General Questions

There are two ways in which you may arrange for a consultation with us:

  • Call us at 1-800-579-7009 (toll free) or 613-695-4529 (collect); or,
  • Use the consultation page of our website to send us a message providing a brief description of why you need a consultation.

A retainer is a fee that ensures we will keep time available for our client during the retainer period, for the services we have been hired to complete.  Before we begin work on your behalf, we require full payment of the retainer, which will be placed in our trust account.  The retainer will serve as a source of payment for all or part of our account(s) when rendered. You will be asked to replenish the retainer in accordance with our retainer agreement and any unused portion will be returned to you upon the completion or termination of our services.

Our fee will be based on a number of factors including:

  • The services that will be required for the work in question (application, appeal, etc).;
  • The amount of time and effort required and spent to complete the legal services;
  • The complexity of the case; and,
  • Whether a hearing before a Tribunal or Court will be required.

We will keep records of all the time we spend on your file, based on which we will prepare your accounts. We will discuss your fees at our initial meeting and answer any questions you may have concerning our fees and billing procedures. We will also point out any uncertainties involved in your case to assist you with making an informed decision.

The Retainer Agreement is a contract between our firm and our client (s), setting out the following details:

  • A brief summary of your case;
  • A description of the legal services we will be providing you;
  • The precise scope of the legal services we will be offering and your desired outcome;
  • A description of the duty of candour owed to immigration authorities;
  • The lawyers that will be working on your case;
  • Our fee and disbursement arrangement (hourly or block fee) and billing format;
  • Accounts and payment arrangements;
  • A statement on recourse options, appeals or judicial review;
  • A statement on the ethical duties of lawyers;
  • Our document retention policies;
  • Our communication, interpretation and confidentiality policies;
  • The law that governs the agreement and our dispute resolution policy; and
  • A description of role and your role throughout the process.

We accept the following methods of payment:

  • EMT (please send your payment to [email protected], and provide additional information with respect to who this payment is for)
  • PayPal (you can also send PayPal funds to [email protected])
  • Interac (in person)
  • Visa or Mastercard (in person or remotely via a credit card authorization form)
  • Personal cheque (can be mailed)
  • Certified cheque (can be mailed)
  • Money order (can be mailed)

Lawyers owe the duty of confidentiality to all of their clients. This duty survives their professional relationship and continues indefinitely after the lawyer has ceased to act for the client. It is recognized that full and unreserved communication between the client and lawyer is required for the provision of effective legal services. As such, clients can feel completely secure and proceed on the basis that matters disclosed or discussed with their lawyer will be held in strict confidence, unless the client provides express or implied authorization or the lawyer is required by law to do otherwise.

Lawyers have the duty to raise every issue, advance every argument and ask every question that they believe could potentially help their client’s case with candour, courtesy and fairness, and to seek every remedy and defence that is authorized by law for their client.

At a Consultation with one of our lawyers, we will ask you to explain why you need our assistance.  We will begin by carefully listening to you to understand the facts of your case.  We will ask you a number of questions to flesh out the legal issues that may arise from your matter in order to determine the best strategy to address your concerns.  Once we have the necessary details, we will put forth a realistic assessment of your options in order to resolve your matter.  It may be necessary for our lawyers to do additional research in order to better serve your needs and to provide you a more comprehensive legal advice.  A consultation is simply the first meeting with us and if you decide to retain our services, we will outline, in detail, the work that we will be completing on your behalf.

Permanent Residency Questions

Canada is well known for its openness and cultural diversity. The Canadian government aims to welcome about 310,000 new permanent residents in 2018 and the goal has been set to 330,000 in 2019 and 340,000 2020.

There are several reasons to consider immigrating to Canada, including the following:

  • Canada is a democratic country with a high standard of living;
  • Canada’s universal health care and publicly-funded education systems are among the best in the world;
  • Canada has many international cultural, ethnic and religious communities to support newcomers with their adjustment to life in Canada; and
  • Canada’s immigration policies are very positive and supportive.

A permanent resident is a non-Canadian citizen who has been given permanent resident status that allows him or her right to live in Canada on permanent basis.

A person who lives in Canada on a temporary basis, like a student or a foreign worker, is not a permanent resident.

A foreigner who has become a permanent resident has the following rights:

  • He/she can live, work or study anywhere in Canada;
  • He/she is  tuition-exempt for primary and secondary education institutions and entitled to most available social benefits, including health care coverage;
  • He/she is protected under Canadian law, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; and
  • He/she can apply for Canadian citizenship.

Permanent residents and Canadian citizens have the right to live, work and study anywhere in Canada. Both are entitled to universal health care and free education. They also must to pay taxes.

Canadian citizens have more rights than permanent residents. While a permanent resident has no right to vote or to hold a Canadian passport, Canadian citizens enjoy all rights and freedoms, including the right to participate in political activities and run for political office.

There are also important differences between permanent residents and Canadian citizens for example with respect to criminal inadmissibility. You can read more about this under the question: What are my options for coming to Canada if I have been convicted of crime?

To immigrate to Canada on a permanent basis, a foreigner may apply under the following programs:

  • Express Entry (Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program and Canadian Experience Class)
  • Quebec-selected skilled worker
  • Start-up visa, Investors and self-employed
  • Provincial Nominee Program
  • Family sponsorship
  • Provincial nominees program
  • Atlantic Immigration Pilot
  • Caregiver Programs
  • Refugee

Federal skilled workers are foreigners who become permanent residents based on their ability to settle in Canada and to contribute to Canada’s economy. They are assessed on their:

  • English and/or French skills,
  • Education,
  • Work experience, and
  • Other factors that show they will prosper in Canada.

To be eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker program, you must have:

  • Valid third-party language test results, Educational credential assessments for any foreign educational credentials, and
  • At least a year of full-time experience in an eligible skilled field

You must score at least 67 points or higher out of 100. 64 out of the 100 available points are attributed to you language skills, education and work experience described above. You can score additional points based on::

  • Whether you have an offer of arranged employment;
  • your second official language skills;
  • your age; and
  • your adaptability

When applying for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker or Federal Skilled Trades programs, you must show that you have enough money to support yourself and your family in Canada. You cannot borrow this money from another person. You must be able to use this money to pay all living costs for your family (even if they are not coming with you).*[1]

The amount of money you need to support your family is set by the size of your family. Citizenship Immigration Canada (CIC) updates these amounts every year.*[2]

Number of Family Members Funds Required (in Canadian dollars)
1 $12,475
2 $15,531
3 $19,093
4 $23,181
5 $26,292
6 $29,652
7 or more $33,014
For each additional family member $3,361

[1] Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website:

[2] Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website:

The Federal Skilled Trade Program is a program that allows a foreigner to become a permanent resident based on working experience in a specific skilled trade.

Skilled trades currently eligible for the Federal Skilled Trade program are organized under major groups in the National Occupation Classification (NOC):

  • Major Group 72, industrial, electrical and construction trades,
  • Major Group 73, maintenance and equipment operation trades,
  • Major Group 82, supervisions and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production, and
  • Major Group 92, processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators.[1]
  • Minor Group 632, chefs and cooks, and
  • Minor Group 633, butchers and bakers

[1] Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website:

To apply under skilled trade program, you must:

  • Plan to live outside the province of Quebec,
  • Meet language requirements in English or French,
  • Have at least two years of full-time work experience in a skilled trade,
  • Meet all job requirements for the skilled trade as set out in the National Occupation Classification, and
  • Have a certificate of qualification in the skilled trade you applied for or an offer of full-time employment for at least one year in that trade.

Quebec has a separate immigration process for foreign nationals seeking to immigrate to Canada as skilled workers. The Federal government has concluded an agreement with Quebec which allows the province to select its own skilled workers. A foreign national who wants to apply under the skilled worker program and intends to live in Quebec must first apply to the Quebec government for a certificate of selection (Certificat de Sélection du Québec). This certificate shows that Quebec has accepted the foreign national as an immigrant. After the foreign national receives a certificate of selection, he/she must then apply to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada for permanent residence.

To apply under the Canadian Experience Class, you must:

  • Plan to live outside the province of Quebec,
  • Have at least 12 months of full-time (or equivalent part-time) skilled work experience in Canada in the three years before you apply,
  • Have legally worked and gained experience in Canada, and
  • Satisfy the language requirements.

Individuals, who apply as self-employed business people, must demonstrate relevant experience in cultural activities, athletics, or farm management.

The Family Sponsorship Program allows Canadian citizens, persons registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act and permanent residents to sponsor their spouse, partner, dependent children, parents, orphaned minor nieces and nephews to immigrate to Canada as permanent residents.

Canada’s provinces and territories can nominate foreigners to immigrate to Canada by considering their abilities to contribute to the economy of the province. To qualify under this program, a foreigner must possess required skills, education, and work experience.

Before applying to Citizenship and Immigration Canada to become a permanent resident of Canada, a foreigner must first be nominated by a specific Canadian province or territory.

You can read more about this program on our website.

All provinces of Canada are part of the Provincial Nominee program except Quebec.

Quebec is the only province that has the authority to determine the selection of individuals without participating in the Provincial Nominee Program.

A police Certificate is a copy of your criminal record that is used to make sure that you are not a security risk to Canada.

If you want to immigrate to Canada, you and your family members must include a police certificate when you apply. If you are a student or a temporary foreign worker, a visa office may also ask you for a police certificate.

To get a police certificate, you may have to:

  • Provide information or documents, such as photographs, fingerprints, or your current and past address and dates that you lived in the country or territory, and
  • Pay a fee.

In general, all immigration applicants who are 18 or older need to submit a police certificate with their application. You must get one from each country or territory where you have lived for six (6) months or more since the age of 18. If you are currently living in the country, the certificate cannot be issued more than six months before you apply. If you have lived in the country in the past, the police certificate must have been issued after you last lived there.

Under Canada’s immigration law, if you have committed or been convicted of a crime, you may not be allowed into Canada. In other words, you may be “criminally inadmissible”.

This includes both minor and serious crimes, such as:

  • Theft,
  • Assault,
  • Manslaughter
  • Dangerous driving,
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and
  • Possession of or trafficking in drugs or controlled substances.

Be aware of the fact that a Canadian immigration officer will decide if you can enter Canada when you apply for a visa, or when you arrive at a port of entry.*[1]


[1] Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website:

Depending on the crime, how long ago it was and how you have behaved since, you may still be able to come to Canada, if you:

  • Demonstrate that you are deemed rehabilitated,
  • Applied for rehabilitation and were approved, or
  • Were granted a record suspension or have a temporarily resident permit.

Generally, no medical examination is required for a visit to Canada that is six (6) months or less. However, a medical examination is required if you intend to work in an occupation in which the protection of public health is essential.

If the duration of your visit is more than six (6) months, you may require a medical examination. For example, a medical examination is required in the following situations:

  • You have resided or stayed temporarily for six or more consecutive months in a designated country or territory in the year immediately preceding your entry to Canada. This applies even if you are a citizen of a country where you do not require a visa to enter Canada.
  • You are coming to Canada to work in an occupation in which the protection of public health is essential.
  • You are applying for a Parent and Grandparent Super Visa.

Your medical exam results are valid for 12 months. If you intend to come to Canada 12 months after receiving your medical exam results, you may be asked to complete another exam.

If the disease or disorder poses health risks to Canadians or places excessive demands on the Canadian health care or social services system, it may result in medical inadmissibility.

Temporary Residency Questions

Depending on the type of application you are interested in applying for there are different processing centres.

Federal Skilled Worker Applications, Canadian Experience Class Applications, Federal Trades Worker Applications are now processed through the Express Entry program, so they begin with an online application.

For family sponsorship applications, the first step is to submit your application as a sponsor to be evaluated to the CPC in Mississauga Ontario.

Provincial Nominee Programs must be submitted to the province for which you are applying.

It is very difficult to predict processing times. They vary depending on the type of application you submit and the number of applications currently being processed, as the number of applications Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and Immigration Canada receives may impact the processing time of your application.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada provides estimates of processing times for certain applications:

Temporary Residents are foreign nationals who wish to work, study, or visit Canada on a temporary basis. Temporary Residents must meet certain criteria, procedures and rules before and after they arrive to Canada.

You can become a Temporary Resident if you are accepted to come to Canada with a Visitor Visa, Student Visa, Work Permit, or if you come from a visa exempt country, upon your arrival at the port of entry. The officer must be satisfied that you intend to leave Canada by the end of your authorized period.

An Electronic Travel Authoritzation (eTA) is required for foreign nationals from visa-exempt countries to enter Canada when travelling by air. An eTA is electronically linked to the foreign national’s passport and valid for up to five years or until the passport expires. An eTA does not guarantee entry to Canada and does not apply to travellers arriving in Canada not by air.

Anyone planning to study for more than six months in Canada needs a Study Permit. If you plan to study for less than six months but may decide to stay longer, you should apply for a Study Permit before coming to Canada for your studies.

Eligibility requirements apply to everyone who wishes to study in Canada, whether or not you need a study permit. To study in Canada, you must:

  • Have an acceptance letter from a designated learning institution in Canada
  • Have a valid passport or travel document
  • Prove that you have enough money to pay for your:
    • Tuition fees
    • Living expenses for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada and
    • Return transportation for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada
  • Be a law-abiding citizen with no criminal record and not a risk to the security of Canada (you may have to provide a police certificate)
  • Be in good health and willing to complete a medical examination, if necessary
  • You must satisfy the immigration officer assessing your application that you will leave Canada at the end of your authorized stay*[1]

[1] Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website:

You can prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself in Canada by showing some of the following

  • Proof of a Canadian bank account in your name
  • A Guaranteed Investment Certificate from a Canadian financial institution
  • Proof of a student /education loan from a financial institution
  • Your bank statements for the past four months
  • A bank draft in convertible currency
  • Proof of payment of tuition and accommodation fees
  • A letter from an individual or institution providing you financial support
  • If you have a scholarship or are in a Canadian-funded program, proof of funding from within Canada

The following table shows the minimum amounts that you will need.[1]

Number of persons All provinces except Quebec Quebec
Single student Tuition plus 10,000 for a 12-month period (or $833 per month) Tuition plus 11,000for a 12-month period (or $917 per month)
+one family member $4,000 for a 12-month period (or $333 per month)
  • $5,100 more for a person 18 years of age or older for a 12-month period ( or $425 per month)
  • $3,800 more for a person under 18 years of age for a 12-month period (or $317 per month)
+each additional family member $3,000 for a 12-month period per dependent child of any age (or 255 per month)
  • $5,125 more for a person 18 years of age or older for a 12-month period (or427 per month)
  • $1,903 more for a person under 18 years of age for a 12-month period (or $159 per month)

[1] Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website:

A study permit is valid until its expiry date. This date could be:

  • the length of your program, plus 90 extra days;
  • the length of your pre-requisite courses, plus 90 days if you were conditionally accepted by your school; or
  • the expiry date of your passport, minus 30 days, if you passport will expire prior to the end of your student.

If you finish your studies earlier than expected, your study permit expires 90 days after the date you complete your studies, regardless of the expiry date on your study permit.

If you need more time to finish your studies, you can apply to extend your study permit. Study permit extension applications must be made at least 30 days before the original study permit expires. [1]


[1] Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website:

In most cases, you do not require a work permit to work while you are studying.

If you have a valid study permit, you may be able work off-campus without a work permit. You must have a social insurance number, be a full-time student at a designated learning institution, have started studying, be in a program that is at least six months in duration and the program must lead to a degree, diploma or certificate, with some exceptions. If you qualify to work off-campus, you can work up to 20 hours per week, with some exceptions. [1]

If you have a valid study permit and a social insurance number, you may be able to work on-campus without a work permit, with some exceptions.

[1] Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website:

A post-graduation work permit may be valid anywhere from eight months to three years, depending on the length of the program of study completed in Canada. The permit cannot be valid for longer than the length of the program of study. For example:

  • If you complete a nine-month certificate program, you may be eligible for a nine-month work permit.
  • If you complete a four-year degree program, you may be eligible for a three-year work permit, if you meet program requirements.

Refugee Questions

Refugees and persons in need of protection are people who cannot live in their country of citizenship because of a risk of persecution. According to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, a refugee is a person who, by reason of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion:

  • is outside each of their countries of nationality and is unable or, by reason of that fear, unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of each of those countries; or
  • not having a country of nationality, is outside the country of their former habitual residence and is unable or, by reason of that fear, unwilling to return to that country.

Canada also has an international obligation under the Refugee Protocol to provide safety and protection to refugee claimants who fall under this immigration category.

For more information, visit our website.

If you are coming from abroad, you may apply for refugee status at any port of entry, such as an airport, seaport or land border. You will make you claim to an officer who will decide if your claim is eligible. If eligible, the claim will be referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.

If you are making your claim while living in Canada, you can do so at one of the designated Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada offices.