Quebec judge grants injunction in the case of 18,000 immigration files
MONTREAL -- Quebec Superior Court has issued a temporary injunction ordering the provincial government to resume processing more than 18,000 immigration applications.
The decision Monday by Justice Frederic Bachand forces the province to continue to render decisions on cases it wanted to throw out as it moved to overhaul the selection process for newcomers to the province.
Simon Jolin-Barrette, immigration minister with the Coalition Avenir Quebec government, tabled Bill 9 on Feb. 7. The bill aims to allow the province to be more selective with immigrants, ensuring they speak French, respect Quebec values and meet labour market needs.
Lawyers representing the Quebec Association of Immigration Lawyers argued last Friday the minister had acted illegally by not following the laws currently in place. They said the matter was clearly urgent and warranted an injunction.
The 18,139 outstanding applications involve skilled workers' cases, which are managed by the province. They include about 3,700 applicants who already reside in Quebec.
Bachand found that a significant number of the applicants are harmed by the government decision because they would have obtained the certificate if normal processing continued. For some, the harm is irreparable, because their age would disqualify them under the new system.
As for those who would still qualify under a new law, they would also suffer by being forced to return to square one in the process, he ruled.
The decision is valid for 10 days -- the limit of such a temporary injunction. The parties are expected back in court next week.