version of this article here.

Bill C-6, an Act to further amend the Canadian Citizenship Act and make consequential amendments to another Act, received Royal Assent of 19 June 2017. This article outlines all relevant changes and amendments that have been made to the Citizenship Act since 2017 to the present.

Residency Requirement

The new legislation eliminates the discretionary authority to equate “residency” with “establishment in Canada”. Citizenship will now only be granted if the residency requirement is met by way of physical presence. The residency requirement is also being made much more onerous:.

The following changes took effect with Bill C-6 becoming law:

Residency Requirements

  • Citizenship applicants must be physically present in Canada for three years out of five years (1,095 days), with no specified minimum number of days per year, up to the day before signing the citizenship application;
  • Applicants must file Canadian income taxes, if required to do so under the Income Tax Act, for three out of five years, matching the new physical presence requirements; and
  • Applicants may count each day they were physically present in Canada as a lawful temporary person (ie. visitor, student or worker) or protected persons, before becoming a permanent resident, as a half-day toward meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum credit of 365 days, within five years preceding the date of application. If the residency requirement and other existing eligibility requirements (e.g. language ability) are met, potential Canadian citizenship applicants are well-advised to apply without delay.

Intent to Reside

  • Applicants are also no longer required to intend to continue to live in Canada once granted citizenship. This removes concerns from new Canadians who may need to live outside of Canada for personal or professional reasons.

Language Requirements

  • Applicants between 18-54 years must meet the language and knowledge of Canada requirements for citizenship. This includes being able to speak and understand in either French or English and show, in English or French, general knowledge about Canada and take the Citizenship Test.


  • Bill C-6 also brought into force statelessness as a ground that can be considered for a discretionary grant of citizenship.

Additional 2018 Amendments

On 11 January 2018 an additional amendment took effect with Bill C-6. The Federal Court is now the decision-maker in all revocation cases, unless the individual specifically requests that the Minister make the decision.

The Immigration Law Group at Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP/s.r.l. has the expertise to assist potential applicants with evaluating eligibility for Canadian citizenship, preparing comprehensive application packages, addressing any potential complications, and advising on the changing rules and requirements. Having accurate information and proper legal advice is key in this challenging environment. Please contact us to set up a consultation appointment.

Warren Creates is Head of Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall’s Immigration Law Group. He is a Certified Specialist in the fields of Immigration Law, Citizenship Law, and Refugee Law. He can be reached at or 613.566.2839.

Foreign Cooks, Chefs and Restaurant Workers in Canada

We specialize in assisting foreign cooks, chefs and restaurant workers obtain temporary or permanent status in Canada. With the recent changes to Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the Canadian Experience Class, it has become more challenging for cooks, chefs and restaurant workers to achieve optimal status. We can help.

Our team has particular expertise in working with foreign cooks, chefs and restaurant workers, as well as the establishments that employ them. We have assisted hundreds of restaurants and restaurant employees with applications for work permits, labour market opinions (LMOs), and permanent residency in Canada.

In July 2013, the Toronto Star reported that Canada issued more work permits to foreign cooks than any other occupation. Cooks and chefs with specialized experience and expertise are always in high demand across the country.

However, the fact that the highest number of work permits were awarded to food service workers was controversial to some Canadians. Some argued that there is no shortage of Canadians to fill these jobs, so there is no need to bring in temporary foreign workers at all. More generally, Canada’s temporary foreign worker program has been under severe scrutiny in recent months.

In response to this criticism and controversy, the Canadian government has instituted measures making it more difficult for cooks and restaurant workers to obtain status in Canada. The requirements for an employer to obtain a Labour Market Opinion, the first step towards a work permit, have been made significantly more onerous. For instance, employers now need to advertise each position for at least four (4) weeks and pay a $275 processing fee per application. Employers also face strict compliance measures. Only the most motivated employers will be willing to undergo the necessary steps.

As well, due to recent changes to the eligibility criteria, permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is no longer available to cooks or food supervisors. Chefs, butchers, bakers and other “National Occupation Classification B” occupations remain eligible for the CEC, but the number of accepted applications is presently capped at 200 per category per year.

In this new environment, preparing strong applications is essential. Success is certainly possible for the right foreign worker applying in the right category. Now more than ever, it is important to submit properly filled forms and good supporting documentation.

 The Immigration Law Group at Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP/s.r.l. has the expertise to assist both restaurants and foreign workers with assessing work permit requirements, preparing comprehensive application packages, and addressing any potential complications.

– Warren L. Creates and Jacqueline J. Bonisteel

Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program: More Controversy, More Change

On April 22nd, the Federal Government barred access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program for all food service operations. Further reforms are expected going forward, likely making the Labour Market Opinion process more restrictive and onerous across the board.

The Canadian federal government has wasted no time in responding to the controversy surrounding McDonalds’ alleged abuse of the temporary foreign worker program. A moratorium on the food services sector’s access to temporary foreign workers was swiftly imposed. Employment Minister Jason Kenney justified the sweeping move as a response to abuse of the program, and hinted that more changes would follow.

While criticism has focused on large-scale fast food operations, the moratorium applies much more broadly. All food service operations—everything from international hotel chains and top national restaurants to smaller ethnic restaurants—are now barred from hiring temporary foreign workers. The moratorium applies to lower-skilled front-line food service staff, but also to high-skilled and specialized cooks, chefs, and restaurant managers. Even occupations beyond food services, such as cleaning supervisors, sales representatives, and security guards, have now been caught by the ban.

The moratorium came into effect immediately upon its announcement on 22 April 2014.  This drastic measure follows other recent changes that have limited access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. At the same time, employers who maintain the right to hire temporary foreign workers face higher fees and increasingly stringent compliance measures. Advertising requirements are being applied and enforced more strictly than ever. We can expect that this vigilance will continue. Further reforms are expected in the near future, which are likely making the Labour Market Opinion process more restrictive and onerous across the board.

Predictably, the Canadian restaurant industry has criticized the changes. Restaurants Canada warned that, without access to foreign chefs, cooks and other restaurant industry workers, many smaller restaurants will be forced to close. Workers already in Canada risk being forced out.

For those affected by the moratorium, there may be alternatives. Foreign workers in Canada on existing work permits may be eligible to apply for permanent residence. With permanent residence, the need to rely on the temporary foreign worker program is eliminated altogether.

The Immigration Law Group at Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP/s.r.l. has the expertise to assist both employers and potential employees with evaluating eligibility for various immigration and temporary residence programs, preparing comprehensive application packages, addressing any potential complications, and advising on ongoing compliance requirements. Having accurate information and proper legal advice is key in this challenging environment. Please contact us to set up a consultation appointment.

– Warren L. Creates and Jacqueline J. Bonisteel

With special thanks to Rovshan Hajiyev