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Jurisprudence: On the Job Training

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[1] This application is for the judicial review of a decision of Irma Roa, a Visa Officer at the Canadian Consulate General in Los Angeles, California, dated April 23, 1997 wherein the applicant’s application for permanent residence in Canada was refused under the Independent category as a chef-cook or cook of foreign foods.

[2] The applicant is a 24-year old citizen of Japan. In paragraph 4 of his affidavit, he sets out his experience as follows: “As indicated on my application, I have 12 months experience as a chef-cook with Kitchen Aisle in Urawa, Saitama, Japan, 3 months experience as a chef-cook with Alisa Japanese Restaurant in North Vancouver, B.C., Canada, 1 month experience as a chef-cook with Pepitas Mexican Restaurant in North Vancouver, B.C., Canada and 10 months experience as a chef-cook with Opa Japanese Restaurant in Gibsons, B.C., Canada.”.

In his affidavit the applicant also describes more fully the nature of his experience as a chef-cook in these various establishments. However, it would appear from the affidavit of Irma Roa, the Visa Officer, that he had much less to say in the course of his interview. She notes that “he learned to cook on the job at the Aisle Restaurant in Japan between 1990 and 1991” and that “there was no indication in the applicant’s application that he had attended cooking school or had any formal training or apprenticeship as a cook”. She informed the applicant that she “was concerned that he did not have any formal training as a chef”. As the applicant stated that his specialty was Japanese food, she “specifically asked him to provide further details regarding his skills as a Japanese cook”. But the applicant “did not respond and only stated that he was also able to make vegetarian food for monks”. The Visa Officer was left with “the impression that he seemed to be evading my questions requiring specific answers regarding his skills as a chef”.

[3] In her affidavit she also stated that “considering that the applicant confirmed that his stated intended occupation in Canada was that of chef, and the information that he provided to me at the interview”, she assessed him under the Canadian Classification and Dictionary of Occupations (“CCDO”) categories of “Chef-Cook, General ” (CCDO 6121-111) and “Cook, Foreign Foods” (CCDO 6121-126). She awarded him 15 units of assessment under these two categories.

[4] However she awarded him zero (0) units of assessment for his experience because she concluded that he did not have any experience as a chef but only some experience as a kitchen helper or assistant cook. […]

Thus in total the applicant was awarded only 66 units of assessment and he requires 70 units for a visa issue pursuant to subparagraph 9(1)(b)(i) of the Immigration Regulations.

[5] It appears to me that, had he been as forthcoming at his interview as he was in his affidavit, the applicant would have been more successful in convincing the Visa Officer of the value of his experience. It appears also that the Visa Officer placed too much emphasis on the necessity of formal training for a chef or a cook, whereas these occupations in Japan are learned on the job. Since the applicant intends to work as a cook in a Japanese restaurant in Canada, formal training ought not to have been an essential factor. In her own notes taken after the interview, the Visa Officer described that the applicant had worked at various restaurants in Japan and Canada for more than 2 years. Surely that would entitle him to more than zero (0) for experience, at least experience as a cook if not as a chef.

[6] Consequently this matter is referred to a different visa officer for a re-determination of the application with instructions to give proper weight to the experience of the applicant as related to the Independent Immigration category under which he seeks application for permanent residence.

[7] The application for judicial review is granted. There is no serious question of general importance to be certified under subsection 83. (1) of the Immigration Act.