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Immigration Update

Certain Religious Minority Immigrants No Longer Welcomed In Quebec

BARTLAW authored an article for The Lawyer’s Daily regarding Bill 21.  The government of Québec recently passed Bill 21, “An Act Respecting the Laicity of the State”. The intention of Québec’s Bill 21 is to affirm the laicity, or secularity, of the state. While laicity is an important principle, the principle has historic roots in secular opposition to a unified and powerful religious group wielding significant influence over government. In a multi-religious society such as Canada in 2019, no one religious organization should wield power to such a degree that it threatens the secular nature of the state.

Unfortunately, the religious groups most affected by Québec’s ban on religious symbols including headwear are minority religious groups, such as Sikhs, Jews and Muslims. Rather than protecting the secular state from a dominant religious group, in a multi-religious society strict laicity effectively has the opposite effect, it restricts new Canadians’ freedom of religion.

The Act prohibits various public sector employees from wearing religious symbols, and amends Québec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms to place substantial emphasis on the principle of state laicity over individual rights and freedoms.  The broad ban on the wearing of religious symbols would most certainly be found unconstitutional under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  The Québec government has pre-emptively including language in the Act indicating that the Act applies notwithstanding the federal Charter—a legal position which effectively constitutes an assault on fundamental Canadian rights and freedoms.

For more information, including a copy of the complete article, please read part one of BARTLAW’s two-part series on Bill 21 which was published in The Lawyer’s Daily here: https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/articles/16866/quebec-s-bill-21-restricts-new-canadians-freedom-of-religion?category=analysis.  Part two of BARTLAW’s two-part article will be published in our next newsletter.

Express Entry 

Today, November 27th 2019, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued another round of invitations to apply for permanent residence under the Express Entry system. IRCC issued a total of 3,600 invitations. The minimum score selected in today’s draw was 471, a decrease of one point from last week’s draw.

In the month of November, we have seen some of the highest minimum scores selected so far in the 2019 year. IRCC indicates there are 14,915 applicants in the Express Entry pool with scores between 451-600 as of November 23rd 2019, up from 14,180 when data was last released on November 8th 2019. Given the increasing number of high-skilled candidates interested in applying through Express Entry, we anticipate that minimum scores selected will remain high into December 2019.

Appointment of Marco Mendicino as the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

On November 20, 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his new cabinet following the October 2019 election. As part of this new cabinet, he has appointed Marco Mendicino, member of Parliament representing the riding of Eglinton-Lawrence, as the new Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Mr. Mendicino has previously served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. Prior to his career in politics, Mr. Mendicino was a federal prosecutor for approximately 10 years, worked at the Law Society of Upper Canada, and served as the President of the Association of Justice Counsel for two terms. He also co-owned Ellis Mendicino, a boutique law firm that helps organize professional standards and resolve workplace conflicts, and has been an Adjunct Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School.

Mr. Mendicino is replacing Ahmed Hussen, who has served as the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada since 2017. Mr. Hussen has been appointed as the new Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

For more information about Canadian immigration, please contact our office.