Refugee sponsorship organization sues Quebec

A Montreal refugee sponsorship organization is suing the Department of Immigration. The organization criticizes the ministry for having changed the rules without notice and for lacking fairness and transparency in the management of the filing of refugee sponsorship files in January 2020. The request obtained by The duty squarely demands that the whole process be canceled and resumed.

The lawsuit is filed by the Refugee Center, a non-profit organization that supports asylum seekers and sponsors refugees. The Center has still not digested the refusal of four files filed to bring families to the province.

The dispute relates to the modus operandi which requires the submission of sponsorship requests at the opening of the program on a “first come, first served” basis and to the irregularities observed in the January 2020 competition.

The idea of ​​having to queue to be able to sponsor a family does not enter the head of Abdulla Daoud, director of the Center. “You don’t buy concert tickets,” he said, adding that such a formula is not worthy of a concert system.immigration. “You don’t see that anywhere else in Canada. “

In the judicial review appeal, his organization is not deadlocked. “The citizens must go to sleep at the Ministry to be guaranteed their place because of a too low target based on an arbitrary figure, in which an improvised procedure at the last minute serves as a beacon to promote the filing of requests”, perhaps. we read in court documents.

Confusion and irregularities

“We were so disappointed, it’s heartbreaking,” continues Mr. Daoud. However, he had followed the directive of the Ministry of Immigration, Francization and Integration (MIFI), by submitting his requests by courier on Monday, January 20, 2020 at 8:30 a.m., during the opening of the period of reception.

However, the day before, Mr. Daoud had learned in the media that since a queue had formed outside in the middle of winter, the MIFI had opened its offices three days earlier, that is to say during the weekend. , to allow many to wait warm inside.

From January 15, 2020, The duty reported that, given the enthusiasm for the program which only accepted 750 applications in total, several sponsors were thinking of camping in front of the Montreal offices of the MIFI to be sure you can apply for the program. Courier services were also bidding up prices, given the obligation to submit an application through a courier.

A few days later, one of our reports showed attempts at intimidation and corruption, and that people had tried to buy the first seats from the first couriers in the queue in the MIFI waiting room. An internal MIFI investigation filed in court evidence corroborated these facts. After deposit, the then Minister of Immigration, Simon Jolin-Barrette, himself had acknowledged the failures of the process receipt of the files and had indicated that it had to be “reviewed”.

The Refugee Center also resents the MIFI for having waited until June 29, five months after it had submitted its files, to inform it that they were inadmissible because the ceiling had already been reached. If he had been informed in advance of this intention to refuse, the organization could have tried to file its files in another category where the ceiling has not been reached, argues lawyer Pierre-Luc Bouchard. “My client never had a number from our file or anything at all. He couldn’t follow up. “

An “arbitrary” target

For mee Bouchard, the rejection of sponsorship requests from the Refugee Center stems from decisions recorded in a ministerial decree dated October 2019, and which he wishes to have canceled. In essence, this decree renews the terms – such as the compulsory use of the courier – of the previous filing of files of September 17, 2018, when the Liberal government was in power. It also renews the decision to only accept a maximum of 750 files, all categories combined.

However, according to the prosecution documents, Mr.e Bouchard and his client claim that this figure is “arbitrary”. “We asked how the ministry calculated its targets. We have never been provided with any actuarial study, no proof of calculations. It gives the impression that it was taken out of a hat, ”he maintains.

What is more, the lawyer and his client are trying to demonstrate that the entire consultation surrounding the determination of immigration thresholds, which is the subject of a parliamentary committee in the National Assembly, is “bogus”. “The consultation was not really one [le ministre Jolin-Barrette] already had his idea, ”said Me Bouchard. In 2020, out of a total of approximately 44,000 immigrants, the Quebec Immigration Plan planned to accept 7,500 refugees, including 3,350 through collective sponsorship.

According to him, the minister was not able to justify why he had kept the number of files “so low” and accuses him of having made only a “copy and paste” of what had done the previous government. According to documents filed in evidence and interviews conducted with officials, the MIFI maintains for its part that the fact of receiving only 750 sponsorship files “makes it possible to avoid an excessive accumulation of requests in inventory and the lengthening of the deadlines. admission ”. Me Bouchard disputes this claim, indicating that inventories fall under federal jurisdiction and demonstrating, with supporting evidence, that on the contrary, lowering the thresholds only inflated the inventory and the delays.

The ministry was unable to answer questions from To have to, at the time of this writing.

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