New initiatives, goals and opportunities!

  • October 23, 2023

Although it has been a long time since we were law students embarking on a new school year, fall still feels like a time of beginnings. An opportunity to both build on the work of the past, and to take on new challenges towards a better future.

For the past few months your Executive has been planning, organizing and getting ready to launch the new year for our Section. We know that the year ahead will bring many challenges, as Canada prepares to welcome more permanent residents than ever before, while at the same time continuing to maintain its reliance on international students and foreign workers.

Geopolitical issues, global conflicts and natural disasters will continue to drive people to move and look for resettlement in Canada. Along with the challenges, there will be many opportunities for our Section to advocate to IRCC, CBSA, ESDC and Service Canada for enhanced policies and improved processes to continue to build on Canada’s tradition of welcoming immigrants, international students, workers, families, and the most vulnerable. We look forward to serving you, and to working with you, to advance the pressing issues in immigration, refugee and citizenship law that Canada faces.

It is our pleasure:

  1. To introduce you to your new Executive and Coordinators.
  2. To outline our priorities for the coming year.
  3. To let you know about opportunities to join us in making “good trouble”, and advocating for change, by getting involved in the national Section.


Please join us in extending a heartfelt “thank you” to Lisa Middlemiss, our immediate Past Chair. Lisa has worked tirelessly and unselfishly to drive change and to tackle the most pressing challenges in our practice. She has built strong and resilient relationships of trust with our government and ministerial colleagues, while at the same time constantly advocating for change on the issues that matter to our Section. She has also encouraged and mentored new leaders, while implementing new programs, such as the Sponsored Mentor initiative, to continue to build the Section. Lisa has strengthened the foundation upon which we can all continue to build.

We are also pleased to introduce you to our 2023-2024 Executive! We are grateful to have a talented and knowledgeable group of leaders dedicated to addressing the needs of the Section.

In addition to the formal Executive members, we are supported in our work by a number of Section Coordinators and Committees that help pave the way forward for our submissions, social media, liaison with IRCC on the online portals, CPD training, national conference planning and much more.

We encourage you to keep an eye out for Working Groups being formed regularly and to contribute to written submissions whenever you can. Our advocacy work can only happen if we have dedicated volunteers willing to share their collective knowledge and ideas for innovation. It is rewarding to contribute to Working Groups that trigger change and there is no way to experience it other than signing up.


Our priorities for the coming year include:

Advocacy work. We will continue to advocate for the issues that matter most to our members, including:

  • Addressing processing times and proposing solutions to reduce backlogs and processing delays, as well as enhancing channels for communication.
  • Enhancing Canada’s response in the area of refugee determination and resettlement (see here, for example);
  • In partnership with other CBA Sections, addressing issues of importance to the 2SLGBTQI+ community (see here, for example);
  • Enhancing co-ordination between federal and provincial governments in areas such as the regulation of professions and trades, and housing.
  • Access to justice and the role of counsel in immigration processes, ensuring the inclusion of counsel in all new online processes from the outset, and the effective oversight of consultants.
  • The use of technology, such as AI and portals, and proposing enhancements to improve user experience, reduce service interruptions and ensure appropriate safeguards.

Planning for another successful in-person National Immigration Law Conference. Save the date! The 2024 CBA Immigration Law Conference is set for May 9-11 at “Le Westin” in Montreal. With the diligent efforts of our Conference Planning Committee, this promises to be a unique opportunity to expand your knowledge and legal skills in immigration law today.

Mark your calendar and join us in Montreal for a valuable opportunity to learn, share insights, and connect with colleagues nationwide. Stay tuned for more details – we eagerly await your participation.

Membership Care, Value and Renewal. Continuously growing our membership and diversity, and developing new leaders, while encouraging wellness, are key priorities for the Executive. Our initiatives for this year include:

  • Addressing wellness and mental health issues, including strategies for protecting our mental health; tips for maintaining wellness; and addressing vicarious trauma.
  • The official launch of our new Sponsored Mentorship Program this fall, matching mentors who are leaders in the profession with new members of the immigration bar;
  • The “CBA Immigration Brunch/Lunch Lecture Series”: monthly virtual events starting in October which will be free to CBA members;
  • The continued work of the Anti-Racism Committee in addressing issues of systemic racism, in co-operation with government officials such as the Director, Anti-Racism Task Force at IRCC, and the IRB;
  • The launch of a CBA Speakers Bureau to provide further speaking opportunities for Section members and to increase diversity on conference panels and CBA webinars.


There is much work to be done, and we can only successfully pursue these important initiatives with your help. There are so many ways to get involved, to contribute to the work of the Section, and to share your knowledge and ideas! We invite you to:


Did you miss the CBA Immigration Law Conference in June? Purchase the on-demand recordings today! Learn from leading experts at the forefront of immigration practice and policymaking and earn CPD hours.


On-demand recordings are now available:

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions or to discuss ways to become more involved. We gladly welcome your emails and calls.

We look forward to another great year of advocacy, networking and camaraderie – and we hope that you will join us!


Gabriela Ramo  

Gabriela Ramo
Chair, CBA Immigration Law Section, 2023-2024

Robert Israel Blanshay  

Robert Israel Blanshay
Vice-Chair, Refugee and Litigation Affairs, CBA Immigration Law Section, 2023-2024