Project Description

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Erica Olmstead
Partner / Lawyer

Erica Olmstead practices immigration, refugee and criminal law.

Erica has assisted individuals from all over the world make applications to immigrate to and obtain status in Canada. She has extensive experience resolving particularly complex inadmissibility cases for persons who face legal hurdles in seeking to get or keep their status in Canada. Erica regularly appears before all divisions of the Immigration and Refugee Board and the Federal Court, and she has acted in cases before the British Colombia Court of Appeal, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. She provides advice and assistance to refugees seeking to make a claim in Canada or apply for resettlement from overseas. She also assists individuals facing criminal charges or seeking to appeal a conviction or sentence, where there is an immigration nexus, a Charter issue or an error in the lower court judgment.

Erica also works as a case review lawyer with the Appeals Department at the Legal Services Society, where she advises staff in all areas of immigration, refugee and criminal law, reviews cases for merit, and works to promote access to justice. She is also a course lead coordinator and instructor with the University of British Columbia, Certificate in Immigration, Laws, Policies and Procedures program (Appeals, Detention and Humanitarian & Compassionate course), and she assists with instructing the Appellate Advocacy course at the University of British Columbia, Allard School of Law.

She has published numerous immigration-related articles and is a regular presenter at immigration and refugee legal education conferences and events across Canada.

Reported Case History

Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada v. Thampeernayagam Rajaratnam, et al., 2020 SCC Case number 38812 – lead co-counsel for Respondent, successful dismissal of Crown’s application for leave

application for leave dismissed —Charter of Rights  — Constitutional law — Right to life, liberty and security of person — Right to a fair hearing — MLACMA

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, et al. v. Tusif Ur Rehman Chhina, 2018 SCC 29 – lead counsel for intervener Canadian Counsel for Refugees

detention — habeas corpus application — immigration — detainee — Charter of Rights

R. v. Wong, 2018 SCC 25 – co-counsel for Appellant

guilty plea — uninformed — collateral consequences —  deportation — appeal allowed

B010 v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), [2015] 3 SCR 704 – co-counsel for Appellant

people smuggling — context of transnational crime — organized criminality — asylum-seekers — appeal allowed

B010 Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, 2014 CanLII 38977 (SCC) – co-counsel for Appellant

motion for reconsideration — extension of time — granted — prorogation

Tran v. Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), [2017] 2 SCR 289 – consultation and research for written arguments

term of imprisonment — conditional sentences — serious criminality  — admissibility — appeal allowed

R. v. Appulonappa, [2015] 3 SCR 754 – consultation and research for written arguments

smuggling — humanitarian — asylum-seekers — undocumented — Charter of Rights —  overbroad — appeal allowed

R. v. G., 2019 BCCA 279

sentence — trafficking — serious criminality — reinstatement — abandoned

R. v. M., 2019 BCCA 272

convictions — guilty pleas — immigration consequences — violating — deportation

R. v. R., 2019 BCCA 209 (CanLII)

asylum seeker — humanitarian aid — migrants — mutual aid — defences

R. v. W., 2018 BCCA 360

collateral immigration consequences — dial-a-dope — offender — sentencing — cocaine

R. v D., 2018 BCSC 1496

sentence — rehabilitation — probation — tellers — commit robbery

R. v H., 2018 BCSC 1171

restitution — sentencing — mile — rate — employment

R. v. D, 2017 BCCA 266

sentence — trafficking — cocaine — immigration consequences — mandatory minimum

R. v. Z, 2017 BCCA 185

sentence — assault — credit for pre-sentence custody — time served — uttering threats

R. v. R, 2017 BCCA 53

breaking into a coin-operated device — conviction — parking meter — indictment — instrument

R. v. Z, 2016 BCSC 895

pre-sentence custody — effective sentence — deportation — presentence — time

R. v. T, 2016 BCSC 2479

six-month conditional sentence — extension of time — immigration status — deportation — interests of justice

R. v. W, 2016 BCCA 416

guilty plea — immigration consequences — miscarriage of justice — sentence — conviction

R. v. K, 2016 BCCA 123

six-month sentence — collateral immigration consequences — permanent resident — criminality — aware

R. v. A, 2016 BCSC 937

declaration of invalidity — enactment so repealed — offence — suspension of invalidity — conviction

R. v. K, 2014 BCCA 300

conditional sentence — illegal sentence — offence — probation — consecutively

R. v. N, 2013 BCCA 339

sentence — offender — insurance company — ability to pay the restitution — demonstrably unfit

R. v. P, 2013 BCCA 321

sentence — substance abuse — presentence — probation — custody

R. v. D, 2013 BCCA 222

three-year probation — one-year conditional sentence — term of restitution — expires — conditional discharge

R. v. D, 2013 BCCA 153

conditional discharge — sentence — lifetime ineligibility — collateral consequences — family unit

R. v. H, 2012 BCCA 470

sentence — unwell — imposed — heroin — sentencing

R. v. A, 2014 BCCA 163

human smuggling — international — refugees — family members — overbroad

R. v. A, 2013 BCSC 198

declaration of invalidity — void — stay — human smuggling — struck

R. v. A, 2013 BCSC 31

human smuggling — refugees — overbroad — international — hypotheticals 

B010 v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2013 FCA 87 

people smuggling — inadmissibility — material benefit — standard of review — crew  

Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness) v. T, [2016] 2 FCR 459, 2015 FCA 237 

maximum term of imprisonment — offence — foreign national — punishable by a maximum term — delegate 

S. v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 361

children — long-term adverse effects — humanitarian and compassionate — failure to consider

M. v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2019 FC 1618

overseas refugee resettlement — durable solution — best interests of children — reunification

Mason v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2019 FC 1251

inadmissibility — criminality — knock-out punch — statutory interpretation — security

Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness) v. Hamdan, 2019 FC 1129

bondsperson — detention — danger to the public — conditions — release  — habeas corpus filed in BCSC

H. v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2019 FC 993

pre-removal risk assessment — lack of independence — moot — refugee — Charter of Rights

D. v. Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2019 FC 174

criminal — admissibility — disclosure — fairness — section 44 report

M. T. v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2018 FC 1216

refugee — lived — credibility — leaving — subjective fear — unreasonable finding

Overturning – X (Re), 2018 CanLII 128210 (CA IRB)

Z. v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2017 FC 1005

best interests of the child — hardship — humanitarian and compassionate — criminality — reconsideration

M. v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2016 FC 1245

term of imprisonment — jurisdiction — immigration appeal division — access — conditional sentence order

L. v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2018 FC 272

inadmissibility — extension of time — delay — people smuggling — refugee — Supreme Court of Canada

K. v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2015 FC 182

credibility findings — standard of review — refugee — Iran — proselytizing — Christian

Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) v. S.M.G.L, 2014 FC 986

refugee — cyber-attack plot — whistle-blowing activities — well-founded fear of persecution — attempts to expose

A. v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2016 FC 29

refugee — cessation — country of nationality — passport — re-availed himself of s diplomatic — minor

S. v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2015 FC 1081

subjective fear — family — Afghanistan — threats — business — night letter

Olvera Romero v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), [2015] 3 FCR 265, 2014 FC 671

cessation application — refugee — procedural fairness — permanent residence — humanitarian and compassionate

M. v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2013 FC 1162

state protection — violence — gang — corruption — police — Honduras

B010 v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2012 FC 569

refugee — smuggling — admissibility — concept of wilful blindness — passengers — crew — ship

T. v. Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2014 FC 1040

punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment — conditional sentence — officer — admissibility

F. v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2012 FC 1394

risk assessment — adverse credibility findings — forged passport — interview — decision-makers

M. v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2012 FC 131

subversion by force — admissibility — organization — ideology — reasonable grounds to believe 

Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) v. B031, 2011 FC 878 — 2011-07-14 

identity — migrants — moot — detention — applications for judicial review 

X (Re) v Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 CanLII 24492 (IRB – IAD)
humanitarian — children — compassionate — residency obligation — Venezuela — reconsideration

X (Re), 2018 CanLII 128210 (CA IRB – RPD)

pre-hearing conference — cessation — vacation — joining — applications

X (Re), 2018 CanLII 132756 (CA IRB – RAD)

father — credibility — evidence — post-traumatic stress disorder — photograph —  Mali — appeal allowed

H. v Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2018 CanLII 139451 (CA IRB – IAD)

removal — warrant special relief in light — best interests of child directly affected — positive factor

N. v Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2015 CanLII 91109 (CA IRB- IAD)

removal order — serious criminality — trafficking in a controlled substance — humanitarian — mental health

X (Re), 2015 CanLII 111365 (CA IRB – RAD)

passport — religion — re-determination by a differently constituted — credibility — Iran —  RAD

X. v Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2015 CanLII 98282 (CA IRB- IAD)

removal — stay — evidence — Congo — mental health — hardship — humanitarian

X (Re), 2016 CanLII 107644 (CA IRB – RAD)

identity — claimant — evidence — documents — credibility –Eritrean —  RAD

X (Re), 2014 CanLII 95080 (CA IRB – RAD)

pastor — credibility — mistake in name — claimant – RAD — Colombia — allowed

X (Re), 2014 CanLII 96093 (CA IRB – RPD)

claimant — fears —  recordings — group – Iran – Mexico – Political Opinion – Conspiracy

X(Re), 2013 (CA IRB – RPD)

Cessation —  re-availment — visiting sick father — no intention

Legal Services Society, Appeal Department, case review lawyer, 2012 – Present

Instructor and Course Lead / Coordinator – University of British Colombia, Certificate in Immigration, Laws, Policies and Procedures – Humanitarian & Compassionate Applications, Appeals and Detentions Module, 2015 to Present

Appellate Advocacy, Assistant Instructor, University of British Colombia, 2015-Present

UBC Law Students’ Legal Advice Program, Supervising lawyer, 2013 – Present

Association of Legal Aid Lawyers, Board of Directors, 2019 – Present

Canadian Council for Refugees, Legal Affairs Committee, 2019- 2022

Canadian Bar Association, Federal Court Citizenship, Immigration and Refugee Law Bar Liaison Committee (2019-2020) CBA representative; Refugee Law Working Group Member (2018-2020)

Legal Services Society, Immigration Detention Duty Counsel, 2012 – Present

Ministry of Children and Family Services, contract lawyer for minors in care, 2018 – Present

Immigration and Refugee Board, Designated Representative contracts, 2011 – Present

Colloque 2019 de l’Association québécoise des avocats et avocates en droit de l’immigration (AQAADI): Au coeur de tous les débats AQAADI – Canada c. Chhina 2019 CSC 29 et l’habeas corpus, Montreal, 4 octobre 2019

Halifax Refugee Clinic’s  Immigration and Criminality conference– Fairness letters, s. 44 reports, admissibility hearings and exclusion, the Immigration Appeal Division, and Conviction or sentence appeals v. Wong, 2018 SCC 25, 28-29 March 2019

Canadian Bar Association, BC Immigration Law Conference – Appearing Before The Immigration & Refugee Board – Criminal Inadmissibility Updates, March 2019

Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, UBC Chapter – Habeas Corpus for immigration detainees and Chhina Canada (SCC), November 6, 2018

Legal Services Society & Community Partners conference – Bringing family members to Canada , July 2018

Borderlines Podcast: Discussing v. Wong, 2018 SCC 25

Vancouver Court House Library webinar – Introduction to Refugee Law, March 6, 2018

University of British Columbia, Law Students Legal Advice Program – Immigration law Primer, 2018

Canadian Counsel for Refugees webinar – Criminal Inadmissibility: Understanding the consequences for non-citizens, Access to Justice Series , 7 March 2018

Steering Committee Member- International Humanitarian Law Conference with the International Committee of the Red Cross, March, 2017 and February, 2018

CLE BC Immigration Issues in Depth conference – Intersections of Immigration, Criminal and International Law, November, 2017

Legal Services Society Staff conference – Refugees and the Law, May 4, 2017

University of British Colombia, Certificate in Immigration, Laws, Policies and Procedures course – Refugee Appeal Division, May, 2015

Canadian Bar Association National Immigration Law Conference – Cessation of Refugee Status, 2015

Downtown East Side Legal Access and Barriers Roundtable – Immigration Status, UBC Learning Exchange, 2015

CLE BC Immigration Issues in Depth – The Ties that Bind or Loss of Permanent Residence Status, 2014

Amnesty International seminar – International human rights and refugee law, 2013

Canadian Counsel for Refugees webinar – Cessation of refugee status, 2014

Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers – Cessation Applications Background & Strategies, 2014

Immigration law presentations to various community groups and media outlets

 

Contributor – CBA Immigration Law Section, Administrative deferral of removal for applicants in the “Spouse/Common-law Partner in Canada” class and applicants for permanent residence on H&C grounds, September 18, 2019

Contributor – CBA Immigration Law Section, Bill C-97 — Part 4, Division 16 – Changes to Canada’s Refugee Determination System, May 15, 2019

Criminal Inadmissibility: Understanding the consequences for non-citizens, 7 March 2018

‘Cessation under s. 108(1) of IRPA since the “Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act” (CBA National Immigration Law Conference), May 7, 2015

Researcher and contributor – Invisible Chains: Canada’s Underground World Of Human Trafficking, October, 2011

Researcher – Autonomous Motherhood?: A Socio-Legal Study of Choice and Constraint, 2015

Guide for National Planning: To Prevent, Stop and Redress Violations of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, 2009

Law Society of British Columbia, Authorized Practising Member, 2012- Present

Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, 2011- Present

Canadian Bar Association, Refugee Law Working Group Member (2018-2019), CBA representative on the Federal Court Citizenship, Immigration and Refugee Law Bar Liaison Committee (2019-2020)

Canadian Council for Refugees

Refugee Lawyers Association

British Columbia Association of Legal Aid Lawyers, Board of Directors (2019- 2020)

Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia

Criminal Defence Advocacy Society

BC Civil Liberties Association