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The Toronto Star – Tuesday, January 27, 1998

STILL TOGETHER: Thanks to a Federal Court ruling, Thilliampalam Kanthasami, 58, will be allowed to stay in Canada with his son, Thushyanthan, 14, who had earlier been granted refugee status.

A Sri Lankan man has been allowed to remain in Canada with his son after the Federal Court asked the immigration department to reassess his case.

The decision means that 58-year-old Thilliampalam Kanthasami of Downsview will be allowed to stay here with his 14-year old son, Thushyanthan, who had earlier been granted refugee status.

“I feel very good and I’m happy,” Kanthasami said last night. “I’ll be a good person and I can live with my son. And now I’ll try to get the rest of my family here.”

Kanthasami, a former police officer, arrived in Canada in 1990 and made a refugee claim that was denied. After several appeals, a deportation order was finally issued to him in 1996.

In 1995, his son was granted refugee status after he claimed he might be recruited by rebel groups who were enlisting boys as young as 10 to fight against the government in a civil war that has been raging for 13 years.

Kanthasami finally appealed to the Federal Court, which said the immigration officer had made several errors such as saying that he couldn’t speak English and that he had been collecting welfare, when he hadn’t.

Mr. Justice Frederick Gibson said the immigration officer’s decision was “either on its face perverse or there were facts before the officer which required a different result.

The case was then sent back to Citizenship and Immigration Canada to be reassessed by a different immigration officer, who reversed the earlier decision.

“It’s really a sweet ending to a long struggle,” said Max Berger, Kanthasami’s lawyer. “He had lost all of these appeals when all he wanted was to remain in Canada and care for his son.”

Berger said the difference is that since the boy had been accepted as a refugee, Kanthasami couldn’t take him back to Sri Lanka. And if Kanthasami returned to his homeland, there would be no one to take care of the boy.

Kanthasami, who works at a service station, will now try to bring his wife and another son and daughter to Canada.


Max Berger is a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba and was educated at the University of Manitoba and York University. Mr. Berger is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Canada. He has represented immigration clients from all corners of the world and in every area of immigration law.

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