Alan and Alice – not their real names – are a Jamaica-born British couple who traveled from their home in the United Kingdom to Canada from time to time to visit their daughter and her two Canadian-born children in Toronto.
While these visits to Canada brought great joy to the couple, all too soon they had to leave. But they always looked forward to returning to Canada to spend “quality time” with their daughter and grandchildren.
However, during their last visit to Canada, Alan and Alice received some disturbing news: their grandchildren were being abused by their father and their mother could not handle the situation because of a mental health problem.
What then should Alan and Alice do? Should they simply pack their bags and return to England?
They did not know to whom they should turn. They did not know anyone they could rely on to deal with the situation? They did not know anyone they could trust.
So they made a mutual decision to remain in Canada in the best interests of their grandchildren and their daughter.
Should they have applied for an extension of their visitor status in Canada? Yes, of course.
But the situation in which they found their daughter and her children seemed to have turned their own lives upside down and at the time, an extension of their visitor status was not uppermost in their mind.
The caring grandparents began looking after their grandchildren full time But the immigration authorities caught up with Alan. He was eventually detained by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for being in Canada without status and a detention review hearing was scheduled on September 30, 2015.
This writer represented him at the hearing and he was released on a $10,000.00 “performance bond.”
Long before Alan’s detention he had retained a “representative” to submit a “humanitarian application” to the immigration authorities on behalf of himself and his wife so that their status may be regularized. Unfortunately, the “representative” did not do so, although he was paid the processing fees and a “hefty retainer. ”
Upon Alan’s release, he contacted his former “representative” who gave him the run-around and he decided that he should get someone else to pursue the matter.
By then, the CBSA began taking steps to have the couple removed and this writer immediately requested a deferral of the removal order and submitted a number of documents which dealt directly with the interests of his grandchildren and the need for the grandparents to remain in Canada and their input on the children lives.
Although there were no Federal Court proceedings, the Justice Department also got involved. It contacted my office requesting that I submit the humanitarian application as soon as possible.
Immigration law provides that persons such as this couple and those who are similarly situated may apply for permanent residence from within Canada under humanitarian grounds. Of course, there is no
guarantee on the outcome of an application because each application is assessed on its own merit.
On February 11, 2016, this writer submitted an application for permanent residence, with supporting documents and detailed submissions as to why this couple should remain in Canada, stressing the interests of their grandchildren and the fact that they were being cared for by my clients who were the appointed guardians.
Among the documents submitted for consideration was a letter from The Children’s Aid Society in which the Child Protection Worker stated:
- “The society recognizes the grandmother as a tremendous support for her daughter and family. The grandmother is now part of an active safety plan which has been created with the intent of having the children returned to the care of their mother”.
- “The children have cited a positive bond with appropriate attachment observed by myself and grandchildren”.
- “The grandmother has indicated that she would be willing to reside in Canada and continue to support her daughter and family, if permitted to do so.”
The letter also recommended that the grandmother be permitted to continue to remain in Canada. Apart from this letter, there were also other documents such as psychological reports, court documents, custody orders and several letters from other agencies, all noting the abuse of the children and the need to have their grandparents in Canada.
As soon as this application was submitted, this writer forwarded the Justice Department proof that it was forwarded to CIC – Backlog Reduction Office, Vancouver BC.
From the time this application was submitted, CBSA did not show any further interest in removing the couple and allowed them to remain in Canada to process their application.
Last week our office received a letter from the Backlog Reduction Office in Montreal, which stated that on December 23, 2016, a representative of the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) approved the couple’s application for permanent residence from within Canada. Alan and Alice’s request for an exemption from all the applicable requirements for the purposes of processing this application was granted.
This couple was further advised that if they wish to work or study in Canada, they can request and receive employment or student authorization.
Upon hearing the good news, the couple was, of course, delighted and are now looking forward to remain permanently with their family members in Canada and to regularize their status by applying for employment authorization.
SUKHRAM RAMKISSOON is a member of ICCRC and specializes in Immigration Matters at No. 3089 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario. Suite 219A. Phone 416 789 5756.