(Pixabay)

Deported B.C. man who came to Canada as a baby granted chance at return

Len Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017

A Courtenay, B.C. man who was deported at 59 despite living in Canada since he was seven months old has won a shot at returning home.

A federal court has granted Len Van Heest a judicial review of his permanent and temporary residency applications.

“Life handed Len Van Heest a tough hand,” Justice Yvan Roy said in his Feb. 7 ruling, which reviewed a senior immigration officer’s decision to deny the applications.

“One would expect a more careful and nuanced examination of the extremely peculiar circumstances of this case.”

Van Heest’s application will be given to a different officer for review.

Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017, and court documents say he has been living in a shelter where he can’t communicate with anyone because he doesn’t speak the language.

The documents say he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 16 and committed more than 40 offences in Canada, including an assault with a weapon, uttering threats and mischief.

He was granted many stays in the years since the immigration department issued a removal order in 2008, but was ultimately deported.

In spite of his being outside the country, an application for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds filed in June 2016 was never withdrawn. On April 15, 2017, Van Heest also requested a temporary resident permit to allow him to return to Canada on a temporary basis.

Both applications were denied on July 24, 2018.

READ MORE: Pressure mounts to stop deportation of Courtenay man who came to Canada as a baby

The immigration officer said in the July decision that he or she was not convinced that the problems related to Van Heest’s separation from his loved ones, including sadness, were sufficient to warrant an exemption from his inadmissibility for serious criminality. The person cited Van Heest’s “moderate degree of establishment,” stable health and living conditions in the Netherlands.

Roy’s ruling says Van Heest had known Canada as his only country of residence.

“He has spent his whole life in Canada. He is Canadian except for the fact that, for a reason unknown, his parents never obtained Canadian citizenship for him in spite of the fact that they themselves became Canadian citizens,” Roy said.

Roy said the officer fairly summarized Van Heest’s “sad story,” including the anxiety and remorse he has experienced because of the deportation and the hardship caused by his separation from family.

The officer seems to recognize that Van Heest’s criminal record speaks to his mental illness, but ultimately concluded he can’t be absolved from all responsibility on that basis, the ruling says.

While the immigration officer concluded the hardship facing Van Heest is not enough to grant him residency on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, Roy argues that hardship is no longer the test.

“It is rather whether a reasonable person in a civilized community would be excited by a desire to relieve the misfortune of another,” the ruling says, pointing to a 2015 Supreme Court of Canada ruling.

“It will be for a different decision-maker to make a determination considering the matter through the appropriate lens, which must include the desire to relieve the misfortune of someone in appropriate circumstances.”

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Alberta Election called for April 16th

Upcoming election will be about who is fit to be Premier, says Notley

Red Deer athletes qualify for Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru

The official Pan American Games will be held from July 26th to Aug. 11th

Local youngsters lend a helping hand to the Red Deer Hospital

First Steps and Beyond School students donate to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Red Deer RCMP arrest man during break and enter in progress

RCMP found two males in the parking garage attempting to steal a vehicle

Red Deer RCMP announce new Officer in Charge

Grobmeier has 26 years of service with the RCMP where he has moved through the ranks across Canada

Defiant vigil starts healing in New Zealand after massacre

Police say the gunman in the shooting that killed 50 acted alone

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

UPDATE Leduc RCMP say sexual assault claim was false

UPDATE Leduc RCMP say investigation revealed sexual assault never took place

Fought to unite Alberta conservatives: Former MP Kenney ready to run for premier

Kenney, 50, was born in Oakville, Ont., raised in Saskatchewan, and spent his adult years in Alberta

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley wants chance to ‘finish that job’

Notley, 54, is the daughter of the late Grant Notley, who led the NDP from 1968 to 1984

PHOTOS: Massive fire at Wetaskiwin’s Rigger’s Hotel

Multiple fire departments involved, building badly damaged

Alberta government announces further easing of oil production restrictions

The government said it will continue to monitor the market and its response to the increases

Trudeau condemns hateful, ‘toxic segments’ of society after New Zealand shooting

Prime Minister expressed sorrow at the many attacks in recent years

Air Canada grounds its Boeing Max 8s until at least July 1 to provide certainty

Airlines around the world have been working to redeploy their fleets since their Max 8s were grounded last week

Most Read