Many of these individuals are temporary foreign workers, unskilled and facing the end of their sojourn in Canada. Others were international students with too-short post graduate work permits now facing dramatic unanticipated increase to AINP processing times. And no way to bridge the difference. Still others are those that failed at the near-lottery of a refugee claim and judicial review or humanitarian and compassionate application or permanent residents that have lost status due to criminality or misrepresentation. Past inefficiencies with respect to removals have resulted in individuals living in this country for years. Like the proverbial frog in boiling water, they do not realize the temperature of the water they are in until it's too late.
Usually they meet with us after their penultimate meeting with a removals officer. Some of course, are our own clients. All of them know that their consultation will get them the straight goods. No sugar coating, no false hope. That's not how we operate. In my view, it's better that they utilize their remaining funds back home rather than spending their last dollars on a no-win application. That's not to say that we have a defeatist attitude. We litigate and we fight for our clients; as far as I know, litigate more at every division of the Immigration and Refugee Board and the Federal Court than any other law firm in this city. We have succeeded in near impossible cases (stopping a removal of a client back to Mogadishu 2 hours before his flight was one such case this year - he just won his refugee claim that we were able to re-open), but there is a point at which there is nothing more that can be done.
Most individuals that I encounter are at the bargaining and depression stage of the model. Like drowning men, clients facing certain loss of status or removal will grasp at straws. They tell me impossible stories of how a friend of a friend managed to negotiate status from immigration. Sometimes, they accept the harsh truth that I am honour bound to give them. Other times, being in denial, they seek out a lawyer or consultant that tells them what they want to hear.
Successfully navigating the maze of Canadian immigration laws for a client is the best part of this job. Telling a worthy and deserving individual that they will not get status in this country and that they are at the end of the line is the worst.