Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

Family reunification in Qué bec: towards an appeal in 2024

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The Minister of Immigration, Francisation and Integration of Quebec, Christine Fréchette, refuses to revise upwards her target for admissions to family reunification.

  • Alexandre Duval (View profile)Alexandre Duval

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The exploding delays in terms of family reunification in Quebec are becoming a political hot potato. After the formal notice sent last week to the Quebec Minister of Immigration, Christine Fréchette, and to her federal counterpart, Marc Miller, Radio-Canada has learned that a legal appeal is being prepared and could be filed with the Court federal government in early 2024.

According to our information, this would be an appeal for mandamus, an extraordinary procedure during which a higher court can order a lower authority to exercise its jurisdiction.

The appeal would bring together the files of around twenty Quebecers who consider the delays they face before being able to be reunited with their spouse of foreign origin to be unreasonable.

If the Federal Court were to agree with them, it could then force Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to finalize the processing of these files, which could then set a precedent for thousands of other similar cases.

The Québec Reunified group, which is at the origin of the approach, did not want to confirm our information.

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I am not able to comment specifically on what recourse we will use from January, indicates one of the administrators of Québec Réunifie, Laurianne Lachapelle, herself awaiting family reunification with a Guatemalan whom she married recently. two years ago.

What I can say is that we plan several legal actions and work with different law firms.

A quote from Laurianne Lachapelle, administrator of Québec Réunifie

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Laurianne Lachapelle and her husband of Guatemalan origin

Currently, nearly 40,000 family reunification files are pending in Quebec. Some cases also concern children. However, the Legault government has set a maximum threshold of approximately 10,400 admissions per year in this immigration category.

This imbalance between supply and demand creates a traffic jam and explodes processing times. A Quebecer who is waiting to be reunited with a spouse who lives in another country must wait on average 42 months, compared to only 12 months for other Canadians.

We tried, in several possible ways, to work hand in hand with the different governments, to offer them solutions. We know that there is a closure on their side in moving the thresholds or in moving forward the files that are pending, laments Ms. Lachapelle.

The only recourse available to us is to seek legal recourse, because we judge that our rights are being violated as families. If you knew the psychological distress that our members are currently experiencing; it's very alarming.

A quote from Laurianne Lachapelle, administrator of Québec Réunifie

Quebec's move comes shortly after provincial Immigration Minister Christine Fréchette and her federal counterpart, Marc Miller, received a formal notice ordering them to resolve in 60 days or less the problem of files that exceed the deadline in the rest of Canada.

If Quebec refuses to revise its family reunification quotas or if Ottawa persists in respecting them, the lawyer at the origin of the formal notice, promises to also turn to the courts.

The two cases could therefore be brought to court at approximately the same time, which is not problematic in the eyes of Laurianne Lachapelle.

We are very pleased that there are other stakeholders in the immigration law community who are taking legal action; we think it's the right thing to do. So much the better if it comes out sooner. Our goal is to advance the cause.

A quote from Laurianne Lachapelle, administrator of Québec Réunifie

Ms. Lachapelle adds that Québec Réunifie is also taking steps to become a non-profit organization, in order to to be able to financially support families who suffer the consequences of long delays.

Last week, Radio-Canada revealed that federal Minister Marc Miller had recently put pressure on the Legault government to revise its quotas for family reunification, but Minister Fréchette closed the door to this.

However, many immigration lawyers are of the opinion that Ottawa is also part of the problem since it is responsible for admitting immigrants into the category family reunification. Consequently, IRCC would not have to respect the limits set by Quebec.

  • Alexandre Duval (View profile)Alexandre DuvalFollow

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