On August 8, 2013, we wrote about Quebec’s New Rules and Procedures for the province’s Immigration and Skilled Workers Program and the significant changes to the program’s selection criteria. As indicated by the Quebec government, "All applications will be processed according to the new rules in effect as of August 1, 2013, with the exception of those for which processing began prior to that date."
In other words, these rules were not supposed to apply retroactively to any applications in process prior to August 1. However, according to attorney David Cohen, the new rules were indeed applied to the vast majority of files submitted prior to August 1, which resulted in the disqualification of thousands of applicants. In addition, these applicants will not be refunded their processing fees.
On August 30, 2013, Cohen and co-counsel, Mathieu Bouchard, initiated two separate legal proceedings in Quebec’s Superior Court against the Quebec government and the Minister responsible for Immigration to declare the new regulations null and void because they contend that the government never gave itself the power to enact retroactive regulations in immigration matters. In addition, they are asking for a stay to the retroactive application until a judgment on the merits is made.
The second legal proceeding asks the Quebec Superior Court for certification as a class action for the purpose of seeking reimbursement of government processing fees in the event that the first legal proceedings is not successful.
We will keep you updated of any new developments on these cases.
A similar legal challenge was triggered and heard in Federal Court in January 2013, in relation to the federal government's retroactive application of new immigration rules disqualifying about 280,000 backlog applications that were filed before February 27, 2008. Last April, the Court ruled that the Canadian government was within its rights when it threw out the backlog of applications for the Federal Skilled Worker Program. This case is being appealed.