Friday, March 15, 2019 - 8:30am to Saturday, March 16, 2019 - 2:55pm
J140 Jackman Law Building

On Friday March 15th 2019 the Asper Centre will convene a one-day Immigration Detention Symposium focused on advancing litigation and advocacy strategies to address the challenges within Canada’s immigration detention system. This Symposium will also highlight immigration practitioners’ and civil society’s current advocacy efforts, recommendations and resources for achieving meaningful solutions to the challenges.

See the bottom of the page for the video.

Symposium Objective

The main objective of this Symposium is to bring together the relevant legal, research and advocacy partners who are focused on improving the serious deficiencies in the immigration detention system in Canada. We hope to help highlight some of the important responses and strategies currently being developed and implemented in this area, and that this opportunity for sharing and collaboration will encourage continued strategic litigation collaboration and coordinated advocacy efforts amongst the immigration bar and beyond.

Symposium Schedule (tentative; see panel description and panelists below)

8:30-9:15 Welcome, Coffee, Registration

9:15-11:00 Panel I: Immigration Detention External Audit, IRB and Response Report: Recommendations and Next Steps

11:00-11:15 Coffee/Tea Break

11:15-12:45 PANEL II: Habeas Corpus Best Practices

12:45-1:30 Lunch Break

1:30-3:00 PANEL III: CARL Immigration Detention Booklet and Asper Centre Case-Law Compendium

Symposium Panels

PANEL I: Immigration Detention External Audit, IRB and Audit Response Report: Recommendations and Next Steps

This panel will summarize the IRB’s External Audit, the IRB’s response to the External Audit, as well as the response to the External Audit from a group of members of the immigration bar, researchers, advocates and civil society members, with a view to facilitating a discussion identifying the areas, arguments and cases for possible further litigation and advocacy.

Panelists: Aviva Basman (ADC of the Immigration Division, IRB), Nancy Weisman (Senior Counsel, ID), Katherine Laird (IRB External Audit author), Hanna Gros (International Human Rights Program, UofTLaw), Sarah Boyd (Jackman & Associates), with David Coté (Staff Lawyer, HALCO) moderating

PANEL II: Habeas Corpus Best Practices

While the SCC’s decision in Chhina will provide clarification on the scope of the writ of habeas corpus, this panel will focus on practical strategies for filing habeas corpus claims for immigration detainees. Access and procedure tips, arguments for challenging the lawfulness and reasonableness of a continued deprivation of liberty, arguments in “danger to the public” cases, and how to utilize Section 11 of the Charter will be discussed.

Panelists: Subodh Bharati (Barrister & Solicitor/Review Counsel, Osgoode CLASP), Jared Will (Jared Will & Associates), Swathi Sekhar (Immigration & Refugee Lawyer), with Simon Wallace (Refugee Law Office) moderating

PANEL III: CARL Toolkit and a Compendium of Relevant Case-Law for Immigration Detention Practitioners

The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) has developed an Immigration Detention Toolkit, which it will be launching shortly. This toolkit will help familiarize counsel with the main findings of the IRB’s External Audit and provide tips, steps and suggestions on how counsel can ensure the fairest process possible for our clients. The Toolkit advises how to, among other things:(a) to prepare for a detention review, (b) develop and present alternatives to detention, (c) present and test oral or other kinds of evidence, (d) respond to multiple detention reviews; (e) follow up post-hearing. As well, the Toolkit provides tips on how to work with detainees with mental health issues, addictions and other vulnerabilities.

The IRB’s External Audit confirmed that in many of the Immigration Division’s hearings and decisions, “…there were notable discrepancies between the expectations articulated by the courts and the practice of the Immigration Division.” Three Asper Centre Clinic students who provided research for the drafting of the External Audit Response Report have created a summary of the relevant case law in which the courts articulate what a legally sound and fair immigration hearing should look like. This Compendium of cases, which will serve to complement the CARL toolkit, will also be presented at this panel.

Panelists: Jamie Chai Yun Liew (uOttawa Law Associate Professor, co-leader of CARL working group on Immigration Detention), Aris Daghighian (Green and Spiegel, member of CARL’s Working Group on Immigration Detention), Devon Johnson (JD Candidate UofTLaw and Asper Centre Clinic student), Jim Molos (JD Candidate UofTLaw and Asper Centre Clinic student), with Enbal Singer (3L JD Candidate UTLaw and Asper Centre Immigration & Refugee Law Working Group co-leader) moderating

Note: This program may count for 4.5 substantive hours of Law Society CPD.

Watch the video of the event