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We publish a number of articles on specific topics of interest to our clients and keep you informed of developments in civil, criminal & immigration law in our resources.






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  • How do I immigrate to Canada ?
    Immigration to Canada can be done only if you can qualify under one of the existing immigration categories. These categories are loosely separated into two types: permanent residence applications and temporary residence applications. Those who wish to live in Canada permanently should apply under one of the permanent residence categories, and those who only want to remain in Canada for a temporary period of time should apply under the temporary residence categories. For those who wish to obtain permanent residence in Canada, the main categories are the Skilled Worker Category, the Family Sponsorship Category, and the Provincial Nominee Category. The Skilled Worker category allows people who have a high level of education, skilled work experience, and English or French language skills to apply directly for immigration to Canada, even if they are not living in Canada. A variation of this is the Canadian Experience Class, which allows foreign workers who are working in Canada to apply for permanent residence. The Family Sponsorship category allows Canadian citizens or permanent residents to sponsor their close family members for permanent residence in Canada, including their spouses, partners, children, and parents. Each province of Canada also has its own small immigration program and may nominate potential immigrants based on their own provincial criteria. Those who wish to only enter Canada for a temporary period of time may apply for a visitor visa, a study permit, or a work permit. As the names imply, visitor visas are for those who wish to enter Canada as tourists, study permits are for those who have gained acceptance into a school program and wish to study in Canada, and work permits are for those who have obtained a job offer from a Canadian company and need legal permission to work in Canada. If you know which type and category of application you wish to apply under, you can then gather information to determine if you qualify to make an application. If you do believe that you are qualified, you can contact our office to assist you to prepare and file your application. This explains the basics of how to apply for immigration to Canada. To learn more about the various categories available, please review our website, which provides detailed explanations of each category of immigration to Canada.
  • How long does the immigration process take ?
    Applying for immigration to Canada can be lengthy process, but it really depends on what type of application you are making, and where that application is going to be processed. For those who wish to apply for permanent residence, for example through the family sponsorship or skilled worker categories, processing times of at least one year from the time the application is filed should be expected. This is especially so if the application will be processed at a visa office at a Canadian embassy or consulate outside of Canada. Visa offices often become backlogged resulting in lengthy processing times for more complex applications. In contrast, those applying for temporary visas such as visitor visas, study permits, or work permits can expect relatively short processing times of a few weeks to three or four months for a routine application. In-Canada applications for permanent resident card renewals can usually be completed in three to six months, but complex cases such as applications to renew the card on humanitarian grounds can become delayed for months and take more than a year to process. Similarly, citizenship applications may proceed fairly quickly if they are routine but complicated cases may become delayed for extended periods. Appeal matters depend on the type of appeal and the court that is being appealed to. Appeals to the Federal Court can usually be completed in about six months to one year, while appeals to the Immigration Appeal Division may be done quickly within a few months but can sometimes take more than two years to complete. Before you begin an immigration application you can check the expected processing time either by asking your representative, or by checking the website of the relevant immigration office. It should be noted however that processing times fluctuate depending on various factors including the workload of the particular immigration office and their current processing priorities, the complexity and completeness of the application submitted, and the timeliness of responses to requests for more information. As a result of these factors, it is rarely possible to predict exactly how long an application will take to process.
  • Do I need a lawyer to immigrate to Canada ?
    It is not a requirement of the Canadian immigration authorities to have a lawyer to represent you for purposes of making a visa application or otherwise dealing with the immigration authorities, however, it is generally advisable to use a lawyer, and in some cases it is strongly recommended. Immigration applications have legal implications. They are an application to the Canadian government for a type of status in Canada, and the Canadian immigration authorities are very strict in their assessment of these applications. Even a simple unintentional error can have very serious repercussions that can cause a great deal of trouble to the unwitting self-represented immigration applicant. What might seem to be a small, unimportant mistake can put you and your entire family’s future at risk. The benefit of using a lawyer is that they have years of legal training and experience and understand exactly what the immigration authorities require in each different type of case. A lawyer will ensure that your information is provided accurately to ensure that there are no misunderstandings, and will help you to obtain all necessary supporting documentation to best support your case. Lawyers know which type of application is right for you and how to best present your case and will guide you safely through the process. With so much at stake for you and your family, why would you plan for the future with anything less than a fully qualified and trained professional ? While lawyers do not work for free and legal representation can be costly, the fees involved should be considered as an investment in your future, to ensure as best you can that your immigration dreams come true. Those who try to do it on their own, or use the assistance of a friend or amateur to prepare their immigration application, will all too often come to regret their casual approach to the immigration process. While a lawyer can try to help you once you or your amateur representative land in trouble with the immigration authorities, sadly all too often the damage has been done and cannot be repaired. Therefore, legal representation is generally recommended, and in complex cases or litigation matters, strongly recommended if you want your case to succeed.
  • What is your success rate ?
    Byogolegal only accepts cases that we believe are likely to succeed. We pre-screen our clients’ cases through various means, including website assessment forms, email questionnaires, and in-person consultations. If we don’t think your case will win, we will let you know that. We won’t waste your time and money making a pointless immigration application. For those client cases that we do take on, we will do our best to ensure success. No effort will be spared to take care of even the smallest details of your case to make sure that everything is done properly and proceeds expeditiously. While we can never guarantee the success of an application, overall we have an excellent success rate, and the vast majority of our clients obtain the result that they are seeking. Of course, every case depends on its individual facts. No two cases are exactly the same. In some cases the facts are such that the case should clearly succeed, in others this is far more uncertain. We will tell you exactly what we think of the facts of your case before you retain our services, so that you are informed of the chances of success based on your own factual situation. The chance of success also depends on the type of immigration application you require assistance with. Some applications are relatively straight-forward, while others are far more complicated. For example, the outcome of applications for permanent residence under the skilled worker categories are relatively easy to predict, whereas immigration appeals before the courts are complex matters and the ability to predict the outcome is less certain due to the highly discretionary element of a judge’s opinion of the matter. In any case, whether the matter is simple and straight-forward, or complex and discretionary, your chances of success will improve dramatically by using the services of our office. Due to our many years of experience with all aspects of Canada’s immigration system, we have an in-depth knowledge of how to proceed in any given situation, including how to deal with any problems that may arise in the course of a case. Given the importance of a successful application to you and your family, hiring the services of an experienced immigration lawyer like Cedric Byogo is your best bet to improve your chances of success.
  • How long does a Spousal Sponsorship application take ?
    Those applying for spousal sponsorship, common-law partner sponsorship, or conjugal partner sponsorship will need to submit their completed application to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) case processing centre in Mississauga, Ontario. The Mississauga case processing centre will review the sponsor’s qualifications, and if they find the sponsor to be qualified, will refer the sponsorship application to the appropriate visa office for processing. It generally takes the Mississauga office one to three months to make a final decision. Once the application reaches the foreign visa office, the processing times will vary according to the work load, number of staff, and processing priorities of the individual visa office. As a result, the average processing time could be anywhere from six months to two years. However, except at one or two particularly busy offices, spousal sponsorships are usually completed in less than one year from receipt at the visa office. In-Canada applications generally take longer than outside-Canada applications, as the immigration authorities consider these cases to be lower priority given that the spouse is already in Canada. In-Canada cases typically take about one to two years to process. It should be noted that the Minister of Immigration has stated his intention to reduce the processing times for sponsorship cases to six months on average. If this target is achieved, it would be a welcome relief for Canadians and their spouses or partners who wish to be quickly reunited in Canada.
  • What services does your office provide for spouse or partner sponsorship applications ?
    Our law office provides a full service for the preparation, filing, and processing of spouse and partner sponsorships. We will first assess your case to determine which type of sponsorship should be made: common-law partner, conjugal partner or spouse. We will also assess where the application should be made, as there may be various options depending on where the couple is located and on their nationalities. In addition, we will identify any problems or weaknesses in the case and devise a strategy to deal with the situation. After deciding how to proceed with the case, we will help you to obtain all necessary forms and documents to support the application. We will then put together the final application and file it for you with the appropriate immigration office. As part of this process we will prepare detailed submission in writing to the immigration authorities explaining your case to them and providing the information necessary to enable them to make a prompt decision in your favour. Once the application has been filed we will then correspond with the immigration authorities on your behalf in order to complete the processing of the application. We will follow up as necessary to ensure that the application proceeds expeditiously, and will inform you of any requests for further information, and assist you to prepare any additional documents required. Sometimes an interview with an immigration officer will be convoked to answer questions about the application, including the development of the relationship between the couple. The interview will be held at a visa office and the sponsored spouse or partner will generally be the one being interviewed. If this happens, we will assist you to get ready for the interview by reviewing your file with you so that you remember everything clearly heading into the interview. Finally, once we receive your spouse or partner’s visa, we will forward it to you and provide you with instructions how to get landed as a permanent resident. Done !
  • Can I sponsor my common-law partner if I am still married ?
    A common-law partner relationship is based on physical cohabitation for a period of at least a year. It is therefore a factual relationship rather than a contractual one like a marriage. It sometime occurs that one or both of the partners in a common-law relationship is married to someone else, whom they have separated from. This by itself is not a barrier to applying for sponsorship under the common-law partner category, however, the immigration authorities will want evidence that a divorce is in process. It is therefore not enough to simply state that one or both partners have separated from the person they are married to, it is necessary to provide documentation to show that divorce proceedings have been initiated and are proceeding. This can sometimes be problematic when the marital partner is uncooperative and makes divorce difficult. However, as long as the immigration authorities are satisfied that the marital relationship is at end and divorce is imminent, they will generally agree to approve the common-law relationship. However, if the immigration authorities are of the opinion that one or both partners wishes to both be married and in a partnership with another person, then this could be a basis for a refusal of the sponsorship application.
  • How to Get Married in Canada ?
    Those Canadians who wish to sponsor their foreign fiancé for permanent residence in Canada will need to get married if they wish to apply through the spousal sponsorship category. In this regard, Canada does not have a fiancé visa category, nor is the conjugal partner category intended as a type of fiancé visa. For those whose foreign fiancé is resident in Canada, it is actually quite easy to get married. The simplest course of action is to have a civil marriage at the local city hall in whichever municipality you are resident. The provincial governments regulate marriage in Canada so there will be some variation from place to place and you will need to check with the municipal government where you live to learn the specific rules that apply in that jurisdiction. In Toronto, for example, you can go to the City of Toronto’s website to learn the requirements to get married there. In order to marry in Toronto you first need to obtain a marriage license. In order to get the license, you need : (1) to be at least 16 years of age; (2) show a final decree of divorce if you have previously been married, and (3) provide two pieces of identification. You also need to fill out a form and pay a small fee. You do not need to be a resident of Canada in order to get married in Canada. Once you have your marriage license, you need to get married within 90 days or it will expire. If you wish to have a civil (non-religious) marriage, you can then make an appointment with the City of Toronto for the use of a wedding chamber where the marriage ceremony will take place, and arrange for a wedding officiant to oversee the marriage. At least two witnesses need to be present at the marriage ceremony, apart from the couple being married. At the time of the marriage you will be issued a Record of Solemnization to show that the marriage took place. After the marriage, you can use the Record of Solemnization to apply for a Marriage Certificate. Information about how to apply for a Marriage Certificate can be found on the Government of Ontario’s website. The Marriage Certificate will be needed for use in the spousal sponsorship application to prove that you are married.
  • What should I do if my immigration application is refused ?
    If your immigration application has been rejected by the immigration authorities, it is important to explore your appeal options immediately. This is because there are strict time limits on when an appeal can be submitted. An appeal to the Federal Court must be initiated within 15 days from the day the decision is received in writing in the case of an application refused from within Canada, and 60 days for a decision made at a visa office outside of Canada. “Received in writing” means that either the applicant or the applicant’s representative has received a written decision, whether that be by mail, fax, email or other means. The 15 or 60 days runs from the date the decision is actually received, not the day the decision is dated. Some cases should be appealed to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD), and not to the Federal Court. These are generally cases that involve Canadian permanent residents or citizens, such as sponsorship appeals and residency appeals. Most appeals to the IAD must be initiated within 30 days, except for residency appeals which should be initiated within 60 days of receipt of the decision. For citizenship refusals, an appeal to the Federal Court must be made within 30 days. Contact our office if you receive an immigration refusal and we can tell you which court you should be appealing to and within what timeframe. Our office can also assess your case and tell you our opinion of your appeal chances. Each case turns on its own facts and must be assessed individually to determine the chances of success. If we believe that you have a viable case, we can assist you with your appeal including filing the appeal on your behalf and representing you throughout the appeal process.
  • How long does a Federal Court appeal take ?
    An immigration appeal to the Federal Court is called an “application for leave and for judicial review” and is a two-step process. The first step is to apply for leave, which means to have the case approved to go to a hearing. Not all immigration appeals to the Federal Court get to have a hearing before a judge, they must first be granted “leave”, or permission, to do so. The application for leave process normally takes about three to six months, but may sometimes be longer. All the court filings that are part of the leave process are usually submitted to the court within three months, but it may take a judge several months to review the case and decide on leave, depending on the court’s work load and the availability of hearing dates. If the court denies leave then the case will be dismissed and finally concluded. If the court grants leave, then a hearing will be scheduled within 90 days from the day that leave is granted. Normally there is only one hearing before a judge to decide a routine immigration refusal decision. The hearing itself will likely take less than three hours. Once the judge has heard the case, he or she might make an oral decision on the spot, but usually the judge will reserve their decision and issue a written decision at a later time. Generally speaking the decisions of the Federal Court are issued quickly, within a week to a month, but may take longer depending on the complexity of the case and the workload of the particular judge. Altogether, and combining the two steps, a Federal Court appeal usually takes between six months and a year from initiation to a final decision.
  • I have received a letter from the immigration authorities expressing concerns with my application – what should I do ?
    In the course of processing an immigration application the immigration authorities will sometimes send correspondence to the applicant expressing concerns about their admissibility. These are known as “fairness letter” since their intention is to give the applicant a fair opportunity to respond to the concerns before a decision is made regarding their admissibility. For example, if the immigration authorities detect what they think may be fraudulent information in a visa application, they will typically send a letter to the applicant setting out their concerns and giving the applicant 30 days to provide whatever response they wish to the concerns. If you have received such a letter it is important to obtain legal advice immediately because the failure to provide a satisfactory response to the immigration authorities will result in the refusal of your application. Not only that, if you are refused for fraud or misrepresentation, you will be banned from Canada for a period of five years. Our office can assist people in these circumstances to provide a detailed response to the concerns of the immigration authorities, including adducing such documentary evidence as can be obtained to offset the concerns, and by preparing written submissions on your behalf explaining the situation to the immigration authorities as clearly as possible. Contact us by phone or email if you receive such a letter and we will assess your situation and provide you with our opinion.
  • How long does an appeal before the Immigration Appeal Division take ?
    Appeals before the Immigration Appeal Division include sponsorship appeals, residency appeals, and removal order appeals involving Canadian citizens or permanent residents. These appeals are initiated by filing a Notice of Appeal document with the Appeal Division, together with a copy of the refusal decision being appealed. Once the appeal has been filed, the immigration authorities will prepare the Tribunal Record, which is a copy of their file related to the immigration case which is being appealed. The Record is normally produced within three or four months after the appeal is filed, and a copy of it will be provided to the appellant by mail. After the Record has been provided, staff at the Appeal Division will review it to see if the case is one that might be amenable to early resolution either through written submissions or through the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process. If the Appeal Division believes that an ADR is justified, they will set a date for the meeting usually within six to eight months of the time that the appeal was filed. If the ADR is successful, then the case will be resolved in the appellant’s favour at that time. If no ADR is scheduled or the ADR is unsuccessful, and the case is not otherwise resolved through written submissions, the appeal will be scheduled for a hearing before a judge. This can sometimes be a long process, and a hearing may not be scheduled for more than one year, depending on the work load of the Appeal Division office. Once the appeal hearing is held, the judge may make an oral decision immediately at the end of the hearing, but usually the judge will reserve his or her decision and write it down and mail it out later. If the judge issues a written decision this will usually take about one month, but may be longer depending on the work load of the particular judge. Altogether an appeal before the Immigration Appeal Division is likely to take between six months and two years.

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CanLII is a non-profit organization that has been engaged by the law societies of Canada that are members of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to establish, operate, maintain and provide to the law societies a website dedicated to providing continuous access to a virtual library of Canadian legal information. CanLII's goal is to make Canadian law accessible on the Internet.

Law Society of Ontario

Governing body of lawyers and paralegals in Ontario

Created by an act of the Legislative Assembly in 1797, the Law Society of Ontario ( the Law Society of Upper Canada until 2017 ) governs Ontario’s lawyers and paralegals in the public interest by ensuring that the people of Ontario are served by lawyers and paralegals who meet high standards of learning, competence and professional conduct.

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