Author: Stephen Smith
by the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), which outlined its concerns in a series of letters addressed to Canada’s Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen, and Public Safety Minister, Ralph Goodale.
“The practice of refusing to process applications of genuine temporary residents seeking entry and the refusal to land applicants is unlawful and not in the public interest,” the CBA wrote. “We urge you to direct CBSA officers to perform their duties in accordance with the law, and ensure funds allocated to CBSA for immigration operations are used for this purpose.”
While acknowledging the CBSA’s concerns about high volume and excessive wait times, especially during the busy summer months when tourism is at its peak, the CBA said refusing flagpole services violates Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
“While a foreign national must satisfy an officer that they meet the requirements of the category for which they are seeking re-entry to Canada, they have a right to be processed at a [point of entry],” the CBA wrote.
Barbara Jo Caruso, chair of the CBA’s Immigration Law Section, said the association has amassed numerous examples of people who tried to flagpole between Friday and Monday and were told to come back on the days stipulated by the pilot — only to find it busier upon their return.
“When people show up on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, there is often a lineup as long or longer than there would have been on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday,” she told CIC News.
The association has urged the federal government to intervene and end the pilot, but so far the federal government is letting the pilot project continue.
When asked about the CBA’s contention that the pilot is unlawful, CBSA spokesman Nicholas Dorion said the agency does not respond to “third party statements.”