At least three lawsuits have been launched over Canada's handling of would-be investor immigrants, many of whom spent years languishing in the scheme's backlog before it was announced last month that all federal applications would be terminated.
The only positive outcome to date involves the 95 applicants who were granted leave to seek a judicial review on Friday, and whose case is being handled by Toronto lawyer Tim Leahy.
In a separate ruling, on January 28, Federal Court Judge Richard Boivin dismissed a similar request by seven investors. However, that ruling preceded the announcement the scheme and backlogged applications were being axed. Boivin's ruling was based in part on a lack of evidence that the government did not intend to process the applications.
"Well, there certainly is now, depriving his ruling from being determinative of the other cases," Leahy said. An appeal was filed on February 27.
A third case, argued before Federal Court Judge Peter Annis by Montreal lawyer Stephanie Riccio, deals with the handling of applications to a parallel immigrant investor programme run by the province of Quebec.
Riccio argued on February 27 that applications that were in the hands of Canadian immigration staff in Ankara, Turkey, were simply being warehoused there and not being processed. Annis, who is reportedly on vacation, has deferred his decision on the case.
Last Wednesday, a group of Chinese applicants to the federal programme held a press conference in Beijing, at which they said they were considering legal action if their applications were not considered.