Federal Court


Citizenship

APPEAL
No way to tell from record why DNA requirement imposed, and upon what authority

Delegate of Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (“officer”), had refused application of foreign national citizen of Philippines (“mother”) and her husband, who was Canadian citizen (“father”) on behalf of their minor child, for Certificate of Citizenship under s. 12(1) of Citizenship Act (Can.). Citizenship and Immigration Canada found that there was insufficient proof that Canadian citizen was child’s biological father, and therefore refused application for Citizenship Certificate. Father and mother were advised that DNA evidence would be required to establish that Canadian citizen was child’s father. Certificate of Live Birth for child had been provided, however DNA evidence was not provided and application for Citizenship Certificate was denied. Only reason given for DNA demand and refusal to accept birth certificate was that child was born at home with mid-wife and not in hospital. Application allowed; decision quashed and matter returned for reconsideration by different officer. Reason why DNA requirement was needed for child born at home was not articulated. There was no evidence that reason for this requirement was ever explained to mother and father or that it was publically available in policy manual or elsewhere. There was no indication that mother and father were advised that s. 3(1)(b) could be satisfied in any other way than through DNA testing. There was no way to tell from record why DNA requirement had been imposed, and upon what authority. Without this information, decision lacked intelligibility and transparency to render it reasonable. Because rationale and legal justification for DNA requirement were never explained to mother and father, they had no opportunity to argue or explain why it should not be applied to them, or opportunity to offer alternative evidence that could suffice to satisfy s. 3(1)(b) of Act. This was procedurally unfair.

Watzke v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) (Jan. 8, 2014, F.C., James Russell J., File No. T-229-12) 236 A.C.W.S. (3d) 301.

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