This past Saturday, the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and Osgoode Hall Law School of York University hosted a conference titled "Canada 2020: The future of public interest law." The keynote speech was by prominent immigration lawyer and human rights advocate Barbara Jackman. Jackman has been involved in nearly all of the Supreme Court cases related to non-citizen issues. She references the following milestone cases in her talk:
In 1985 Singh vs. Canada results in a decision that, indeed,non-citizens are entitled to protection under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In addition, the Immigrant and Refugee Board was created. Baker vs. Canada in 1999: the court found that non-citizens who were applying for permanent residency on humanitarian and compassionate grounds are entitled to administrative due process with respect to their applications -- and that reviewers of these cases have to take into account the best interests of children. In 2002, Suresh vs. Canada: the Supreme Court found that in all but the most exceptional circumstances deportation to face torture is unconstitutional. Lastly, Charkaoui vs. Canada of 2007 saw the landmark decision of the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of procedures for determining the reasonableness of a security certificate and for reviewing detention under a certificate. A security certificate is a method in which the government can detain and deport non-citizens living in Canada. Those who are issued these certificates are suspected of violating human rights, having membership with organized crime, or a perceived threat to national security.
While there is cause to celebrate achieved gains in human rights for non-citizens, Barbara Jackman reminds her audience that many of these steps forward have been tainted with some disturbing manipulations.
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