Quebec is scolded by the superior Court which prohibits to him to rule out immigration applications pending.
The judge Frédéric Bachand has issued, on Monday, an interim injunction requiring the ministry of Immigration of Quebec to continue to process information and make decisions as usual in respect of applications for Certificates of selection of Quebec in the framework of the regular Program for skilled workers (PRTQ) who are waiting.
This decision has the effect of preventing Quebec from putting in the trash the 18 000 pending requests that the government wanted to eliminate to start the process again to zero.
The bill was introduced on 7 February by the minister of Immigration, Simon Jolin-Barrette, was to start all over again, an approach that was “essentially motivated by a concern for efficiency in processing immigration applications”, noted the magistrate.
However, the Association québécoise des avocats immigration law (québec immigration lawyers association) argued that “the minister has acted illegally,” noting among other things that approximately 6000 of these candidates already living in Quebec, and has relied on the urgency to act before it is too late for all of the candidates.
The judge Bachand gives them reason as to the urgency and recognizes without difficulty the appearance of a right required for a process of injunction.
In its decision of 16 pages, he writes that the claim of the applicants”, according to which they are entitled to require the minister to resume the processing of applications pending within the framework of the PRTQ has a strong chance of success”.
He assents also to the argument that the plaintiffs would suffer significant harm if their requests are not dealt with : “a significant number of candidates […] would have received a CSQ [Certificate of selection of Quebec] during the next few months and there is no doubt that these applicants would suffer harm at the less serious if the injunctions were not issued”.
He even notes that “some of them […] would suffer irreparable harm” because they would no longer be eligible after a certain time because of their age.
As to those who would be eligible, “the prejudice which they would suffer by being forced to go back to square one would be far from minor”.
The decision is valid for 10 days, which is the limit of a preliminary injunction. This means that the parties will return to the Court next week, but the nature of the proceedings to come, remains to be determined. The government could appeal, but this situation is rather rare, the québec immigration lawyers association expect instead that the Court extends the preliminary injunction and set a date for the hearing of an application for an interlocutory injunction.