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Canadian Supreme Court updates process for making a reasonable decision on immigration applications

Because it was learned that his parents were Russian agents, the citizenship certificate of a person who was born a Canadian had to be revoked. The Canadian Supreme Court of Canada heard an appeal involving the Canadian Registrar of Citizenship’s judgement, and there was a discussion over the appropriate level of scrutiny for administrative decisions. In particular, the case assists the Canadian government in establishing guidelines, policies, and procedures for officers of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to employ when making an administrative judge in order to guarantee that the most logical and equitable choice is chosen. Alexander Vavilov was born in Toronto to parents who, it was later discovered, were Russian spies for the Russian foreign intelligence service operating under false names. Nothing about this was known to Alexander. He thought he was a naturalised Canadian citizen with a Canadian passport.

Alexander’s parents were detained and accused of spying in the US in 2010. They were sent to Russia after entering a guilty plea. The Canadian Registrar of Citizenship revoked Vavilov’s citizenship after it was learned who his real parents were. Offspring of “diplomatic or consular officers or other representatives or employees in Canada of a foreign government” are not eligible for citizenship under the Citizenship Act, which is an exception to the usual norm that children of foreign officials are not eligible for citizenship. The matter was taken to the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled in Vavilov’s favour, finding that the Registrar’s decision was irrational and allowing him to reclaim his Canadian citizenship. By doing this, the court created a new standard of review for administrative law in Canada.

The decisions made by officers of the border, immigration, and citizenship services are administrative decisions and are therefore open to judicial scrutiny. The degree of deference that a court of law should show toward a decision is referred to as the standard of review for these kinds of decisions. The Vavilov case established that the standard of review for all administrative judgments is one of “reasonability.” A court must take into account both the result of a decision and the reasoning behind it.

When the court can comprehend the decision maker’s rationale and reasoning in reaching their conclusion, the decision is deemed reasonable. A judgement must be supported by clear reasoning and justified in light of the circumstances under which it was made as well as the law. To ensure that they are making decisions regarding any immigration application that are reasonable, an officer must adhere to a set of procedures.

  • Determine the conditions that must be met for the particular application type. These legal requirements can be split down into particular components that are backed up by data.
  • Determine the evidence-requiring facts that are relevant to the current choice. An applicant can establish a fact by providing sufficient evidence to make the officer think it is likely. An officer may claim that a fact has not been proven if the evidence does not convince them that the fact is likely.
  • Use the proper standard of evidence. Since immigration determinations are civil in nature, the burden of proof is on the proponent to establish the facts with a preponderance of the evidence. Something must be more probable than not to be true in order for it to be proven on a balance of probability (more than 50 percent ). To establish whether the standard of proof has been satisfied, officers must assess and evaluate the evidence offered for each element.
  • Find the pertinent supporting evidence for the assertion that needs to be made. This may take the form of verbal, visual, or documentary proof. The applicant is responsible for submitting adequate evidence to convince the decision maker that the requirements have been met. Any pertinent evidence must be taken into account during the decision-making process.
  • Examine the evidence’s plausibility and dependability to determine its credibility. Unless there is strong evidence to the contrary, the applicant’s facts and evidence are presumed to be truthful.
  • By evaluating the evidence’s ability to establish the fact that has to be demonstrated, one can determine the probative value of the evidence. Evidence that is certain, evident, and likely is given more weight. Speculation shouldn’t be taken seriously.
  • Assess the evidence to see if it is sufficient. The officer can decide if the evidence supports a conclusion that is more likely than not.
  • Decide and document your choice. An officer may approve the application if all of the conditions are supported by credible and convincing evidence.
Jasmine Kaur
Author: Jasmine Kaur

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