March 21, 2016
A Dash of Common Sense for Government Communication Policy: Lim v. Canada 2016 FC 217
A recent Federal Court decision applied some common sense to rigid communication policies used in the context of applications for Canadian citizenship.
In Lim v. Canada, the Applicant challenged both the deemed abandonment and refusal to reopen her citizenship application after allegedly failing to respond to a letter by a Citizenship Official in April 2015.
After a letter purportedly sent by the Official did not receive a response, the citizenship application was deemed abandoned and closed. Despite the Applicant arguing that she had not received the letter, the Official refused to reopen the application, writing that abandoned applications are only reactivated if there was an administrative error on the part of a citizenship official.
In addition, the court found that there was no proof that the Applicant had been sent the April 2015 letter, and further that she had demonstrated a history of responding promptly to communications regarding her application. Finding that the letter had not been sent, the application for judicial review was granted on this ground alone.
Interestingly, the court also granted review of the decision to refuse to reopen the application, finding that the Respondent’s policy of reopening an application only upon administrative error by an official was arbitrary, unfair, and lacked common sense:
“The only basis upon which a case would be re-opened is if the department deemed themselves to be in error. That ground takes no account of other factors such as Acts of God, unforeseen circumstances and matters beyond anyone’s control. It is a self-serving and ludicrous basis from which to reject a re-opening request and is hence arbitrary.”
For more information on Canadian Citizenship, please click here.