Federal Court voids Canadian citizenship revocation for 312 people

Posted
July 13, 2017
Article Source
The Globe and Mail

The Federal Court has nullified government attempts to strip Canadian citizenship from more than 300 people after an earlier judgment struck down key provisions of the Citizenship Act introduced by the former Conservative government under Stephen Harper.

The earlier ruling, in May, declared those provisions inoperative because they were an expedited process that deprived individuals of the right to an oral hearing and did not take into account humanitarian and compassionate considerations.

As a result, in a decision on Monday, Justice Russel Zinn voided the citizenship revocation of 312 individuals who had turned to the court after they were targeted in a sweep against people who had obtained their Canadian nationality through fraud.

Another 14 similar court requests, which had not been filed in a timely manner, can apply for a deadline extension, Justice Zinn ruled.

The Federal Court has nullified government attempts to strip Canadian citizenship from more than 300 people after an earlier judgment struck down key provisions of the Citizenship Act introduced by the former Conservative government under Stephen Harper.

The earlier ruling, in May, declared those provisions inoperative because they were an expedited process that deprived individuals of the right to an oral hearing and did not take into account humanitarian and compassionate considerations.

As a result, in a decision on Monday, Justice Russel Zinn voided the citizenship revocation of 312 individuals who had turned to the court after they were targeted in a sweep against people who had obtained their Canadian nationality through fraud.

 

Another 14 similar court requests, which had not been filed in a timely manner, can apply for a deadline extension, Justice Zinn ruled.

 

"It's another judicial loss for the policies of the previous government," Montreal lawyer Vincent Valaï, who represented some of the people in the case, said in an interview.

He noted that the Conservative government liked to say that obtaining Canadian citizenship is a privilege, not a right. However, the ruling in May said that once acquired, citizenship is a right.

"And because it is a right, you have to respect procedure fairness before revoking citizenship. That means the right to a hearing before an impartial judge," Mr. Valaï said.

Another lawyer involved in the case, Matthew Jeffery, called the provisions in the law a "deeply flawed process."

The government could start the revocation process against those people all over again but it would first have to rewrite the law to conform with the court rulings, Mr. Jeffery said.

Read more: Federal Court voids Canadian citizenship revocation for 312 people