For refugee and immigration lawyers
Stays, cessation, vacation
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) covers up to 15 hours for stays of removal in federal court. In addition, LAO issues certificates for 16 hours, plus attendance, to eligible refugee claimants at risk of losing their status as Convention refugees or people who are in need of protection.
Stay of removal
A stay of removal is an exceptional way to protect a person, usually a failed refugee claimant, facing imminent removal from Canada pursuant to a valid and enforceable deportation order.
A stay can only be requested if there is an underlying application for judicial review already before the federal court. The court may grant a stay until the underlying application before the court is decided.
To be successful, one must satisfy three criteria – it must be a serious issue, there must be irreparable harm, and there must be balance of convenience (relative hardship).
The applicant or counsel can contact LAO via the Client Service Centre. The call will be immediately transferred to an immigration specialist for a timely assessment of the merits.
The Immigration Specialist will facilitate the financial assessment necessary to determine eligibility to speed up the process.
Cessation or vacation
Certain federal government ministers can apply to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) for an order that takes away someone's status as a Convention refugee or person in need of protection as follows:
- The IRB can make a cessation order if it decides that a person does not need refugee protection any longer. This means their application for permanent resident status will not be processed until the IRB has made a decision on the Ministers application.
- The IRB can make a vacation order if it decides that a person got protected person status by “misrepresentation,” i.e., saying something that is not true or leaving out important information in a refugee claim. This means the person could be forced to leave Canada, even if the person has permanent resident status.
LAO is protecting these vulnerable clients through access to legal services in light of recent statements by federal government agencies.
LAO will assess the financial eligibility and merit of cessation or vacation legal aid applications by interviewing clients over the telephone, and issue a certificate to financially eligible applicants with meritorious defenses.
Clients who request this coverage must clearly state that they are applying for “cessation” or “vacation” coverage to ensure that their requests are not mistaken for Basis of Claim certificate requests.
Certificates for stay motions in Federal Court issued on or after June 8, 2015 have increased from 6.5 to 15 hours.