Immigration Chair appears before Parliamentary committee on impact of COVID-19

  • November 23, 2020

CBA Immigration Law Section Chair, Mark Holthe, of Holthe Immigration Law in Lethbridge, appeared before the House of Commons Citizenship and Immigration Committee in November to talk about the various impacts of COVID-19 on the immigration system.

The Immigration Section has consulted with government authorities since the beginning of the pandemic in March, with a view to finding solutions and moving forward in this area. In addition the Section has made a number of submissions to government, dealing with the impact restrictions put in place to deal with the virus were having on permanent residents, those trying to immigrate to Canada, and their families.

Here is a look at the issues the Section has commented on since the outbreak began:

COVID-19 — Incarcerated and Detained Individuals – At the end of March, the Immigration and Criminal Justice Sections wrote to Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, with serious concerns about the potential spread of the virus in prisons and in immigration detention facilities.

COVID-19 — Proceedings at the Immigration Appeal DivisionIn April, the Section suggested measures the Immigration Appeal Division could take to mitigate the access-to-justice implications of COVID-19. The Section also made similar outreach to the Immigration Division and the Canada Border Services Agency.

COVID-19 — Proceedings Refugee Protection Division – In May, the Section suggested measures that the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board could take in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 — Resumption of in-Person Hearings at the Refugee Protection DivisionIn August, the Section recommended that the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board make changes to its approach for the resumption of in-person hearings.