Canadian Government Cuts Legal Aid for Refugees

refugees in canada

Recently, B.C. (British Columbia), Canada decided that they will no longer provide legal aid to immigrants and refugees due to lack of funding. Without the funding for legal aid to immigrants and refugees, many immigration specialists believe it will put people at risk of deportation as their cases will not proceed without an immigration lawyer.

British Columbia Won’t Be the “Best Place on Earth” for Thousands

The cancellation of legal aid from the Legal Services Society of B.C. will be effective on August 1st, 2017. The Society will no longer accept applications for immigration and refugee cases because the government funding can not keep up with the increasing pace of refugee claims. Unless the Society receives an additional $1 million in federal funding than people living in Canada as an immigrant or refugee will be forced to represent themselves in front of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. The Society’s executive director, Mark Benton, said “There will be a real risk to people, and that’s our biggest concern. When we talk about people who come from a different culture, who don’t have a Canadian standard of education, who are likely not to speak any English, and do not have a network of support, [not having a lawyer] puts them at risk of their case not being heard fully and they risk being returned to the country where they face persecution.”

The executive said that the Society is processing an average of 110 cases a month. Almost half of the refugee claims that come through the Society’s office come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey, and about a quarter come from Central and South America.

How the previous system worked was that immigrants and refugees who were eligible for legal assistance were connected with immigration lawyers who were funded by Legal Services Society. Thousands of refugees and immigrants have been able to live their lives in Canada thanks to the legal aid given by the Canadian government. Immigration lawyers now fear that thousands of immigrants and refugees will be left with nothing but deportation. The director of settlement services for the Vancouver-based Immigrant Services Society of B.C., Chris Friesen, said: “Their inability to have legal counsel to help them navigate the complexity of applying for asylum really puts them at a significant disadvantage.”

The Legal Services Society will “continue to provide online materials in multiple languages that help unrepresented clients understand the immigration and refugee hearing process and the steps they have to follow to maintain their claims.”


Do you want to immigrate to Canada?

Fill out our FREE online immigration assessment, and we will get back to you within 24 hours.


Comment below, we want to hear your opinion!

About VisaPlace Immigration News Contributor - Ella

Read more

  • Balwinder

    Can you tell us in which month BC PNP program open

    • Immigration Lawyers

      Hi Balwinder,

      Thank you for contacting us at VisaPlace! We would love to help you with the PNP program! First, we need to take a closer look at your case. Hiring an immigration lawyer will help you get answers to all of your questions, plus it will increase the chance of getting a visa approved. Please, complete this form for me it is just a quick and easy way for me to learn more details about your situation so that I will be able to advise you accurately and determine the best avenue for us to take to give you the best legal advice.

      The above response is for informational purposes only and does not form a lawyer-client relationship nor should it be construed to be legal advice.

The content and comments of this blog are not legal advise and and may not be accurate or complete. If you require legal advice, contact a licensed legal practitioner directly. If you post on this blog, you assume full responsibility for disclosing your identity to the public and VisaPlace nor its affiliates are not responsible for protecting your privacy nor your identity concerning your participation in our blog and you assume any risks in participating.

Customer Reviews

Here’s my good advice; Lawyer up. ...and if your looking for a group of lawyers to help with your international affairs regarding visas and work permits; these professionals are top notch. I’ve had a great experience, they got the job done, and my job was very complicated. Rania Abboud, high five to you especially, you set up a great plan for success, replied to my questions very quickly, kept me informed and your very knowledgeable in your field. To everyone else at VisaPlace; Thank you as well. As a business owner myself I immediately recognized the way your team works so effectively! I wish you all the best of success. J.

Jason Mayerin the last week

The team at the Visa place as very thorough in the preparation of my application which I am sure made a difference. They guided the process well to a successful outcome. Would recommend them for sure.

Brad Davies2 weeks ago

I hired them for my study permit application! I had been denied twice and thanks to them the 3rd try was a success. Lisa Inspektor was my main contact. She is Very nice and polite. I strongly recommend you to go with them! The money you’re gonna spend is gonna be worth it

landry walker3 weeks ago