Quebec Immigration Regulations Challenged in Court

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.


  1. Attorney David Cohen has indicated on his website that “a date has been set for the Quebec Superior Court to hear arguments against recent changes to the Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) program. The trial will be held on October 21 and 22, 2014.”… “The case, Stasenko v. MICC et al, challenges the Government of Quebec’s recent decision to retroactively apply changes to the program’s eligibility criteria. The retroactive changes affected many individuals who had already submitted their applications under different criteria.”

    As for the Federal case, Tabingo v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), concerns the decision to eliminate backlogged applications to the Federal Skilled Worker Program. This decision, which was made in 2012, affects almost 300,000 applications, a hearing at the Federal Court of Appeal will take place the week of June 23, 2014.