Immigration in the Age of COVID-19

Author/ Joel Sandaluk


For the past several weeks, the COVID-19 global pandemic has left the world reeling. Ordinarily reliable government institutions and agencies have had a very difficult time adjusting to the disruption caused by the pandemic.

For many individuals and businesses, this disruption has been disastrous. Global travel has been limited, productivity has been compromised, and the ability of people to live and work in the manner in which they are accustomed has changed completely. For many people, the Novel Coronavirus is an obstacle to be overcome. To people facing immigration enforcement proceedings however, this represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to resolve their immigration matters favourably.

As an immigration and refugee lawyer, I have spent the past 20 years meeting with people who are subject of immigration enforcement action or who had been living underground on almost a daily basis. Many have warrants for their arrest.

One of the effects of the disruption is that the agencies that enforce immigration laws are disrupted as well.  This makes it less likely that an individual will be arrested and detained and also likely that they will be deported from Canada during the time of the disruption. Canada has already announced a brief “pause” on the execution of removal orders since it is not at this point clear when the execution of these orders will resume, though that they will resume at some point is certain.

During this disruption of immigration enforcement, people who are living in the margins of Canadian society either because they are undocumented or inadmissible in some way will have a brief but important opportunity to apply for relief from the immigration laws which would ordinarily result in their deportation.

For people who face this risk, the global pandemic represents an extraordinary opportunity to submit an application for special relief and ensure that the application is before the Minister where it can be considered at the same time that the Canada Border Services Agency continues to struggle with the disruption that the pandemic has caused.

Please contact us if you believe that the current global pandemic has provided you with an opportunity to seek relief that might not have previously been forthcoming.

We want to help you.



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