Setting Fire To Sister-In-Law No Barrier To Immigration

Setting fire to sister-in-law no barrier to immigration

Katie Rook
National Post
Canwest News Service

November 27, 2008
Published: 3:31 am

TORONTO – A man convicted of killing his sister-in-law in India 11 years ago by dousing her in kerosene and setting her on fire will be allowed to sponsor his new wife for immigration to Canada, the Federal Court has ruled.

The court found Immigration Board provisions against allowing someone convicted of a domestic violence offence to sponsor an immigrant are only for those convicted of harming a blood relative, and not an in-law.

Baljinder Singh Brar, a Canadian citizen, was married in March 1997, one month before he was convicted in India of culpable homicide in the death of his brother's wife, who died from severe burns.

Brar was released from jail in July 2004, returned to Canada, and six months later submitted an application to the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi for spousal sponsorship.

An immigration official rejected the application, citing Brar's conviction as a failure to comply with Immigration and Refuge Protection Regulations, which bar those who have caused bodily harm against a relative.

Brar successfully appealed the decision citing that an offence involving a “sister-in-law” is different than an offence involving a “relative” as defined by the board.

The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration asked that the decision be reviewed. But this month, the Federal Court ruled that Brar is eligible to sponsor his wife to come to Canada, and that the board had not erred in its interpretation of the regulations.

The word “sister-in law” does not fall within the definition of “family member” as outlined by the Immigration and Refugee Board, the ruling states.