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Update Inadmissible Nico and disability discrimination

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Dear friends and supporters,

After an important struggle to shed light on the discriminatory nature of Section 38(1)(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, especially against persons with disabilities, a struggle that was sparked by Citizen and Immigration Canada’s declaration of my son Nicolas Montoya as “inadmissible” for Permanent Residency, and in which there was overwhelming support and contributions to the public debate from all of you, I would like to share recent developments that I feel are cause for hope or optimism (if not yet for celebration).

On April 20th I had a meeting in Ottawa with Kerry Cundal, Director of Case Management and Parliamentary Affairs and with Bernie Derible, Director of Policy, at the office of the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, along with my friend and lawyer Hadayt Nazami, and with access to legal counsel from Randy Hahn. The meeting was called by Kerry Cundal to discuss the process that deemed my son Nico as “inadmissible”, to analyze the public debate that arose from this case around disability discrimination, and to explore possible policy changes to address these issues. I was extremely grateful to comply with the request by Kerry Cundal and Bernie Derible to collaborate with the Ministry by sharing the analysis and the critiques our case has generated, and to be able to contribute to these necessary policy changes around the Permanent Residency application process that the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship is actively seeking.

During the last two weeks, in consultation with stakeholders, among which are many of you, I wrote up a succinct document, “Recommendations for Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Section 38(1)(c) Policy Changes Based on Nicolas Montoya´s Application for Permanent Residency: Notes for Kerry Cundal and Bernie Derible.” Yesterday, May 3rd, I sent Kerry and Bernie this document, along with the following note:

Dear Kerry and Bernie, Since we last met I have done my best to write up a very succinct and clear set of recommendations, along with illustrative material from our personal case, to help with urgently needed policy changes. I am very grateful and relieved to know that your office is actively looking to move forward on transforming a practice of discrimination based on disability that flies in the face of the extremely valuable work your office is doing, for which it is being recognized around the world. I am glad to know that "Canada is back!" Unless the issues presented here regarding Section 38(1)(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act are resolved soon, the great work this Ministry of Immigration is carrying out will be needlessly tarnished. I am convinced that the public debate around the issue of disability discrimination that Nico's case has sparked both in Canada and internationally will be courageously and honorably resolved by your office, to Canada's benefit.

Most encouraging was the immediate response to my note by Bernie and Kerry stating their appreciation for my sending the policy recommendations, and as discussed in our meeting in Ottawa, their determination “to move forward in a positive direction as it pertains to transforming current IRCC policies.” They closed by assuring me that their team “will continue to be in touch with (us) as to next steps.”

In addition to achieving the arduously sought after movement in the direction of policy change, we are also hopeful that Nico’s case will be positively resolved. In closing, I am extremely pleased to say that this government is showing an openness to recommendations, and is expressing an interest in resolving issues that are at odds with Canada’s true spirit of inclusion of diversity. Please share this tentative good news. I will keep you alerted to any new developments.
Thanks again to all of you.

Cheers,

Felipe

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