Canadian Courts overrule Immigration and Refugee Board Decisions

Courts ruled that IRB and CIC decisions failed to address entire situation

Three refugee claims and two humanitarian and compassionate grounds applications that were rejected by the Immigration and Refugee Board and Citizenship and Immigration Canada were overturned last month by Federal Court.

The claims originated from different countries: Brazil, Guyana, Mexico and two from St. Vincent, but all five had something in common – they were all from women fleeing abuse in their home countries. Four were victims of spousal abuse and one was violently sexually assaulted during a home invasion.

Still, the Immigration and Refugee Board and Citizenship and Immigration Canada ruled that the women would be protected in their home countries and would not face unusual, undeserved or disproportionate hardship when deported from Canada.

One of the rejections was overturned because the judge ruled that the Immigration and Refugee Board didn’t properly assess whether the claimant would face hardship if they were deported, and in a different case a judge found that the assessment that one of the claimants would be protected in her home country wasn’t accurate. In another, where a woman was violently sexually assaulted in front of her children, Citizenship and Immigration Canada completely failed to address how the children’s witnessing the crime affected them.

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney was upset about courts overruling the board’s decisions as evidenced by a speech he delivered in late February, where he said Canadians would be concerned about, “cases in which, seemingly on a whim, or perhaps in a fit of misguided magnanimity, a judge overturns the careful decisions of multiple levels of diligent, highly-trained public servants, tribunals and even other judges.”

This just goes to show that even when their refugee claims are rejected, victims of violence in other countries still have a chance for a fair outcome in Canada.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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