Is the Canada Border Services Agency Above the Law?

Understanding the world of the CBSA with Canadian Immigration Lawyer Arghavan Gerami

Anyone dealing with a Canadian Border Services Officer understands right away that they carry considerable power and authority over who is granted entry to Canada and who is not. In this episode Canadian Immigration Lawyer, Arghavan Gerami joins me to discuss some challenges that currently exist within the Canada Border Services Agency and attempt to offer some solutions on how things can improve.

In this episode we will pull back the curtain on the inner workings of the CBSA. We discuss whether the approaches taken by the CBSA during COVID-19 are consistent with the principles of Open Government heralded by the Liberal government in their election platforms.  We also discussed the lack of transparency demonstrated bt the CBSA and whether the approach they take is consistent with the rule of law, a foundational pillar of our society.

There has been a significant lack of responsiveness by the CBSA to any attempts at dialogue in understanding the rationale for their decisions in turning people away at the border during COVID-19. Understanding the legal basis for these decisions formulates a critical component in the advice we provide to our clients as immigration lawyers. Lately, we have been left with far more questions than we have answers.

In a pandemic, people need even more transparency and clarity when it comes to the implementation of new policies and procedures. This lack of transparency can be seen most acutely in how the CBSA has been interpreting what is considered to be a “non-essential” purpose in the context of Canada’s travel restrictions. This episode was created in an attempt to encourage greater transparency with the CBSA. We hope you like it.

Arghavan Gerami Bio:

Arghavan Gerami is the Founder and Senior Counsel at Gerami Law Professional Corporation (‘PC’), a full-service immigration law firm in Ottawa, Ontario.  She completed her Juris Doctor and Master of Laws at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University and was called to the Ontario Bar in 2007.

Ms. Gerami worked at the Ministry of Attorney General and the Department of Justice before transitioning to private practice in 2011. She also had the privilege of serving the Honourable Mr. Justice M. Evans at the Federal Court of Appeal.

Since founding Gerami Law PC in 2011 Ms. Gerami has focused her practice on immigration and refugee litigation and represented numerous clients before the Federal and provincial Courts, as well as the various divisions of the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Ms. Gerami is an Executive Member on the Immigration Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association.  In 2017 and 2018 Ms. Gerami also served on the Organizing Committee of the annual CBA Immigration Law Conference.  She has been interviewed on national and local television and quoted in national and local newspapers such as The Globe and Mail, National Post and the Ottawa Citizen.  Ms. Gerami has also published numerous journal articles, presented at immigration and refugee law conferences and events across Canada, and provided guest lectures at the University of Ottawa.

As a Supervising Principal to articling students, Ms. Gerami enjoys facilitating the career development of law students and young lawyers. She also enjoys traveling as well as spending time with her two children, husband and Bambi (her dog).


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