The CBA immigration lawyers lead pro bono serviceto boost relief efforts in the Philippines

  • December 18, 2013

OTTAWA — In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan last month, a group of lawyers from the Canadian Bar Association’s (CBA) National Immigration Law Section is spearheading a pro bono initiative to help families in Canada sponsor relatives living in areas affected by the recent disaster in the Philippines to come to this country.

Lawyers participating in the initiative are offering initial legal consultations and assistance in preparing immigration applications – without charge – for Canadians and permanent residents in Canada.

“We understand that sponsoring a relative can be a complicated process at the best of times,” says Catherine Sas, Q.C., member of the CBA’s National Immigration Law Section.  “Given the challenges families in Canada are facing, we are prepared to review applications to make sure that documents are in order.”  

To facilitate the process, the CBA built an online interactive map for its website that allows users to easily locate and contact a participating lawyer in their province of residence. The Association also created a checklist that explains how to access the special assistance program.

The CBA initiative follows closely on the heels of efforts by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to fast-track new and existing applications for those who have been significantly and personally affected by the disaster. Information on the federal government program is available on the CIC website.

“To spread the word, we are promoting the CBA special initiative through our social media channels,” says Mario Bellissimo, Chair of the CBA’s National Immigration Law Section. “The CBA will be reaching out through Facebook, LinkedInTwitter as well as community newspapers to reach those who will benefit from the service.”

The Canadian Bar Association is dedicated to support for the rule of law, and improvement in the law and the administration of justice. Some 37,500 lawyers, notaries, law teachers, and law students from across Canada are members.

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