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On Christmas Eve of last year, several Toronto-area families were torn apart when four men died and one was critically injured after the scaffolding they were working on collapsed, the worst construction accident in the city in five decades.
Now, the North York family of one man, Vladimir Korostin, faces deportation from Canada while they continue to try to come to terms with the loss of a father. Korostin and his wife, Irina Cherniakova, obtained a divorce while living in Canada but remained amicable in raising their two daughters, seven-year-old Daniela and 14-year old Inna.
Korostin’s family came to Canada as refugees, being uncomfortable as Orthodox Christians in a mainly Jewish country and in an attempt to avoid having their daughters forced into the Israeli army after high school, which is mandatory by law. Canada seemed like the ideal country for the family, who according to Cherniakova were told by friends that, “If you’re Muslim, Christian or Jewish, you can find your place in Canada,” and that, “you will be respected for who you are as a human being.”
The family has a hearing in February 2010, at which Cherniakova can try to convince the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) that they will either face torture, cruel and unusual punishment or a risk to their lives if they are deported. If they do not win the hearing, the family will have to leave their home of three years as well as their father and ex-husband’s grave. They can also make a humanitarian and compassionate application to stay as a last resort.
The chances of Israeli refugee claims being accepted in Canada are quite low, and only five and six per cent have been successful in the last two years. It would be a double tragedy for this family should they be removed from Canada. But Israel, unlike many of its surrounding neighbor countries, is democratic and is not a generally considered to be refugee producing country. Therefore the family’s best bet would their humanitarian and compassionate application for Canadian permanent residence. Given the recent accident, I think they have a good case for success.
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