New Developments in Federal Court Class Action Suit

CIC News
Published: November 28, 2012

There have been important new developments in the legal case against Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), which challenges their plan to terminate most Federal Skilled Worker applications submitted prior to February 27, 2008. These new developments appear to be technical in nature and should not affect the outcome of the case, one way or the other.

Lawyers for the applicants were scheduled to make preliminary arguments in a Class Action case in Federal Court on November 23, 2012. If they would have succeeded in their preliminary arguments, the Court then would have scheduled a future date for next steps in the Class Action Suit and that future date likely would have been months from now.

Instead, all participating lawyers will proceed by way of “test cases”. The Court has made dates available (January 14th through January 16th, 2013) in Toronto, during which time lawyers, including Attorney David Cohen and Mario D. Bellissimo, will have the opportunity to present arguments. This will allow applicants to have “their day in court” much sooner than if lawyers had proceeded by way of a Class Action.

A test case is different from a Class Action in the following way. In a test case, a lawyer has the chance to present arguments on behalf of a single client. The decision the Court renders in the test case will apply not only to that client, but to other clients represented by the lawyer in the same circumstances.

The thrust of the argument that will be presented by Attorneys Cohen and Bellissimo is that the intended action of CIC (termination of the applications) is unconstitutional on the grounds that it is discriminatory against individuals based on their country of origin (Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms). If the Court decides in their favor then the law empowering CIC to terminate the applications will be struck down. This outcome would apply not only to the test case but to all of the other clients the attorneys represent in this matter as well.

In anticipation of having the test case heard by the Court in mid-January, 2013, lawyers for the applicants have adjourned (not withdrawn) their Class Action case. According to Attorney David Cohen, “If, for any reason, CIC takes any action to begin terminating applications before there is a decision on our test case, we would go back to the Court on the Class Action case and ask for an Order that would require CIC to refrain from destroying the integrity of the Class.”

A pre-hearing conference is likely to take place during the week of December 10th, 2012.

Individuals who submitted their Federal Skilled Worker applications prior to February 27th, 2012 may still retain the representation of Attorneys Cohen and Bellissimo. If you are one of these individuals, click here to make your voice heard.

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