Would-be immigrant from India awarded $3,000 over a lost email
D.C. Patel’s application was rejected because he didn’t respond to an email he never got — and Ottawa can’t prove ever existed.
NICHOLAS KEUNG / TORONTO STAR Order this photo
“Email could be efficient and fast in sending information, but there’s the black hole of email where it just disappeared. Over-reliance on technology can be dangerous,” said lawyer Karen Kwan Anderson, who won an appeal of her client’s rejection for immigration in federal court.
Call it the case of the vanishing email.
Canada’s federal court has awarded a prospective immigrant from India $3,000 — and a second shot at coming here — over “a failed email communication” on the part of Immigration Canada.
In granting the appeal in the man’s favour, the court ruled that the responsibility of ensuring the delivery and receipt of immigration correspondence falls squarely on the sender and recipient, and laid out the conditions whereby one party should be held accountable for the lost email.
With Citizenship and Immigration Canada moving toward paperless online applications, an increasing number of cases seem to be cropping up in which lost communication led to applicants being rejected (though no statistics are available).
In the Indian man’s case, the court found there had been “a breach of procedural fairness” in turning him down because he hadn’t responded to an email he never received.
“The judge just asked both parties, ‘Where’s the email?’ And there was nothing,” said lawyer Karen Kwan Anderson, who asked the court to review the rejection of her client’s application under the skilled workers program.
“Email could be efficient and fast in sending information, but there’s the black hole of email where it just disappeared. Over-reliance on technology can be dangerous.”
The first court cases centred on lost emails came at least as early as 2010, said Anderson, who has encountered situations in her own practice where she and her clients “didn’t receive email requests for further information, or received email (intended) for someone else.”
The applicant in this case, Dharmendrakumar Chandrakantbhai Patel, applied for immigration to Canada in June 2010 as a computer and information systems manager.