Nazhmetdinov v. Canada (MCI) 2024 FC 389

In Nazhmetdinov v. Canada (MCI) Justice Strickland examined the Applicant’s Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) decision. The Applicant was an Uzbek, holding Russian citizenship, and a Muslim. He arrived in Canada in 2017, and sought asylum based on his ethnicity, political opinion, and anti-corruption activism. His refugee claim was refused, and the Applicant subsequently applied for a PRRA, in which he alleged risk in returning to Russia as a result of his political opinion. Moreover, the Applicant claimed that he would be drafted into the Russian army, like many other Muslims in Russia, and forced to serve on the font lines of Russia’s war in Ukraine. The Applicant claimed he was a pacifist and opposed the war on Ukraine; he objected to serving in an army that was committing war crimes. The Officer refused the Applicant’s PRRA.

On judicial review, the first issue Justice Strickland considered was the drafting of Muslim Russians. Given the limited documentary evidence, the Court did not find that Muslim Russians were being deployed to the front lines due to their faith, and Justice Strickland was not persuaded that the PRRA Officer erred in finding that the Applicant failed to establish risk due to his Muslim heritage. The second issue considered was the avoidance of military service. Justice Strickland found that the Officer erred by failing to assess the Applicant’s documentary evidence to determine if it supported the claim that war crimes were or likely to be committed by Russia in its war against Ukraine, and subject to international condemnation. Furthermore, the Officer failed to assess whether the Applicant’s opposition to participating in the war was founded on genuine and sincere reasons of conscience and was sufficiently specific that, should the Applicant be returned to Russia, he would be at serious risk of persecution due to his political opinion. Justice Strickland granted leave in part, as the Officer’s treatment of mobilization of Muslim Russians to be reasonable. The redetermination was to be restricted to the issues of drafting and avoidance of military service.


Aliaj v. Canada (MCI) 2024 FC 352

In Aliaj v. Canada (MCI), Justice Turley reviewed the Applicant’s Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) decision. The Applicant fled Albania in 2018, seeking asylum in Canada based on his fear of persecution by the Margjekaj clan. The Refugee Protection Division (RPD) rejected his claim due to the availability of state protection in Albania. The Applicant submitted a PRRA in 2021, and provided new evidence that post dated the April 2019 RPD decision. The Applicant included evidence of an attack on his uncle by members of the Margjekaj clan in May 2021, and a blood feud declaration between the Margjekaj clan and the Applicant’s family. The Officer also refused the Applicant’s PRRA due to the availability of state protection. On judicial review, Justice Turley found that the Officer misconstrued the evidence related to Albania’s level of democracy. The Officer noted that Albania’s democracy score increased by 19%, a figure that was prominent in the state protection analysis. However, the Officer had misread the evidence, and Albania’s democracy score had actually been declining by 1% each year since 2019 and 2021.  Had the Officer properly interpreted the evidence, it may have lowered the Applicant’s evidentiary burden such that the Officer could have determined that the Applicant’s evidence was sufficient to rebut the presumption of state protection. The application for leave was allowed.


Ahmed v. Canada (MCI) 2024 FC 334

In Ahmed v. Canada (MCI) Justice Pentney analyzed the Applicants’ Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) decision. The Applicants, a couple and their three children, were all citizens of Djibouti, with the exception of the youngest child (who was born in Canada). The Applicants arrived in Canada in 2016 and were unsuccessful in claiming asylum. Shortly afterwards, the Applicants submitted their first H&C application, which was refused. The Applicants successfully appealed the refusal at the Federal Court (Ahmed, 2020 FC 777) and the matter was sent back for redetermination. The Applicants submitted an updated H&C application in 2020, but it was refused for a second time. This second decision was the subject of judicial review. Justice Pentney found that the Officer’s analysis of the Applicants’ establishment was fatally flawed for three inter-related reasons: 1) the Officer saw the Applicant’s successful integration into Canadian society as an aid when transitioning back to Djibouti-holding their success against them; 2)the Officer engaged in microscopic examination of many aspects of their establishment; and 3) the Officer gave great weight to evidence that was missing, without explaining why it was central to the analysis. The Officer’s findings did not demonstrate a global assessment of the Applicant’s situation in Canada. The application for leave was allowed.


Karam v. Canada (MCI) 2024 FC 343

In Karam v. Canada (MCI) Justice Sadrehashemi examined the Applicant’s Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) decision. The Applicant had successfully obtained refugee protection in 2009 based on fear of persecution by the Taliban in Pakistan. In 2019, the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) granted the Minister’s cessation application, based on reavailment. The Applicant had made return trips to Pakistan in 2011 and 2012. In 2021, the Applicant made a PRRA, and included new evidence of threats posed by the Taliban. The PRRA was rejected.  On judicial review, Justice Sadrehashemi found that the Officer unreasonably required the Applicant to “overcome” the cessation finding.  Justice Sadrehashemi argued that the PRRA Officer is not conducting an appeal of the RPD’s decision, whether it relates to the Minister’s cessation application, or a claim under section 96 or 97 of IRPA. In this case, the Officer failed to explain how the RPD’s findings about the Applicant’s past trips to Pakistan (2011 and 2012) affected his risk in the present day. The focus of “overcoming” the cessation determination led the Officer to an assessment that did not grapple with the key task of a PRRA Officer: to evaluate whether the Applicant would face risk under s.96 or 97 of the IRPA if he were to return to Pakistan today. The application for leave was allowed.