Canadian Lawyer

October 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 44 of 59 43 isn't English and making myself understood, but it's incredible the barrier two pieces of cloth over our faces can be to expressing yourself — you have to learn to express your- self with your eyes, and that isn't always easy." In helping his clients immigrate to Canada, Sandaluk likens the law as a form of "compet- itive storytelling. "My job is to listen to my client's story, understand the situation and help them tell that story in a way that makes sense to an immigration office or a government deci- sion-maker," he says. It's a matter of "getting inside somebody's head" and understanding why they made the decisions to come to Canada. He recalls some recent cases of Palestinians working in Saudi Arabia who were working under conditions that virtually amounted to slavery and how using the terminology of slavery helped him win their cases not just because they were true but because their trou- bles could be understood by officials here. "It can be an incredibly rewarding expe- rience, and a lot of people are depending on you telling that story in a way that a Canadian immigration official can understand." McCrea Immigration Law Vancouver Immigration law in Canada can at the best of times be a "Wild West" of policy, rules and regulations, says McCrea Immigration Law partner Kyle Hyndman. And that has been "doubly true" since the COVID-19 pandemic began, making it especially challenging for lawyers in handling what would appear to be the most straightforward cases. That unpredictability has "really been compounded right now," Hyndman says, adding that that is why he thinks immigra- tion lawyers "can add value now, not just in reading the official law and policy but also in having their ears to the ground and getting a sense of what is happening." Keeping up with all the changes in immi- gration rules has been challenging, Hyndman says, as the government has been constantly changing the immigration landscape as it adapts to the circumstances brought on by the pandemic. Giving clients some level of confidence in what is possible right now has been a constant preoccupation for the firm. "Do clients want assurance on absolutely every single immigration matter? No. But they do want some confidence on what is possible or not." Yet this very unpredictability is also providing McCrea with opportunity, Hyndman says, to use its expertise to handle these challenging situations and offer clients a better understanding of what is possible and what workarounds there might be. Hyndman describes McCrea as one of the "original immigration law firms in Western Canada. It was founded in the 1970s by Dennis McCrea, a criminal lawyer who saw a growing demand for dealing with immi- gration issues. In 1989, he founded McCrea and Associates, which operated until 2015 until it was bought by the current partners — Hyndman, Deanna Okun-Nachoff and Meika Lalonde — and morphed into its current form. "We're not trying to be the biggest firm. We want to be the best at what we do." McCrea offers a full range of immigration, refugee and citizenship solicitor and litigation services to individuals and companies of all sizes, Hyndman says, one of the few firms in Western Canada to do so. In terms of significant cases on which the firm has worked, partner and litiga- tion specialist Okun-Nachoff has argued a line of cases in Federal Court that support a more rationalized interpretation of the rules around caregiver and other work permit and temporary resident visa applications abroad. A nationally recognized adviser on issues related to foreign caregivers and human trafficking, Hyndman says she has success- fully taken aim at the way visa offices are

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