How to challenge an officer’s decision when your Canadian visa is rejected!

With Canadian Immigration Lawyer Steven Meurrens

Why is it so dang hard to challenge an officer’s decision when a Canadian visa application is rejected? This is the question I get more often than any other question from listeners. In this episode of the Canadian Immigration Podcast, I invited Canadian immigration lawyer Steven Meurrens to join me to try to unravel this complex question.  As most immigration lawyers understand, much of the answer rests in the concept of “Standard of Review“, or in other words, the standard to which an immigration officer’s decision is to be held. If you have just experienced a rejection on a Canadian visa application, this Episode is a must.


In my interview with Steven, we examine a very interesting court case, MPSEP v. Tran  2015 FCA 237, that has quietly worked its way to the Supreme Court of Canada.  Tran is going to have some pretty huge ramifications for this whole area of judicially reviewing an officer’s decision. Steven shares some great insight on this case and provides a little glimpse into what he thinks the SCC could possible do. Once the decision comes out later next year, we will have to have him come back on the Podcast to see how close he really was.

Steven Meurrens is a Canadian immigration lawyer and a partner with the law firm of Larlee Rosenberg in Vancouver, British Columbia.  The firm focuses on all areas of Canadian immigration law.


Steven has significant experience representing corporate and individual clients in obtaining visas and permits for many business-related purposes.

In addition to his business immigration practice, Steven has extensive experience in family-based immigration matters and a very active practice assisting people who have been denied entry to Canada and to those who have had their visa applications refused. He has appeared before the Immigration and Refugee Board and the Federal Court of Canada.

Steven is the Chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s Immigration Subsection in British Columbia. He is a published columnist, a regular panelist at immigration law conferences, and is the author of a very widely read blog on Canadian immigration law called Meurrens on Immigration. If you haven’t had a chance to read Steven’s blog, you had better go check it out. The content on this blog is exceptional. You will also need to check out his Immigration Podcast called Borderlines that he hosts with Peter Edelmann.

During my interview with Steven, we discussed the following areas:

  • How he got into immigration.
  • Steven’s blog called Meurrens on Immigration
  • An introduction to Steven’s Podcast: Borderlines with Peter Edelmann in BC
  • Reasons why it is so hard to challenge an officer’s decision
  • Standard of Review
  • Important Case Discussion: MPSEP v. Tran (2015 FCA 237)
  • One of Steven’s Successful cases at the Federal Court: Gupta v. Canada (2015 FC 1086)

Chief Mountain Boarder

Time Stamped Quick Reference Guide

In order to help you jump to the areas of most interest to you, I have included below some time stamps for some of the significant topics covered in this episode.

3:55 – Who is Steven Meurrens?

7:40 – Where does Steven Meurrens blog?

10:00 – How did he get into Immigration Law?

12:42 – Steven’s Blog: Meurrens On Immigration

21:22 –  Why is Officer discretion so important to the Standard of Review?

22:14 – Who are considered part of administrative tribunals responsible for enforcing or administering the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and its Regulations?

25:10 – Reasonableness – why is this the standard of review for most immigration decisions in the Federal Court?

35:45 – What is the concept of standard of review?

38:00 – What does it mean for something to be procedurally fair?

41:38 – Discussion on the Federal Court of Appeal decision in Tran.

49:39 – Discussion on the case of Gupta v. Canada (2015 FC 1086)

59:45 – How to reach Steven Meurrens.

Additional Resources:

Listen to Mark Holthe’s Canadian Immigration Podcast

Topics for our Next Podcast

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2 thoughts on “How to challenge an officer’s decision when your Canadian visa is rejected!

  1. I had applied for a ATIP, and yet again the same reasons were given stating that I do not have good enough ties with my country of residence, that i will be able to leave Canada. Thats absolutely ridiculous when I have attached a letter from my professor stating that my expenses will be covered and my monthly stipend from the graduate school will be provided till the end of my studies. I do not understand what the immigration officer is expecting me to have!!!!
    I really want to challenge his decision of denying me the travel visa. Please let me know how to go about it. I hope it isn’t a too costly affair though.

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