Success: Justice for Minors

I want to share a story that started in 2011 that has (finally) come to conclusion. This is a story about housing law, criminal law, public interest law and poverty law. Unlike almost everything else in this space, this case has nothing to do with immigration. This is a case of a Canadian family who needed legal help. I helped the family while I was working as Staff Lawyer at Unison Health and Community Services (“Unison”) in Toronto in 2011. During this time, this family needed significant support. After I moved to Winnipeg, another lawyer took over the case and helped this family actually collect the $$$.

Here is a summary of what happened from my Supervisor and Legal Director:

In 2011, we opened a file for clients who were being evicted for arrears of rent. Alastair Clarke was assigned to the file and represented the clients. As he found out more about the case, he found out that the clients and their 3 daughters were renting from the client’s parents, in the parents’ home. Alastair also found out details about the tenancy in that, the male landlord (grandfather) was assaulting the teenaged daughters. Alastair helped the clients file a tenant application against both landlords (grandparents) seeking compensation from them. I should also mention that around the same time, the grandfather was criminally charged and ultimately convicted for the assaults (and was jailed). To add to the ordeal of a hearing, during the course of the hearing process, the clients were offered money by the grandmother to withdraw the application. They did not. After approximately a year, and several appearances, the clients were successful, and obtained an Order for $25,000 which is the maximum allowable at the Landlord and Tenant Board (and rarely awarded)!
Often I tell clients, that winning a court case is only half the battle, and that collecting on any type of judgement is the other half. The grandparents did not pay as ordered. Therefore, we (Joanna Mullen who was filling in for Alastair at that time) looked into ways to help them collect on this judgement. In the end, she helped the clients file a writ against the grandparents’ home. This was in 2012.
Recently, we were contacted by the lawyer for the grandparents who had just sold the home. In order for the sale to be completed, the writ had to be first satisfied (paid out).
Today, I had the privilege of handing a certified cheque in the amount of $24,752 to the clients ($25,000 less some arrears owing)!!! When I handed them the cheque, the expressed their gratitude to both Alastair and Joanna and Unison, and stated that this would hopefully bring a bit of closure to the matter. I asked how the daughters were doing, and was told that while the healing process is ongoing, 1 daughter is finishing college, and 1 is engaged.
Congratulations to both Alastair and Joanna for their hard work on the file!!
As you can read from the above, this was a very sensitive situation and the girls were living with a sexual predator. The grandfather in the family was sexually molesting his granddaughters and taking advantage of the housing situation. It was a messy and stressful experience. At various times, the family wanted to just get out of the rental housing situation and move on. It takes courage and strength to pursue these cases to the end.
I want to recognize the work of Joanna Mullen who continues to work in the Ontario clinic system. She also shared her thoughts on this case:
Thanks to everyone for their kind words and congratulations. I also worked with the daughters on applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, which were successful. Even though it was several years ago now, the resiliency of those girls in the face of such horrific violations has remained with me. I am happy to hear that they are doing well and that we were able to deliver compensation after so much time had passed.
The reason I am sharing this story is to highlight the services from the legal clinic system in Ontario. Unison, in particular, should be the model for services. Residents can go to Unison to medical services, employment services, housing support, counseling services, youth programming, pre-natal classes, exercise classes (yoga), disability services and, of course, legal services. I would tell my colleagues that we were providing medical services because many of our clients had medical issues and we were working closely with doctors and nurses. Poverty law often covers many different issues and it makes things go so much easier when service providers can work together.
Another reason for sharing this story is to focus on justice. The adage that the wheels of justice move slowly is evident. This case has been going through various administrative tribunals and criminal courts for more than 10 years. This family has gone through significant stress. In the end, however, I hope they feel satisfied with the results and I am thrilled that the girls are doing well.

Success: LMIA

In late 2019, we were contacted by a large Trucking company in western Ontario for assistance with multiple Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs). The company had previously retained another law firm in Winnipeg and they were not satisfied with the quality of professionalism of that firm. (As an aside, that firm has terrible ratings on Google so this is not a surprise.) We reviewed the shoddy work of the previous representatives and prepared new LMIA applications based on our research.

We submitted the new LMIA applications to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) in January 2020 and the application was approved in February 2020. Processing time: one (1) month only – much faster than average processing time.LMIA

Needless to say, our clients were very happy with our work and the positive results. This company can now focus on building business and hiring Long Haul Truck Drivers which is where they should be spending their time & energy. The processing of LMIA applications includes strict guidelines and advertising requirements. As Alastair stated during his presentation at BCIT in Vancouver, if the LMIA is not done properly at first instance, it may be more difficult for this company to obtain a positive decision on future LMIA applications.

NOTE: LMIA applications have a high rate of refusal and we would recommend retained a competent law firm to assist. These applications are assessed based on labour market demands in specific regions and the ability of the company to find and recruit Permanent Residents or Canadian citizens. In this case, our clients could not accept further contracts and they were severely limited in its potential growth. Furthermore, these positions remained unfilled for a long period of time based on the incompetence of the previous law firm, causing unnecessary delays and expenses.

Fast Processing of LMIA Applications

We are very pleased with the work done by the Service Canada Officer with the LMIA approval. Given the previous work and the difficult immigration history, our clients were extremely happy with the fast processing time; however, we believe that if this company had retained us at first instance, it would have been faster.

The LMIA program is often plagued by long delays and onerous reporting requirements.  We were happy with the results with this corporate client and we look forward to assisting other businesses to overcome labour shortages so Canadian businesses can focus on their specialty.

Enhanced Travel Document

The Manitoba government continues to provide “enhanced” documents that serve as alternatives to a Canadian Passport for crossing the border into the United States by land and/or water. In certain circumstances, this enhanced travel document makes it easy to travel between Canada and the USA. The enhanced features allow the individual to cross the border easily and efficiently.

Currently, the only Canadian provinces to offer the enhanced documents are Manitoba, Ontario and BC. As noted below, Ontario may be canceling their program in 2019. In my view, this document is a poorly understood and little-known document that is cheap and easy to get.


  • Alternative to a Passport;
  • Helps people cross easily over the border;
  • Less stuff in your wallet/ purse.

The Manitoba enhanced Driver’s Licence allows individuals to simply use their Licence to cross the border. We used to be able to do this when crossing into the USA; however, the laws changed so that regular (non-enhanced) Driver’s Licences are no longer sufficient to enter the United States:

By Land and Sea (including ferries) – Canadian citizens traveling to the U.S. by land or sea are required to present one of the travel documents listed below, and may generally visit the U.S. for up to six months. CBP will accept: Canadian passport, Enhanced Driver’s License/Enhanced Identification Card, NEXUS, FAST/EXPRES and SENTRI enrollment cards.

Ontario recently proposed to discontinue this service and they have eliminated this option:

Ontario is proposing to eliminate an enhanced driver’s licence that allows people to enter the United States at land and water border crossings without a passport.

The driver’s licence option was introduced in 2009, when the U.S. required passports or other secure identification for anyone crossing into the country by land or sea, but it hasn’t had the anticipated uptake.

British Columbia and Manitoba have enhanced driver’s licences, and Quebec used to, but phased out the program — other provinces rejected the idea because it was too costly or there wasn’t enough public interest.

If you or your contacts are interested in the enhanced travel document, please contact our office and we can help with the application.

Former Immigration Officer: “Gave Bad Advice for Money”

As reported in the Windsor Star, former Immigration Officer Flavio Angelo Andreatta used a store as a “front” and provided bad immigration advice to clients. He was an unlicensed representative who should have known better and he has been sentenced in criminal court.

Here is an excerpt from the Windsor Star article:

Andreatta, a retired Canadian immigration officer grandfathered into the Canada Border Services Agency, would instruct clients to make cheques out to the cultural charity, headquartered at his Kingsville home. He would then make withdrawals from the society’s bank account, a fact that caused the group’s treasurer and former bookkeeper to resign in 2011.

Andreatta, who turns 68 next week, pleaded guilty in Superior Court Wednesday to contravening Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act by providing immigration advice for a fee. Only lawyers or people vetted by a sanctioned body can charge for that work.

As punishment, Andreatta will spend the next year on house arrest, followed by two years on probation.

Court heard Andreatta collected more than $25,000 for his services between June 2011 and December 2014.

Having the money flow through the Italian Genealogy and Heraldry Society was the “subterfuge” Andreatta used, federal prosecutor Paul Bailey told the court.

Having been an immigration officer in the past, Andreatta “certainly was in a position to know better,” Bailey said.

“He gave some bad advice for money.”

Authorities first learned of Andreatta’s activities in May 2012 when a woman who was an Italian national was denied a visitor’s visa. She had been working at the Caboto Club on a work permit that was about to expire. She was later deemed inadmissible to Canada because she had continued to work past the expiry date.

Clearly, this former Officer set up the charity with the purpose of deceiving the government and breaking the law. In my view, house arrest is too lenient on this gentlemen, no matter his health “ailments”, his background and his years of service. As stated in the article, “Only lawyers or people vetted by a sanctioned body can charge for that work.” Those described in the second part are sanctioned by ICCRC and they are subject to discipline by their professional organization. In my view, there are benefits to the system in the United States where they do not allow immigration consultants to represent clients.

Note that the decision by Superior Court Justice Kirk Munroe does not preclude the Law Society of Ontario from imposing additional punishment to the immigration officer and ordering separate fines for providing legal services in Ontario without a licence.

Law Society Act, R.S.O. 1990, Chapter L.8. Section 26.2 of the Law Society Act states as follows:

Non-licensee practising law or providing legal services

26.1 (1) Subject to subsection (5), no person, other than a licensee whose licence is not suspended, shall practise law in Ontario or provide legal services in Ontario.  2006, c. 21, Sched. C, s. 22.

26.2 (1) Every person who contravenes section 26.1 is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of,

(a) not more than $25,000 for a first offence; and

(b) not more than $50,000 for each subsequent offence.  2006, c. 21, Sched. C, s. 22.


MPNP – Moving Outside Manitoba

In April 2016, the Minister of Immigration, the Honourable John MacCullum identified the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) as one of the most successful provincial nominee programs in Canada. This program is a partnership between the provincial government of Manitoba and the federal government to address the economic needs within the labour market. Over the years, the program has evolved considerably and it is regularly amended to reflect the ever-changing landscape of Manitoba.

The current MPNP system was launched at the beginning of 2015. At that time, the government made changes to ensure that successful applicants had sufficient ties to Manitoba. The government was concerned that applicants were applying to Manitoba with the plan to settle in this province and then, after they became permanent residents, they decided to relocate their families to other provinces. This is entirely allowable within the system. As soon as an individual lands in Canada and becomes a permanent resident, they have mobility rights that allows them to move anywhere in Canada, regardless of how the arrived.

MPNP and Mobility RightsMPNP

Almost every client of Clarke Immigration Law asks about mobility rights. After they are successful with a MPNP application, can they move to another province? They answer is that after they become a Permanent Resident of Canada, they have all the mobility rights of all permanent residents. These mobility rights are enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

To address mobility rights, the MPNP program scrutinizes applications to make sure that applicants have a genuine plan to establish themselves in Manitoba. If the province determines that the applicant simply seeks permanent resident status and that they are not serious about settling in Manitoba, then their application will be refused.

MPNP and Connections to Other Provinces

Prior to 2015, the points system for MPNP was based on connections to Manitoba and applicants received points based on their connections. With the constitutionally enshrined mobility rights, the province made changes to the province so that applicants with connections to other provinces lost points. Here are a few examples of clients who have lost points based on their experience in other provinces:

Abdul completed a university degree in Vancouver before moving to Manitoba. He has worked in Winnipeg on a Post Graduate Work Permit for 2 years and now he is applying under the MPNP program – Skilled Worker stream. Based on his studies in BC, he loses 100 points in his MPNP application.

Another example:

Ms. Li has been trying to be with her sibling in Canada for many years. Before, her sister lived in Toronto and she applied under the Ontario Provincial Nominee Program (OINP). That program was then suspended in May 2016 based on the needs of the labour market in Ontario. Ms. Li’s sister has moved to Winnipeg and they want to apply under the MPNP program with a new application. In this case, Ms. Li will lose 100 points based on her previous application to Ontario.

Genuine Connections to Manitoba

On 8 June 2016, we met with the Director of the MPNP program to discuss changes to the program. One point she raised is that too many applicants are not showing “genuine connections” to Manitoba. In other words, when MPNP does their investigation into the applications, the Manitoba residents who support the application cannot prove a genuine relationship. This may have negative consequences for the applicants and also for the permanent residents or Canadian citizens who are sponsoring the application


If you have any questions regarding the above information, please contact our office directly.

Clarke Law: Experienced Immigration Lawyer

Clarke Immigration Law assists clients come to Canada as Permanent Residents and as Temporary Residents. The applications for the various stream are completely different and require specific expertise. We help by providing an experienced immigration lawyer to guide you through the Canadian immigration system and give you the best chance of success.

Immigrate to Alberta

experienced immigration lawyerAlastair Clarke was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta – a vibrant city in the prairies. The city is the gateway to the north and provides services to many Temporary Workers (TFWP) on their way to Fort McMurray and the oil sands. Alberta has been booming for many years and there are many good jobs. Unemployment in Alberta is among the lowest in Canada. We provide assistance for those interested in Alberta because Mr. Clarke is an experienced immigration lawyer with the benefit of living and working in Alberta.

Immigrate to BC

Mr. Clarke moved from Alberta to British Columbia (BC) for university. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree (Philosophy; Spanish) at the University of Victoria in the capital city of BC. Canada’s western-most province is the gateway to the East. There are many flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo and other metropolitan centers in Asia. While at the University of Victoria, Mr. Clarke was the Student Coordinator of the Peer Helping Program, worked with the Office of the Ombudsman on legal issues and helped International Students. These students successfully received Study Permits to study in BC. He helped these students from India, China, Nigeria, Poland and other countries in the world.

After Victoria, Mr. Clarke moved to VanWinnipeg Immigration Lawyercouver – the largest city in BC and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Vancouver is called “Hollywood North” because it has a thriving movie industry and TV industry. Many shows, including iZombie, Once Upon a Time and Arrow, are filmed in Vancouver and it is quite common to just stumble upon a productions crew in action.

Immigrate to Ontario

Mr. Clarke moved to Ontario and graduated just a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Kingston is a historic city on the Canadian border with one of Canada’s oldest military base and a vibrant downtown core.

In Ontario, Mr. Clarke has lived in various locations in Toronto and Kingston. Toronto is a vibrant city with a rich multicultural mosaic. On any day, you can take the subway and listen to Urdu, Cantonese, Tamil, Spanish and French. The city expands in every direction and there are distinct neighbourhoods akin to New York. Manhattan has the Tribeca; Toronto has the Entertainment District. Manhattan has Chinatown; Toronto has Little Korea.

Mr. Clarke lived in Toronto for many years and practiced immigration and refugee law at one of Canada’s top boutique law firms on Bay Street. He assisted clients from Nepal, Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Israel, Russia, South Africa, the USA, China, Vietnam, Ukraine, St. Lucia, Guyana, Mexico and many other countries. He is one of Manitoba’s most experienced immigration lawyers and he can help you and your family.

Immigrate to Manitoba

In addition to Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, Mr. Clarke now lives in the capital city of Friendly Manitoba: Winnipeg. Winnipeg is the located at the heart of North America. It is a center for Aboriginal Culture with a vibrant arts community. Winnipeg has a spectacular historic downtown with Parisian architecture. The Exchange District is booming with chic restaurants and cafes.

Mr. Clarke’s law firm is located in Osborne Village in Winnipeg – the neighbourhood was ranked the “Greatest Neighbourhood” in Canada by CBC in 2012. Osborne Village is a community where everything is at your fingertips. Boutiques and cafes line the streets with trendy fashions and souvenirs. In the winter, Osborne Village has access to the Assiniboine River and you can skate along the river to downtown.experienced immigration lawyer

Manitoba is a stable, peaceful province that is perfect for professionals and families. The school system is welcoming to children from all over the world. Winnipeg’s neighbourhood of St. Boniface is French. The Louis Riel School Division is 100% in French and there is a strong community from Burundi and Congo.

Manitoba boasts 4 seasons and the ever-changing weather of the prairies. Summer is festival season and there are international activities, music and events from every culture. Folklorama is a must-see. In Fall/Autumn, the Elm Canopy – which is one of the only remaining in the world – turns from green to orange and yellow in the Fall. International Students arrive to the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba on Study Permits. The international-acclaimed Museum of Human Rights is perfect for a winter day. Spring is a wonderful time in Manitoba with flowers and everything blooms.

Manitoba has a strong economy boosted by the Canadian Mint, the International Centre for Infectious Diseases, the Museum of Human Rights, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the pork Industry and many other cutting-edge businesses.

Retain an Experienced Immigration Lawyer

Mr. Clarke has lived in 5 of Canada’s 10 provinces so there are still more places to explore. Eastern Canada, including the provinces on the Atlantic Ocean are also vibrant with their own unique culture. Sask has a booming economy with the Potash Industry and there are many jobs. Mr. Clarke has assisted many clients who live in Sask and assists as an experienced immigration lawyer.

Immigration to Canada can be one of the best changes in your life and the life of your family. But it can be a daunting task. Clarke Immigration Law assists individuals and businesses come to Canada – and stay in Canada. We provide an experienced Immigration Lawyer to help you through the process.

Contact us for more information.