Ron Poulton

Ron Poulton

Immigration lawyer Ronald Poulton will attempt to steer the reader over the ever changing land scape of immigration law and policy to ask the question; What's law got to do with it? He can be reached at

Column: Border Crossings
Two solitudes: the treatment of non-citizens and criminally accused in CanadaThe gap between how we treat non-citizens and criminally accused in Canada may be perpetual. The immigration bar has, for years, struggled to close the distance between the rules applied to two groups of people in Canada. The solid regime of constitutional protections that permeates criminal law and ensures the protection of a person charged with a crime from arbitrary state action has never quite been grounded in immigration law. The use of secret evidence in hearings, the assumption that the written notes of police or government officials are accurate and the confounding view that if a prospective surety knows the detainee too well they may not be trustworthy enough are examples of concepts unknown in criminal law. Yet, time and time again, we are faced in immigration hearings with these and other “principles” that cloud and diminish any attempt to realize a sense of justice and fair play in immigration law.
The Trudeau era ushers in a kinder, gentler immigration departmentCanada Immigration, now called Canada Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, has undergone a significant transformation in approach under the Trudeau regime. Gone is the largely secretive, even hostile approach undertaken by immigration officials in their case work, replaced by communication and, yes, even kindness.
Compellable, comshmellable . . . what’s in self-incriminationImmigration law is one of the few areas of law, maybe the only one, in which people whom the state seeks to penalize or sanction, even imprison, are forced to testify against themselves. This seems inconsistent with every value we have concerning the protection of an accused and a healthy mistrust of the state. But there it is; in proceedings before the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, the person concerned is compellable to testify. 
Enforcement officers: kids judging credibilityGet ready for this: Enforcement officers can, nay must, conduct an interview of a deportee who has alleged risk, if the credibility of the risk allegation is at issue. So says the Federal Court of Appeal in its recent pronouncement in Atawnah v. MPSEP.
Monday, 20 June 2016 09:00

It’s all in the sentence

It’s all in the sentenceImmigration law can be harsh and leave little or no room for discretion, compromise, or forgiveness. This is certainly true for a permanent resident who has committed a criminal offence of a certain calibre.
Monday, 18 April 2016 09:00

Spies like us

Spies like usWhen we think of spies, we think of dark, smoke-filled places, and cynical, world-weary operatives skulking in and out of shadows. Or, if not the Cold War version, the cartoon-like James Bond.
Kanthasamy and the spring cleaning of immigration lawThe far-reaching effects of the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Kanthasamy v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) are causing tremors through the immigration system, at all levels.
Monday, 21 December 2015 09:00

A triumvirate of restrictiveness gone

A triumvirate of restrictiveness goneIn its recent decision in Kanthasamy v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), the Supreme Court of Canada has altered the landscape of humanitarian decision-making in immigration law.
Niqab or no niqab; security is not the questionThe Federal Court of Appeal in a decision rendered from the bench, dismissed the government appeal of a decision that its policy requiring women to remove their niqabs before taking the oath of Canadian citizenship was unlawful. The result of this decision is well known, but what lay behind it is perhaps a little less understood.
The Charter of Rights versus the government of wrongsIn two landmark rulings, the Federal Court of Canada has determined that aspects of government policy aimed at discouraging refugee claimants from choosing Canada as a safe haven, and accelerating their departure from Canada, violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
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