IRCC recently announced that people with a close connection to a Canadian can request authorization to travel. Until now, the exemption has only applied to close family members, shutting out everyone other than children, parents and spouses. And, oh ya, guardians.

With last weeks’ announcement of expanding the exemptions to relieve hardship to people who don’t meet the narrow definition of family, IRCC has issued new instructions and a form to be completed in order to receive authorization to travel.

The new rules apply to those travelling from the US or elsewhere. So everyone who meets the new definition and is wanting to join an extended family member in Canada, has to fill out and submit the same form and request authorization, which IRCC says will take 14 days.

The form (EDIT: the form has been taken down and updated 3 times since it was first published, hopefully it will be back up soon? @IRCC form person: you got this! don’t give up, you are our hero) and the details are just hours old, but these are the criteria to qualify:

  • The visit must be for 15 days or longer and cannot be discretionary (ie. not primarily for tourism, recreation or entertainment)
  • The Canadian (citizen or PR) extended family member must be physically in Canada (eg. it looks like they cannot be outside Canada, so travelling together into Canada does not appear to be an option)
  • Travelers must have a quarantine plan for the first 14 days in Canada
  • For extended family members: Travelers must be able to show their relationship to the Canadian (birth certificates, marriage certificates in addition to the declaration form)
  • For those in an “exclusive dating relationship” IRCC defines it as a romantic relationship with a Canadian, have been in the relationship for at least 1 year and have spent time in the physical presence of that person at some point during the relationship. So presumably proof will have to be provided – such as a selection of documents showing the relationship is exclusive and has been ongoing for over a year.

As far as the process goes, there are 4 options:

  • If you are in the US, it is unclear how you are supposed to apply, but it appears there has to be approval before arriving at the port of entry (hopefully this will be clarified by IRCC shortly – EDIT: yes, updated to say US citizens should use the same email process as those with visas)
  • if you have an eTA,  you submit the application form and supporting documents to the IRCC Webform using the language provided.
  • If you already have a visitor visa, you email all your info to IRCC
  • If you need a visitor visa,  you must apply for one and use this special wording on the application form:

 

 

So this is a good move on the part of IRCC and positive news for those who meet the new expanded criteria. But it reflects that we are in this travel restriction thing for the long haul.

And godspeed to all those willing and able to jump through the hoops to get here.

❤️

nsimmigration.ca

Many Canadian businesses rely on regular cross-border trips by US-based workers. Whether it is to maintain machinery and equipment or oversee operations, these visits are usually of short durations and are time-sensitive. Sometimes, the US based workers are even Canadian citizens or permanent residents who still have to isolate for 2 weeks upon arrival in Canada. Other times, they are just coming in as (IRPA section 186) business visitors or may have NAFTA or Intra Company Transferee work permits covering their time in Canada.

The mandatory 14-day isolation period really throws a wrench into things (I know, terrible pun), because suddenly a 3-day visit to repair a piece of equipment becomes a 17 day visit, the first 14 of which the equipment cannot be touched by the worker.

So what can Canadian organizations do to ensure that (1) they are adhering to public health rules and doing their part to stop the spread of Covid-19 and (2) keep their Canadian operations running smoothly so that delays don’t negatively impact their Canadian employees, market competitiveness or production?

Some form of travel restrictions are likely for the foreseeable future. And even if you are allowed to travel, the 14 day isolation is now the default. This is all mandatory by provincial public health orders and section 58 of the Quarantine Act:

Emergency Orders
Order prohibiting entry into Canada

58 (1) The Governor in Council may make an order prohibiting or subjecting to any condition the entry into Canada of any class of persons who have been in a foreign country or a specified part of a foreign country if the Governor in Council is of the opinion that

(a) there is an outbreak of a communicable disease in the foreign country;

(b) the introduction or spread of the disease would pose an imminent and severe risk to public health in Canada;

(c) the entry of members of that class of persons into Canada may introduce or contribute to the spread of the communicable disease in Canada; and

(d) no reasonable alternatives to prevent the introduction or spread of the disease are available.

However, there are exceptions to the rules. The current exemption process involves requesting both federal and provincial approval. The federal process is outlined here:

Federal exemption to mandatory quarantine (14 day isolation period):

The Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) in conjunction with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) are given the authority to grant exemptions from quarantine required by the federal order (OIC 10). Whether an exemption from quarantine is granted to an individual under the federal order is determined solely by the CBSA and PHAC. Information regarding requirements for an exemption to the Federal order can be found here.

PHAC issues letters of interpretation and provides an assessment as to whether an individual qualifies for an exemption under OIC 10. The letter is useful for anyone seeking entry to Canada as it is an important piece of information for CBSA to consider when making their final determination to permit entry and exemption from the quarantine requirements.

Federal Eligibility:

Who is eligible to travel to Canada: Foreign nationals, including United States (US) citizens, can travel to Canada only if they’re eligible. Restrictions vary depending on where you are coming from.

If you’re travelling to Canada from outside the US
You must be both:
• exempt from the travel restrictions and
• travelling for an essential (non discretionary) purpose

All other foreign nationals:
To be eligible, you must meet 2 requirements:
•You must be travelling for an essential (non-discretionary) purpose
•You must be either
· travelling directly from the US
· exempt from the travel restrictions

Travelers coming from outside the US who are exempt from the travel restrictions:
• any person who does not pose a significant harm to public health, in the opinion of the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, and who will provide an essential service while in Canada

Federal exemption provisions for essential service workers

Pursuant to paragraph 6(e) of the Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Mandatory Isolation), No. 2, issued pursuant to section 58 of the Quarantine Act, the Chief Public Health Officer may determine a class of persons who provide an essential service while in Canada.

As determined by the Chief Public Health Officer, at this time, the following class of persons are exempt:

Persons in the trade or transportation sector who are important for the movement of goods or people, including truck drivers and crew members on any aircraft, shipping vessel or train, and that cross the border while performing their duties or for the purpose of performing their duties;

Persons who must cross the border regularly to go to their normal place of employment, including critical infrastructure workers (Energy and Utilities, Information and Communication Technologies, Finance, Health, Food, Water, Transportation, Safety, Government and Manufacturing), provided they do not directly care for persons 65 years of age or older within the first 14 days after their entry to Canada; and

Technicians specified by manufacturer, or the manufacturer warranty, as required to maintain or repair equipment necessary to support critical infrastructure (Energy and Utilities, Information and Communication Technologies, Finance, Health, Food, Water, Transportation, Safety, Government and Manufacturing).

Ultimately, the federal exemption is determined by the officer at the port of entry (CBSA and PHAC), but having a letter of interpretation is meant to be a helpful tool in that assessment.

Provincial exemption to mandatory quarantine (14 day isolation period):

Travellers seeking an exemption must also contact the provincial authority for approval, since the isolation requirement is both federal and provincial jurisdiction.

Provincial rules vary but generally speaking, to request named individuals and/or classes of persons be exempt from the a provincial order, information and plans must be submitted as specified by the provincial medical authority. The information provided will be used to determine if the specified individuals and/or classes of persons satisfy the requirements for an exemption to the provincial order.

An exemption provided by a province will be conditional and will be limited to allowing the person(s) identified in the exemption the ability, within the first 14 days upon entering the province, to travel to and from their accommodation or residence to the work locations where they are performing their essential service work related duties. Where an exempted person during that 14 day period has any symptoms or is confirmed to have COVID-19, the person will be required to quarantine and cease performing their work related duties in accordance with the requirements set out in the provincial order. This type of exemption will not permit the individual to attend recreational activities, formal events or social gatherings until the 14 day period has expired.

More information and the links to the various provincial authorities can be found here.

Anecdotally we have heard about a lot of inconsistency and confusion at ports of entry. Given this, we are advising the Canadian employers of US-citizens to seek both provincial and federal approvals in advance of travel and provide information to both authorities that includes, at minimum:

Point of contact with Canadian entity
Location of worksite(s)
Names of employees or contractors or class of essential service (name, address, contact and phone number while in Canada)
Arrival and departure dates
Rationale for classifying as essential service workers
Corporate Covid-19 plan describing precautions to keep workers safe
Accommodation plan (i.e. at hotel or rental) to ensure travelers necessities and precautions are being met
Travel arrangements to and from Canada and while in Canada, to and from worksite

Once this process is complete, the person can book their trip and ensure they carry proof of the exemptions and all supporting documents to provide to CBSA and PHAC at the airport or land border crossing.

So far, we have received favorable responses from federal and provincial authorities for requests we have made and it seems to make life easier for CBSA if the traveler can provide these documents, which shows, among other things, that they and their employer have turned their minds to where they fall under the exemptions and how public health will not be put at risk if the traveller is not required to quarantine.

To be sure, this two-step approach is a little more red tape than anyone wants to have to deal with. But when Canadian critical infrastructure is at stake, it seems like a reasonable balance between ensuring Canada remains safe and, as much as possible, minimizing the disruptions on products and services that the public depends on.

For more information or to book a consultation on this or any travel-related issue, please contact us.

Arundati Roy is one of my favorite authors. And while, as the uncracked spines of the pile of books on my windowsill attest, my reading over the past while has been profoundly disappointing, I love what she has written about the pandemic.

To be sure, seeing the disruption and devastation the pandemic has caused as a potential “reset” may be a product of wanting (no, needing) to find some clarity in the abyss that has characterized these months. And I can’t be the only one who feels like an utter failure now, compared to when we embarked on this by setting out to read books! Learn Spanish! Connect with our kids (while working and cleaning and cooking)! And raise chickens! Bake bread! And exercise!

I have learned that in a pandemic, perceptions of time shift. Similar to when you have a newborn, the days are long but the months are short.

How things turn quickly and we see how fragile we all really are. And if you choose to ignore it, it hauls off and kicks you right in the pants. Now we are staring in the unblinking eyes of the truth: the privilege of those of us who have it. The marginalization of those who don’t. The horrors of misogynistic mass shootings. The fact of ongoing racist murders of black and indigenous people. The truth is right there now, laid bare (or perhaps exposed?) by the rawness and vulnerability the pandemic has created. How precious life is and how ugly the casualness is of lives that have been damaged and taken.

The old saying If you’re not part of the solution you are part of the problem has never been truer. And none of this is about me, but I know that I have much work to do personally and on behalf of my organization.

My focus now is on rebuilding my business in a way that is conscious of the racial, economic and gender biases that exist in the justice system and private law practice. For too long, I have operated in a happy little bubble that me and my colleagues have created separate from (and to a large degree, in spite of) the traditional law firm mindset. Mostly women, very progressive, lots of pro bono work, cooperation and collaboration. But I don’t think it’s enough. I think that from now on, organizations such as mine must act and react in a way that is more overtly aware of how we got here.

What is this going to look like? I am not sure. On management level, it will at least start with consciously ensuring decisions to engage suppliers and hire are inclusive and diverse. On a client level, we won’t tolerate racism (sounds crazy for an immigration law firm, right? Wrong! It happens all the time). To those clients wishing to move to Canada because “there are too many immigrants in my country”, don’t bother contacting us, we aren’t interested in your business.

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.
Arundati Roy, An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire (2005)

North Star Immigration Law Office Foyer

It’s not business as usual, not even close.

But here at North Star, we’ve been working hard to continue to serve and advise clients as the rules change and shift before our eyes, sometimes mid-sentence. Our national immigration lawyer listserv has been tireless in reacting to the various announcements and guidance like it is in a tennis match: every volley from IRCC/Trudeau/Freeland/Mendicino creates an equally complex set of questions and requests for clarification, which in turn leads to more announcements, which in turn leads to more questions. And at the end of it all, anecdotes abound and inconsistency reigns at ports of entry and overseas airports.

So it was nice to receive an email tonight which is a notice from IRCC to prospective temporary and permanent residents. It attempts to consolidate and explain all the new rules, although I can already see some sections that have caveats or need footnotes and clarification, so that may be a project for the coming days.

I am reproducing it below.

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada / Immigration Réfugiés et Citoyenneté Canada <IRCC.COMMDoNotReply-NePasRepondreCOMM.IRCC@cic.gc.ca>

Wed 2020-04-01 9:46 PM

The Government of Canada is working closely with partners in Canada and around the world, including the World Health Organization (WHO), to respond to the current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

If you are a representative, please let your clients know about this important information.

Effective March 18, 2020, Canada is denying entry to travellers who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada. There are certain exceptions to these restrictions to permit essential travel for temporary foreign workers who have a work permit or who are approved for one.

If you are planning to travel to Canada to work soon, you need to be aware of public health measures in place to limit the spread of the virus in Canada. You also need to know what to expect upon arrival.

When you arrive in Canada, your health will be assessed when you speak to the border services officer. You must isolate for 14 days, even if you have no symptoms. This is mandatory for all travellers, and there are significant penalties for anyone who does not follow this order. Please see New Order Makes Self-Isolation Mandatory for Individuals Entering Canada.

Like many countries, Canada is experiencing significant labour market challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many non-essential businesses are closed, especially in the service industry, or are operating with limited staff. If you have a job with a specific employer, confirm with them that they are continuing to operate and that the job they have hired you for is still needed. If you will be in Canada with an open work permit, it may be very difficult to secure a job at this time.

You must have a plan for how you will self-isolate for 14 days when you get to Canada and how you will obtain medical care if you become sick. While in self-isolation, you will be unable to leave where you are staying for any purpose. If you do not have a plan for self-isolation, including how you will buy groceries and access other essential services, please delay your travel until you have made one.

Before and during your trip,

  • avoid spending time in large crowds or crowded areas
  • avoid contact with sick people, especially if they have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing
  • be aware of the local situation and follow local public health advice
  • be sure to monitor your health, and if you become sick before or during your trip, avoid contact with others except to see a health care professional

If you are travelling by air, you should self-identify to airlines when you are boarding that you are exempt from travel restrictions by presenting

  • a valid work permit, or
  • a port of entry (POE) letter of introduction that shows that you were approved for a work permit, including if you are coming under International Experience Canada

You will need to pass a health check before you’re allowed to board your flight. Anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to travel to Canada. Do not travel to Canada if you feel sick. If you are sick, delay your travel plans until you are feeling well.

When you get to Canada,

  • If you develop symptoms during your flight to Canada, tell a border services officer when you arrive in Canada. This is required under the Quarantine Act (a Canadian law). If you don’t, you could be charged with a crime.
  • If you do not have symptoms but believe you were exposed to someone who was sick with COVID-19, under the Quarantine Act, you must report this to a border services officer when you get to Canada. The border services officer will give you instructions to follow.
  • If you develop a fever, cough or difficulty breathing within 14 days,
    • continue to isolate yourself from others
    • call the public health authority in the province or territory you are in to tell them about your symptoms and travel history
      • They will give advice on what you should do.

While you are working in Canada,

  • Keep monitoring your health for fever, cough or difficulty breathing. If you get sick, avoid contact with others and contact your local public health authority.
  • If you need to apply to extend your work permit, you must do so online. You cannot travel to a POE to get immigration services at this time.
  • If you are laid off or have to take sick leave while working in Canada, you may be eligible to receive employment insurance or other income support benefits from the federal government.

Read the latest travel advice from the Government of Canada on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

There you have it. Straight from the horse’s mouth. For today, anyway.

At North Star Immigration Law, we are making efforts to ensure that our clients and employees are safe, healthy and helping to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus. No one in our Halifax office has travelled by airplane since mid-January and we are all observing the recommendations (social distancing, no handshaking, coughing/sneezing etiquette and hand hygiene) of the Government of Canada.

As of March 15, 2020, our employees will not be available for in-person meetings. We expect this policy to be in place for at least two weeks.

If you have an upcoming in-person meeting scheduled, we will be switching it to a telephone or video conference, or it can be postponed. Clients and couriers can drop documents off or pick documents up, but the front door will be locked so you will have to ring to enter. At this time, we plan to have one person on-site daily to manage mail, courier and deliveries, but the rest of our team will be working remotely.

Fortunately, all our systems are already set up for remote work, including all our files and documents, practice management tools and telephones so we expect any interruption in our business to be minimal.

As the situation is evolving, this policy is subject to change and according to any additional government guidelines and recommendations.  More information can be found on the Government of Canada website.

Thank you for your attention and understanding.

The sentiment may be holiday-induced, but certain passages in Vavilov feel like sips from a cup of fresh eggnog.

The Court’s take on choice of standard may spill the most ink in administrative legal circles. Yet, it is snippets from the Court’s subsequent master class on “Reasonableness & the Culture of Justification” that immigration litigators should hang on their Christmas trees. Some, dare we hope, may become actionable tools for immigration litigators to challenge the vague/perfunctory/boilerplate reasons for refusal that, at times disconcertingly, define our client’s lives.

For instance, when dozens (read: hundreds) of pages of submissions are done away by three-lined reasons in GCMS, with (at-best) life redefining consequences for a client, let us say that our faith in the Decision Maker tends to dwindle.

Well, the Court may have given us hope to believe again:

We discuss a number of elements that will generally be relevant in evaluating whether a given decision is reasonable, namely the governing statutory scheme; other relevant statutory or common law; the principles of statutory interpretation; the evidence before the decision maker and facts of which the decision maker may take notice; the submissions of the parties; the past practices and decisions of the administrative body; and the potential impact of the decision on the individual to whom it applies. (Vavilov, at para 106)

The “potential impact of the decision” on our clients is the raison d’être of our submissions. That both it and our submissions have become standalone elements in the reasonableness analysis is promising.

Still, there remains the (quasi-existential) dread that the inclusion of the phrase “I have considered the evidence before me” could, ipso facto, reasonably efface a hundred pages of submissions. The Court has given us more reasons to hope:

The concept of responsive reasons is inherently bound up with this principle, because reasons are the primary mechanism by which decision makers demonstrate that they have actually listened to the parties. (Ibid, at para 127)

Hold on, does actual listening entail meaningful grappling with the submissions? Well, yes:

[…] a decision maker’s failure to meaningfully grapple with key issues or central arguments raised by the parties may call into question whether the decision maker was actually alert and sensitive to the matter before it”(Ibid, at para 128)

This is progress. Now, on to power dynamics:

Many administrative decision makers are entrusted with an extraordinary degree of power over the lives of ordinary people, including the most vulnerable among us. The corollary to that power is a heightened responsibility on the part of administrative decision makers to ensure that their reasons demonstrate that they have considered the consequences of a decision and that those consequences are justified in light of the facts and law. (Ibid, at para 135)

So with great administrative power comes the great responsibility to demonstrate consideration for its consequences on individual lives? GCMS, meet humanity.

And last, but not least: to all who have had to explain to their clients that twelve or more months of uncertain federal court proceedings could – success notwithstanding – result in a fresh refusal:

An intention that the administrative decision maker decide the matter at first instance cannot give rise to an endless merry-go-round of judicial reviews and subsequent reconsiderations. Declining to remit a matter to the decision maker may be appropriate where it becomes evident to the court, in the course of its review, that a particular outcome is inevitable and that remitting the case would therefore serve no useful purpose. Elements like concern for delay, fairness to the parties, urgency of providing a resolution to the dispute, the nature of the particular regulatory regime, whether the administrative decision maker had a genuine opportunity to weigh in on the issue in question, costs to the parties, and the efficient use of public resources may also influence the exercise of a court’s discretion to remit a matter, just as they may influence the exercise of its discretion to quash a decision that is flawed. (Ibid, at para 142)

The endless merry-go-round of judicial reviews was never fun for anyone. We now have a shot at a ticket to hop off it.

Does this mean that a “win” in court could now, sometimes, mean just that for our clients?

Now there’s a Christmas wish.

PS: The holidays could have had a much sourer taste for our profession.

Picture challenging those three-lined GCMS reasons under Abella and Karakatsanis JJ’s alternative take on the reasonableness standard:

[…] Reasons should be approached generously, on their own terms. Reviewing courts should be hesitant to second-guess operational implications, practical challenges and on-the-ground knowledge used to justify an administrative decision. Reviewing courts must also remain alert to specialized concepts or languageused in an administrative decision that may be unfamiliar to a generalist judge (Newfoundland Nurses, at para. 13; Igloo Vikski, at paras. 17 and 30). When confronted with unfamiliar language or modes of reasoning, judges should acknowledge that such differences are an inevitable, intentional and invaluable by-product of the legislative choice to assign a matter to the administrative system. They may lend considerable force to an administrative decision and, by the same token, render an applicant’s challenge to that decision less compelling.Reviewing courts scrutinizing an administrative body’s decision under the reasonableness framework should therefore keep in mind that the administrative body holds the “interpretative upper hand” (Vavilov, joint concurring reasons of Abella and Karakatsanis JJ, at para 297).

 *shivers*

By Guilhem de Roquefeuil

Apparently time flies when you’re practicing immigration law! We were in Guadeloupe then I blinked and now it’s Halloween.

Nova Scotia continues to chart new territory with new immigration streams such as:

  • Occupations in Demand: truck drivers and nurse’s aides– these are NOC C jobs which normally require 6-months experience with the NS employer before being eligible for the Skilled Worker Stream, which usually meant a LMIA. Now you can apply on the strength of the job offer, no need for the 6 months of work.
  • NS Physician Stream 2.0: You can get PR in about 6 months in the new stream  (versus 2 years in the other one) but to qualify for the new program, physicians need 3 extra things: Educational Credential Assessment, Language Test and a Return of Service Agreement with the provincial health authority (basically saying you’ll stay and practice in NS for a number of years after you become a PR)*
  • What the AIPP? in all this brouhaha about the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, no one is saying anything about why it is so unbelievably slow right now? 4-5 months to get endorsed is commonplace. And the published list of designated employers is probably a real curse to many of them who would rather not be fielding email inquiries every morning to the effect of:

But everyone around here loves AIPP and thinks it’s the greatest thing since the Halifax Wanderers came to town. So far be it for me to whine about it. Ya, it’s awesome, love the 19 simple steps.

Now that the election dust has settled, it’s back to business as usual with the federal immigration programs. A couple of interesting new developments:

  • The new public policy to get around 117(9)(d) for certain individuals is in place until September 2021. This is an excellent idea to counter the brutality of that section of the Regs, where undisclosed (sometimes unknown) family members are subject to a sponsorship bar. We are just starting to prepare applications using this pilot, so are not sure how it will impact ordinary processing times.
  • The new caregiver pilot looks interesting too. This is a recruitment-exempt temporary-to-permanent residence program for in-home caregivers (of children or adults). The less-than-ambitious goal of issuing the work permit within 12 months is a bit concerning, since work permits can be processed within days under other streams.

Over here at North Star, I have these observations:

  • Covered Bridge Salt and Vinegar chips are the official snack of North Star Immigration Law (no, we are not getting paid to say that);
  • Immigration uncertainty can be stressful and difficult even for the most resilient people. To those clients who are struggling with these additional stressors in their lives, know that we are rooting for you;
  • A lot of people find love in Hubbards, NS.

*Hello, Charter, is that you knocking on the Return of Service Agreement door, with a sign saying “um, what about section 6 mobility rights”?  

North Star Immigration Law rented a house in Guadeloupe from late April to early June 2019. Our lawyers took turns going for a week or 2.

It was a small, cute house with good wifi and a nice pool:

The house came with a spectacular cat, one we almost brought home until we realized her hunting passion and prowess would be stifled in our office, since we have no lizards/birds/snails/hermit crabs/bats/moths/you-name-it-she-kills-it:

There was an outdoor trapeze school down the road from the house ( École de Trapeze Volant!):

Guadeloupe, being an overseas French Department, is a really interesting mix of Caribbean/Creole culture and France. Bakeries everywhere. Duck confit, cheap wine and good cheese in the grocery stores. And this, Hibiscus juice, the most spectacular of drinks:

Guadeloupe has a slow-pace, where you have to watch for crab-traffic in parking lots:

And cows on the way to the beach:

Pop-up Law Office, Lessons Learned:

I think it is fair to say, with only a week or 2, and with the beach, sun, cows, crabs and cats to occupy you, it’s hard to get settled and to get any real work done.

I assume everyone does this when their colleagues are on vacation – you try to give them time and space but always end up sheepishly emailing them once or twice, knowing you shouldn’t bother them, but only they have the answer/insight into a question, so maybe if they have a second, no rush, no pressure, they can give you some guidance? The fact that we could email each other while they were in Guadeloupe without feeling totally guilty since it was a “working holiday”, was great. And when it was your turn to be there, there was no expectation to get any massive file work done (except Cam and his PF submission that I’m hoping he at least wrote while sitting on the pool ledge). But an hour or two in the morning of replying to emails and the odd CSE, or giving feedback on something, was all that was needed.

So what did we do?

Sophie went jet skiing (photo pre-jet-ski):

Cam hung out in the rainforest:

Guilhem climbed the volcano:

Lori went to the beach:

And I stayed pretty close to home, this was the walk to the beach behind our house:

Wandering around the capital, Pointe a Pitre is very interesting:

See the artist’s Insta page here and FB page here.

Most of us made it to the ACTe, the International Memorial dedicated to the memory and history of the Slavery Trade. It is such an important place, I wish it was better known, because spending time there is a profound and life-changing experience.

Of everything, the highlight for me on this trip was a song. We were last in Guadeloupe with our kids (ages 5 and 9 at the time) 3 years ago, and we also spent a day at the ACTe. We paired up: my partner took our 9-year-old, and I went with our 5-year-old, Louisa. For the main exhibit, the audio tour is mandatory, even for kids. I remember Louisa and I finished the exhibit first, and as we stepped out into the final corridor, which is a tribute to heroes who have fought against slavery and oppression, the loveliest song started to play. As we stood at the end of the tour waiting, we watched strangers step out into that corridor as the same song started to play in their audio tour. Without exception, everyone started to tap, snap, shake or shimmy to the rhythm of that song. Whether consciously or not, that song makes you dance your way out the door of one of the saddest and most sobering places on earth.

I never found out what the song was, thinking I could find it online.
But of course, I never did.

This time, it was my first question after buying the entrance ticket.

The answer: Miriam Makeba, Pata Pata

 


Lawyers have mandatory continuing professional development but it can start to feel, at least in our office where there is almost constant collaboration, like everything we do is one big professional development session.

Conference? Check.

Lunch and learn? Check.

Networking event? Check.

Consultations with government? Check.

Group yoga? Um, no (but we really wish we were that kind of team).

Pop-up law office on a tropical island? Check.

In January, I sent this email to the lawyers at North Star:

I have been thinking about the idea of a pop up law office for a few years. After all, we are immigration lawyers, so awareness of life in other places gives us perspective and appreciation. Plus, we operate at such a high level in terms of productivity, commitment and output, it’s hard to get away. And when you go away, it’s hard to disconnect.

So, what if North Star created a mini-office in a nice place where lawyers could each spend a week, still connected (somewhat, think 2-3 hours of work a day), bring a friend, and have a common experience? We would not be going together, but we would have a house and rental car for 6 weeks and take turns going.

North Star would pay for the house, car, and round trip airfare. We would ensure the house gets cleaned and linens changed between lawyers, and if the house owner can do anything extra, like bringing fresh bread and coffee in the morning, we could sign on for that too. This would not count as vacation time, but it could be added to a vacation if you would want to be in that area for longer.

There is no shame in not wanting to do this, everyone has their own stuff going on, but all I am asking is to think about it and let me know by Monday if you are in or out. And if you’re in, give me some weeks that would work.

If it works, great, and we would look at doing it again, perhaps for a longer period of time in a year or 2. And I know lawyers are hard to wrangle and get all on the same page, so if it doesn’t work, that’s ok too.

This could be a total crack-pot idea or could be awesome. More likely, it will be fun, interesting and completely imperfect.

Turns out most of us were in.  So North Star Immigration Law, 2019 Guadeloupe Edition is currently underway. Stay tuned for updates.

 

 

Every morning, we wake up to many email inquiries sent from random people, around the world, trying their luck at email-blasting to find a job in Canada. Here are just the re lines from today’s emails:

“Re: Looking for employment : Atlantic immigration pilot program”
“Interested to get job offer for AIPP”
“A Job Offer For Immigration”
“Looking for a job in this beautiful city”
“Want to do job in abroad”

There is nothing special about us to attract these emails and I have no doubt that other immigration lawyers get 10x the number of these inquiries that we do.

We also get a smattering of these types of [despicable!] emails:

“We are one of immigration company in XXXX, China, and these 2 years, we have many customers who want to buy job for NS by AIP or NSDEE program. Could you provide the employer sources to us, and give us a good cooperation price?”

Needless to say, those go directly into the trash can.

And here’s the saddest inquiry of all:

“I am looking for a low level jobs which does not ask for previous working experience because my motive is just to work in Canada and if I survive long then I can apply for PR after 5-years. (I must mention that I have 2 pending legal cases going on here in XXX which are money related legal cases.)”

We rarely, if ever, respond to any of these inquiries. However if I did, this is what I would say:

Thanks for the email. We do not offer a recruitment service to individuals but you can now look at the list of designated employers and if you find one that may be suitable, you can send your CV to them. If they are interested, they will contact you. 

This is the list of designated employers:

https://novascotiaimmigration.com/wp-content/uploads/Designated_AIP_employers.pdf

And this is how you would search to find the contact for the employers on this list:

https://rjsc.gov.ns.ca/rjsc/search/inquiry.do;jsessionid=ymYH4DqhCfiqVpEiOnG16UIzaF-cAtj416_fN1BRDRsfg0dyPiyk!-4748453

Please note that you should not use immigration to Nova Scotia as a way to move to other parts of Canada. In order to apply for this program you must be able to show “settlement intent” to remain in Nova Scotia.

Once you find a job offer, you can hire us for the immigration process.

Over ‘n out.