Tag Archives: COVID updates

New Post (via Edelmann Blog), Some Updates, and Some Thoughts

Hello VIB Readers:

I have been on a bit of a summer hiatus with writing new posts. I am currently teaching two courses and as well winding down a third job supervising law students at Allard’s Law Students Legal Advice Program.

I am going to be shifting my attention back (hopefully) to trying to get a grasp on how to shift my practice more sustainably in the new digital-COVID age and as well pick up a few more tools in my toolbox (a proper critical race theory lens/possibly opening up a few more economic streams to balance out the heavy litigation/H&C work). I am looking forward to it. I have always been ‘busy’ for the sakes of being busy, so it is quite difficult for me to to try and carve out time to just think, but it is that time that I believe is so precisely important for me right now.

August and September are also panning out to be very busy on the appeals front with a few matters coming down the pipeline.

In this post I wanted to share three things.

1) New Blog Post;

First, I wrote a new blog post. I have been thinking a lot about judicial reviews recently and dissecting my own experience in the recent case of S v. Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2020 FC 718. I read Justice Favel’s decision in Ouansa v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration),2020 FC 632.

The post is available here.

2) News About Vancouver Immigration Blog

After 5+ long years, I am finally doing a major revamp of Vancouver Immigration Blog. I am working with a local website/business development company to rebuild my site, make it more navigable and more accessible. It is probably the biggest investment I have made in my online presence since starting the blog so I am excited for it and hoping it inspires more creative content;

3)  On Laws, Regulations, and Enforcement

I have had a very interesting long weekend. I went out to the Sunshine Coast for a little fishing. I did not realize how big the Filipino/Vietnamese/and Chinese diasporic and tourist communities are there. Fishing (it turns out) is a social gathering spot. There is a very interesting place in Davis Bay on the pier. Half of it is dedicated to swimming, mostly local kids jumping off incredible heights into the water. The other half is for fishing, mostly Filipino families gathering and sharing knowledge and stories. Recently, this place has come under some fire with efforts made by the local Davis Bay community to try and regulate an end to fishing off the pier.

Overfishing is certainly a problem. I witnessed some very bad practices – including fishers that took the lives of two shark as bait. Others openly defied the ban on crabbing after dark. I was grateful that a few local members of the Filipino community (who lived there) made sure to emphasize the regulations. At the same time, I could not help but think a total ban (mostly in favour of the non-POC children swimming and sending it off cliffs) also comes from a place of privilege. Several local (more affluent) community members own boats allowing them to fish and crab in the Ocean rather than use the pier. Yet, the pier was where I saw multi-generational families – young adults with their elderly grandmas and grandpas, share an activity together. Regulations that ultimately re-enforce privilege, from my perspective, turn into a sword rather than a shield, cutting apart communities of colour and re-asserting spacial dominance.

At the same time, I had another experience on B.C. ferries where every driver coming in was required to carry masks and there were several announcements of the requirement for all those not socially distancing within their cars to wear a mask. Other than one other Asian brother, I think I was the only mask I saw during the whole ferry boarding and ride. The staff themselves did not wear masks. No one was enforcing as a whole slew of non-POC gathered at the front of the boat, not socially distancing, and not wearing masks. Given where this regulation was coming from, I found it ironic that in this case it could be easily ignored or not complied with – with no consequences.

What type of society are we building where those that institute policy and regulations (often side-stepping the arduous process of needing to go through the introduction of instituting laws) don’t follow them and do not want to lose their own freedoms, but at the same time will institute the same policy and regulations to control the freedoms of others for their own benefit.

I am starting to really think we need a stronger race equity lens to be able to formulate the language of opposition, the language of pointing out the blatant double standards. To show that colourblindness has been leveraged against POCs to maintain white privileges.

Until then, we will continue to be in this situation where we are defending and enforcing against our own rather than challenging the foundations and improving them in a more equitable way.

Lots that I am chewing on – on this B.C. day long weekend.

Quoted in Ritesh Matlani’s Medium piece: “The pandemic and immigrants — when your fresh start needs a reboot”

Recently, I haven’t been as active as I wanted to be. Partially because others have been doing a fantastic job and I am a huge believer in not overcrowding the information airways when others are doing such good work (shoutouts especially to Ravi Jain and the CBA Immigration Section Executives, Steven Meurrens, Julianna Daley and Migrant Workers Centre, Jim Wu, FACLBC, among many, many others). I am also grateful for the mentorship of my colleagues at Edelmann, and individuals such as Sam Plett (a brilliant lawyer out in Ottawa, formerly Toronto) who have given me a lot to think about with their words and imparted wisdom.

The other reason is that in my own way I have also been struggling with the pandemic. I have been struggling with staying healthy, motivated, and positive (crushing those ANTs!) among all the other things. I’m also in the middle of an internal/structural rebuild with many moving parts. Some of those parts include (like many courts have been doing) thinking about how to leverage technology,

Someone I assisted in the past, a creative mind, and film director Ritesh Matlani wrote this wonderful piece in the Medium where he  graciously quoted some of my thoughts on the recent COVID pandemic. Ritesh has a growing network in the Film and Television industry where he often assists others and advocates for those within the broader Asian diaspora, such as writing for the Cold Tea Collective.

I wanted to just share a few of the quotes in Ritesh’s piece below. I also would recommend everyone to go watch his film Nana. I’m still in line to see it but from what I read and what I know of Ritesh’s journey it likely is a magical short [edit: he just sent me the link to watch it and it is incredible].

The Medium piece is HERE:

My quoted section is as follows:

Will Tao is a solicitor with Edelmann & Co. Law Offices in Vancouver and had assisted me in my immigration process, first as a temporary worker and then for permanent residency. My case was complex and his expertise really got me through what can be a dark and daunting time for many immigrants.

“Our pathways to permanent residency, especially in the economic stream, are based on employer endorsement or job offer. Due to the pandemic, HR offices at limited capacities to write support letters for permanent resident candidates, many of whom are losing eligibility as they are no longer employed,” said Tao about the current scenario.

For citizenship, unfortunately, the delays of applications will become quite pronounced.

“I would not be surprised if citizenship applications take at least a year to possibly a year and a half longer than usual. Ironically, one of the only positive effects I have seen has been the lowering of Express Entry scores,” says Tao, who engages with both workers and students at a community level. Worry and confusion afflict those who have a precarious status or expired SIN numbers as little information is provided on how they can access relief funds. There are students who are panicked for funds to support their studies. Many are isolated in rented rooms with no ties in Canada. Others are choosing to defer their start dates and stay abroad. Online learning is going to become the new norm.

I wanted to also give you a quick update on my new norm. I realized that Twitter has been killing my brain so I have temporarily deactivated it. I hope to jump back before the 30 days takes away my account but I’m likely going to move to a more Peter Edelmann (Justice Edelmann, now) approach of tweeting only important immigration updates. I am trying to find a new platform for my race/equity writing and as well hold some of my own political views more to myself and express them through various organizations/efforts I am involved in.  In short – tweeting has overwhelmed me to the point of needing to step back and recognize the temporal nature of  a Tweet versus the longer need of deeper systemic efforts. It’s time for the horse blinders!

See you all shortly.