The Future of Immigration Practice

  • September 20, 2021

Kyle Hyndman

The last 18 months have challenged us in ways we never imagined, including in our work as immigration lawyers. The coming year will give us opportunities to redefine the work we do and how we do it. It is my great honour to serve as 2021-2022 Chair of the national CBA Immigration Law Section, the leading voice of the immigration bar, and I pledge to use this opportunity to support you in this process.

I am writing today for a few reasons:

  1. To introduce you to your new Executive and Coordinators.
  2. To outline our priorities as an organization for the coming year.
  3. To let you know about opportunities to get involved in your organization.

Your Executive

I (and all of us) owe a huge thank you to Mark Holthe, our immediate past Chair. In his role as Chair last year, Mark led our organization with calm and focus through an incredibly challenging time. He tirelessly championed the role of immigration lawyers, advocated for better government policy to address the pandemic’s impacts on the immigration system, pioneered innovative new CPD offerings and patiently answered more questions from members across Canada (including me) than I can count. I cannot hope to match Mark’s performance, but I will definitely draw inspiration from it.

Your Section runs on the energy of its volunteers, supported by our hard-working CBA staff. Meet the 2021-2022 Executive!

In addition to the formal Executive members, we are supported in our work by a number of coordinators who are responsible for specific functions. We are also supported by countless other volunteers who lead, draft and research submissions, speak at CPD events and assist with many other tasks.

Priorities for 2021-2022

My priorities for the coming year will focus on addressing a number of key challenges:

  1. Refocusing the role of the Section. Immigration law is changing, and so is our practice. New technology, changes in application processing, attacks on the right to counsel and the arrival of new organizations all present both challenges and opportunities for the Section that will require a reimagining of where we fit in. This may require that we focus on what we do best and stop trying to do things that other organizations may be better positioned to do.
  2. Broadening our leadership. The Section membership is broad and diverse, but our leadership hasn’t always reflected this diversity. I commit to working hard to make our organization more relevant and more welcoming to its members, recruiting future leaders who may have been overlooked in the past and ultimately making our leadership better reflect our membership. This includes listening to our members and examining barriers that may have kept some from putting their names forward for leadership and volunteer positions.
  3. Supporting our members. We will continue to be strong advocates for the role of lawyers in the immigration legal system, both in our dealings with government and in our public messaging. We will also work to include more CPD sessions on practice management, wellness and mental health, including outside of the national conference. And we will listen to our members and work to act on your priorities.
  4. Providing the best immigration law CPD on offer. Our members have consistently told us that a major reason for continuing their involvement with the CBA is our annual conference. While we’ve faced huge challenges due to the pandemic, we’ve still been able to provide the best immigration law CPD in the country, at a modest cost. We have every intention of returning to an in-person conference this year, subject of course to public health guidelines and CBA direction.
  5. Continuing our critical advocacy work. We will continue to advocate on the issues that matter most to our members, including:
    • Access to justice and the role of counsel in the immigration process, including pushing IRCC to include lawyers in all new online processes from the outset.
    • Better COVID-19 response, including ensuring fairness for those with long-pending applications, improvements to online portals and more.
    • Effective regulation of immigration consultants.
    • Maintaining and strengthening relationships with government, courts and tribunals.

CBA Immigration Law Section Conference

The Section is hard at work at planning for next year’s conference scheduled in Ottawa, ON for April 28-30, 2022. Save the date and stay tuned for more information! We are very excited and hopeful to return to an in-person conference and to reconnect with colleagues from across the country. We will continue to monitor public health guidelines and will provide updates as we get them.

Still Working on Your CPD Hours for 2021?

Did you miss the CBA Immigration Law Online Symposium in the spring? Purchase the on-demand recordings today! Learn from leading experts at the forefront of immigration practice and policymaking and earn up to 20 CPD hours.

Get Involved

More than ever, we need you to get involved in the important work of the Section. Our collective success comes from the dedication of our volunteers and Section members; we invite you to engage with the Section:

Don’t hesitate to contact us with questions or to become more involved. I would be happy to hear from you personally.


Kyle Hyndman
Chair, CBA Immigration Law Section