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Federal Immigration Committee Has An "Urgent Hearing" To Discuss Allegations To Mislead A Judge

Immigration Committee Called Urgent Meeting On Alleged Misled of Judge By IRCC

Last Updated On 11 October 2022, 7:49 PM EDT (Toronto Time)

Next week, the House of Commons immigration committee has set out an urgent meeting on the department and former minister, Marco Mendicino next week. The meeting is to discuss alleged misleading of a federal judge in a trademark infringement case.

However, Former immigration minister Marco Mendicino has refuted these allegations. The charges are related to establishing a new institution, College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants, in 2020 to regulate immigration consultants.

To prevent the government from using the term “College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants,” a previously regulatory firm known as the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council took the government to the federal court.

When information was made public 

The day before the court hearing, the Privy Council released an order on its website announcing that the legislation creating the college had taken effect. The Federal Court also received this information.

A few days later, Mendicino announced that the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Act was indeed in effect, he said in a government-issued press release. 

The original press release from November 26, 2020, stated that “with today’s announcement, the minister is honouring his mandate commitment to advance the full implementation of the new professional governance regime for immigration and citizenship consultants.”

In reality, the law didn’t take effect until December 9, 2020. So, the press release was corrected several days after it was initially issued.

Alex Cohen, Mendicino’s director of communications, said on Sunday that a mistake for the mismatch resulted from human error. 

Further, Cohen explained that the department mistook the day the order was due to take effect for the day the Governor General signed it. As a result, the issue was reported to court when discovered. 

Blacklock’s Reporter, an Ottawa-based independent media outlet, published an article titled “Minister Backdates Document,” quoting internal emails obtained via Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) legislation. 

The publication claimed that the emails showed an apparent attempt “to mislead a federal judge,” and Mendicino’s office reportedly did not respond to Blacklock’s request for comment.

After the information became public

Jenny Kwan, a critic of the NDP on immigration, was so worried by the report that she wrote to the head of the committee last week to request an urgent meeting to go over the “concerning allegations.”

In an interview on Sunday, Kwan says it’s never right for documents to be changed or fabricated to mislead the courts. However, since what happened exactly remains unclear, it is crucial to investigate to get to the root of it, she explained. 

Members of Parliament will gather on Wednesday to discuss whether or not to conduct a full-scale investigation of the allegations.

Cohen said the information was “completely false” and “unsubstantiated by the ATIP” when asked to comment. He insisted that the records were not “backdated,” and Mendicino and his office were not involved.

The 730-page collection of emails from Mendicino’s office was made available to The Canadian Press. It revealed a lot of back and forth between department officials and the communications team on the incorrect date the legislation would go into effect.

Exchanges reveal that the department’s legal staff discovered the issue a week after the press release was released, and on December 1, 2020, department officials discussed whether “remedial measures” were required.

Cohen claims that on December 9, 2020, the government informed the Federal Court about the issue. However, it was more than a week before the court ordered the government to stop using the college name. 

In her ruling on December 24, 2020, Justice Janet Fuhrer correctly noted the dates before agreeing with the plaintiffs in the trademark infringement case and issuing an injunction.

Source: CP24