Legal Aid Alberta (LAA) provides support to some of the most vulnerable in society, including new immigrants or those who have left their lives behind to escape persecution. Our commitment to protecting the rights of all our clients can be seen in a recent success story related to a refugee claimant.
A young woman from an African nation had her refugee hearing, represented by Legal Aid Alberta immigration lawyer Ruth Williams. The young woman was seeking protection from persecution due to her sexual orientation. She self-identifies as a lesbian and her country of origin is known for its anti-gay government policies.
When she was living in this country, she was forced by her family to marry a man even though her family knew about her orientation. While married to her husband she met a woman and began an affair with her. When her husband found out he assaulted our client and her partner. Our client was forced to flee her marital home and eventually she came to Canada when the husband would not stop his campaign of threats and intimidation.
The decision-maker at a refugee hearing is known as a “Member”. In this case, the Member found in our favour and our client’s claim for refugee status was accepted.
“Stories like these should serve as a reminder to Albertans that we are a welcoming place to many diverse peoples who have endured so much to enjoy freedoms we sometimes take for granted,” said Williams.
This is only one example of many where LAA was able to ensure access to justice for our clients. In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, 883 certificates were issued for immigration matters, with over 825 distinct clients represented by LAA. In total, LAA represented clients from over 100 countries, the majority coming from Nigeria, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Turkey, and Uganda.
The most common type of immigration legal issue that LAA assists with is refugee claims. Services are also available for judicial reviews of failed refugee claims, detention reviews, refugee appeals, admissibility hearings (for people facing criminal deportation/removal) and removal appeals to the Immigration Appeal Division.
If you are dealing with this type of legal issue and need legal representation, contact us toll free at 1-866-845-3425 to complete an application. You may be required to provide us with certain immigration documents (i.e. your basis of claim) as they relate to your legal issue.
If you are dealing with an immigration law issue that LAA does not assist with, view our ‘Support for Albertans’ online resource or contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada at www.cic.gc.ca or call 1-888-242-2100.