It is very important to apply for Canadian citizenship as soon as you are able to. Why? Not only does becoming a citizen allow you to vote it also grants you other privileges and protections that being a permanent resident does not.
You can obtain a Canadian passport. Generally speaking, you have more rights as a citizen than you do as a permanent resident. Your children will become eligible for Canadian citizenship even if they are not born in Canada.
If you keep your permanent resident status, then you have to constantly renew it. Your citizenship is something that you do not need to renew. You can check here to determine whether or not you are able to apply for citizenship: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/citizenship/become-eligibility.asp.
You or your spouse is a permanent resident or Canadian citizen and the other is not. You would like to sponsor your spouse or maybe you would like your spouse to sponsor you. Sponsoring your spouse or being sponsored by your spouse is by far one of the easiest ways to immigrate to Canada, but can be complex, costly, and time consuming.
The best thing to do is to start early. You should make sure that you keep physical records of your relationship including photographs. If you are married and living in Canada, it is generally a little bit easier because you will probably already have lots of paperwork and other evidence demonstrating that you are in a serious and long-term relationship. If it is an overseas relationship, then showing Citizenship and Immigration Canada the progressive development of the relationship is important. You should have records that show when you first started communicating and how that eventually progressed to the current day. You can get joint credit cards, name the other as a beneficiary on insurance papers, and keep records of text conversations and emails that are exchanged. You should make sure that your family and friends are aware of the relationship. If you have Facebook or other social media accounts, use it as an opportunity to create a digital record of your relationship that the government can secretly snoop on and confirm that what you say is true.
You could be married or common law and have lived together for at least one year. It really does not make a big difference to the Canadian government. You should have pictures of your anniversary or some proof that you have a day when the relationship became conjugal. This does not mean that you need to send the government X-rated pictures, although if you do you will not be the first ones to do so. People have been known to do so in frustration because they believe that the government is moving too slowly or does not believe the relationship is legitimate. Generally speaking, I doubt that it helps the processing of your files whether or not the pictures may amuse, surprise, or disgust those tasked with reviewing the files.
You have recently been appointed a director of a company or society. Or maybe you signed an agreement that said something about "acting in good faith" or a "duty of good faith". Or maybe you did not see it in an agreement or specifically stated as one of your responsibilities, but you have heard that the law in Canada requires one to act in good faith. The duty of good faith, also known as bona fide in Latin, is one of many very important common law legal principles. It suggests that one should not act in bad faith, but what is the meaning of good faith?
The duty of good faith requires parties to act honestly and fairly. It means that parties need to follow the spirit of the agreement. The duty of good faith applies to many situations, but sometimes in very different ways. A teacher has a duty of good faith to their students and their employer. A businessperson has a duty of good faith to their supplier and their clients. A doctor owes a duty of good faith to their patient. A driver of a car has a duty of good faith to other people on the road.
In summary, it is a requirement in law to act honestly in your contractual dealings with other parties. The failure to act in good faith, contrary to your contractual obligations whether implied or explicit, can result in a court awarding damages to the other party.
You are a new immigrant or maybe you just have had no personal experience with the law in any form and you want to know a little bit about the court system in British Columbia. Perhaps you are planning to sue someone or you are being sued by someone.
Generally speaking, one option for many people will be in the form of a tribunal process. This could be the Immigration and Refugee Board, the Employment Standards Branch, or the BC Human Rights Tribunal. Some tribunals are provincial and some are federal. You can find out more about administrative law and tribunals in BC here: http://www.adminlawbc.ca/tribunals. Tribunals are usually cheaper and easier ways to solve your problems, but they may not be your only options. Sometimes you will have the option of filing your claim in Provincial or Supreme Court of British Columbia instead and sometimes you may appeal the decision of a tribunal to the Supreme Court of British Columbia.
The lowest level court is the Provincial Court in British Columbia. Generally speaking, if your claim is for less than $25,000, then you will probably file in Provincial Court which is also known as small claims. However, there are certain claims under $25,000 that the Provincial Court cannot help you with. The Supreme Court deals with all claims that the Provincial Court cannot and some that it can. Always consult with a lawyer about your options in filing your claim so that you can make the best decision about where to file your claim.
The Court of Appeal in British Columbia is the highest level court in the Province and is one that you are unlikely to interact with. If you are or are wanting to pursue an action in the Court of Appeal, then you should have a lawyer representing you. Arguments in the Court of Appeal are usually highly technical, complex, and based in part on recent or developing case law with which few non-lawyers will have the experience to handle competently.
Clear as mud right? Call a lawyer and save yourself the headache of trying to navigate the legal system alone.
You are interested in immigrating to Canada and you have decided that you would like to try immigrating to British Columbia. Your options will depend on many things, including: your current finances, your marital status, whether or not you have children and how old they are, your willingness to live in a small community compared to a larger city like Vancouver, your education, your work experience, and your skills.
You will have a much easier time immigrating to British Columbia if you are not picky about where you settle in British Columbia. Personally, I love Vancouver Island and there are many beautiful smaller cities that are perfect for starting or growing your family in Canada. Northern British Columbia has excellent options for people with the right skill sets. For some of your options you can check the Government of British Columbia's immigration website here: http://www.welcomebc.ca/Immigrate/Immigrate.aspx.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has created an assessment tool to help you determine whether or not you are eligible to work, study, visit, travel through or live permanently in Canada. You can find the assessment tool here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/ctc-vac/getting-started.asp. You can try this as a first step in the process, but it is a good idea to speak with a lawyer or immigration consultant about your options regardless of the results. The application process can be very long, expensive, and complicated at times. There are many ways that your application for permanent residence can be delayed or rejected and it may take more than one try.
My experience is that people who are determined and willing to move anywhere in the country in order to obtain permanent resident status in Canada are successful. One of the more uncommon options available to some people is an application on humanitarian and compassionate grounds better known as an H & C application. If you think that you may qualify for an H & C application, then I would definitely recommend getting professional help with the application in order to maximize your chance of success.
One important thing to remember, once you obtain your permanent resident status you will need to do certain things in order to keep it. If you do not spend enough time in Canada, then you could lose your permanent resident status. Contact me to find out how you can ensure that you will be able to renew your permanent resident status without any problems.
You are a small or medium sized business person and you are starting or have recently started a new business. You have incorporated, entered into a partnership, or are operating as a sole proprietor. If you have not yet consulted with a lawyer, then it is a good idea to do so as soon as possible. Why? You may be an expert or highly knowledgeable in your area of business, but you might be missing some very important information about the law.
It is always a good idea to have all information about your business, partnership, or sole proprietorship put into one document. This could be your working business plan or just a business information sheet. This way you will have lots of information available and easily accessible when, and not if, you need expert advice or help from other professionals (e.g., an accountant, a lawyer, a website designer).
It is very important to carefully consider all agreements between parties and put these agreements in writing. I always suggest incorporating a clause to encourage parties to communicate any amendments or clarifications to written agreements via pre-approved email addresses. This way you will be able to request changes to agreements as required and have confidence that those changes will be accepted or rejected in a clear and enforceable manner by the other party.
Canada is in the process of accepting ten of thousands of refugees from Syria. These refugees are coming to Canada with permanent resident status which I think is wonderful for those refugees and better for the country. I believe refugees will more quickly adjust to life in Canada when they realize that there is a permanence to their status in Canada. The problem in my mind is: What about all of the other refugees who have to apply for permanent residence, but furthermore have to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars, not including legal fees, to do so?
Is it time for the government to automate the process to becoming a permanent resident for refugees, or more simply, should the government drop the costly application fees for permanent resident applicants that came to Canada as refugees?
One Year Pilot – Issuance of open work permits to applicants for permanent residence under the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class
If you have sponsored your spouse in Canada or have been sponsored and are awaiting an approved in principle decision, then you should read this post.
The government has created a new pilot program to issue work permits to applicants for permanent residence under the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class.
You can find more information about the program by clicking here or by contacting me.
OpenMedia.ca has created a fantastic tool to help you make a request for access to your personal information from Canadian telecom providers. You can take steps to protect yourself from unwanted intrusions into your privacy. This can start with requests for access to your information stored by companies. If you are concerned about protecting your privacy, like many other Canadians, then you can learn more by taking a look at the Fact Sheet: Privacy Legislation in Canada from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
Lately, there has been a lot of media coverage related to Canada's new anti-spam legislation ("CASL") that is beginning to come into effect tomorrow, July 1st, Canada Day! If you want some more information about CASL, you can check out the Canadian government's anti-spam website.
Section 4 of the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act protects consumers from deceptive acts or practices in British Columbia. It is important to note that this Act does not apply to a sale, lease, mortgage of or charge on land. Deceptive acts or practices may be oral, visual, descriptive or take some other form. They may occur before, during or after the consumer transaction.
If you are a business or a consumer, then you should be aware of this Act. If you are concerned about your business' acts or practices or think that someone has violated your consumer rights through a deceptive act or practice, then you should talk to a lawyer. You can also take a look at the Consumer Protection BC website and at the Competition Bureau's website related to Misleading Advertising and Labelling for more information.
There are many ways that a deceptive act or practice may occur. For example, a person may say that a product has sponsorship, approval, performance characteristics, accessories, ingredients, quantities, components, uses or benefits that they do not have. They may say that a product is of a particular standard, quality, grade, style or model that it is not. They may say the product has a particular prior history or usage that it does not have, including a representation that it is new if it is not. They may say that a product is available for a reason that differs from the fact. They may say a product is available, when it is not available as represented. They may say a product is available in quantities greater than is the fact. Or, they may state that a product will be supplied within a stated period, but know or ought to know that the product will not be.
Matthew J. Van Den Hooven
Matthew is a lawyer based in Nanaimo, B.C. Please note that the accuracy of the information in this blog is not guaranteed and that the law does change. It is not a replacement for independent legal advice. Contact Matthew to arrange for an appointment today.