League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada v. Odynsky, 2010 FCA 307

Federal Court of Appeal

[1] Shortly after the end of World War II, the respondents Messrs. Odynsky and Katriuk emigrated from war-ravaged Europe. They adopted Canada as their new home. They became citizens. They have lived in Canada ever since, for over half a century.

[2] However, each had a hidden past. Only recently has that past come to light. During World War II, each served with forces, or in association with forces, that committed brutal, inhuman crimes.

[3] Each concealed that past from Canada’s immigration and citizenship authorities. Under subsection 10(1) of the Citizenship Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-29, citizenship can be revoked where it was obtained by false representation or fraud or by knowingly concealing material circumstances. Citizenship revocation proceedings under subsection 10(1) of the Act began against Messrs. Odynsky and Katriuk.

[4] After an exhaustive fact-finding process, described below, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (the “Minister”) issued reports recommending that the citizenships of Messrs. Odynsky and Katriuk be revoked. But the Governor in Council decided to reject the Minister’s recommendations. As a result, Messrs. Odynsky and Katriuk today remain citizens of Canada.

[5] The appellant is dedicated to bringing war criminals to justice, representing victims of war crimes, and influencing government policy on these subjects. It disagreed with the Governor in Council’s decisions. Therefore, it applied for judicial review in the Federal Court, seeking to quash the decisions.

[6] Each application raised four questions for the Federal Court’s consideration:

1. Did the appellant have the right, or “standing,” to go to the Federal Court and challenge the Governor in Council’s decision?

2. If so, did the Governor in Council have the power under subsection 10(1) of the Act to reject the Minister’s recommendation?

3. If so, was the Governor in Council’s decision to reject the Minister’s recommendation reasonable?

4. Was the Governor in Council entitled to reject the Minister’s recommendation and decide the matter without receiving the submissions the appellant had made to the Minister?

[7] The Federal Court answered all these questions in the affirmative and dismissed the applications for judicial review. Its reasons in Mr. Odynsky’s case are at 2009 FC 647. Its reasons in Mr. Katriuk’s case appear in an order dated June 19, 2009 and simply adopt the reasons given in Mr. Odynsky’s case.

[8] In this Court, the appellant submits that the Federal Court erred on all these questions. For the reasons set out below, the Federal Court did not err. Therefore, the appeal should be dismissed.