Test cases

Priority areas for refugee test case work (2014-2018)

A number of areas that directly affect LAO's client community and others are ripe for test case litigation. They have arisen as a result of long-standing problems in interpreting and implementing the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) as well as legislative and policy changes implemented in recent years (such as the Balanced Refugee Reform Act (C-11), Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act (C-31) and the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act (C-43).

It would be unwise to attempt a definitive list of potential test cases, given today’s ever-evolving legislative and policy context and the impossibility of predicting whether and when LAO can identify a client with the appropriate factual background. It is possible, however, to identify the following priority areas for refugee test case work for LAO in the next five years, recognizing that additional areas will certainly arise:

  1. Equal access to, and effective protection of, Charter rights

  2. Protection of non-citizens who are mentally ill

  3. Protection and promotion of the rights of the child

  4. Domestic application/implementation/enforcement of international human rights law

  5. Protection of citizenship for naturalized Canadians.

Refugee Law Office support

The RLO will provide the test case program with support by:

  • ensuring that the test case program Committee fully considers LAO’s refugee law test case strategy priority areas in application review and decision-making
  • advising the test case program Committee on refugee and immigration law test case applications, either formally through the appointment of senior counsel (or a senior staff lawyer) to the committee, or informally as required/requested by the test case program committee
  • acting as co-counsel on appropriate test cases funded by the test case program committee, when requested by the private bar counsel or pursuant to an agreement between the Test Cse Program committee, the RLO and private bar counsel (subject to client consent).

Get more details on LAO’s refugee law test case strategy