Immigration status, solved.
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We get status.

From sponsorships and visas, to refugee claims, inadmissibility and appeals, McCarten Immigration & Refugee Law Office is a full-service boutique for Canadian immigration, refugee and citizenship matters.

We understand status and get how important this is for you. You want the best chance for success. That’s why we are devoted to excellent service and cutting-edge knowledge of the law. Our approach has helped many people resolve their status in Canada. With your family or company’s future in the balance, our work is uncompromisingly detailed, creative and professional.

Get a skilled lawyer to walk with you through the complexity of Canadian law. Your status is our focus.


Come to Canada to visit, work, study or live.

+ Application Reviews
We offer a robust application review service for immigration do-it-yourselfers. Some applications look deceptively simple - but the risk of incomplete and returned, refused, or mistaken applications can have extremely serious and long-lasting impacts on your life.
If you have completed any application on your own, contact us for a detailed review of your materials before you send anything in. This is an affordable, scalable legal service to fit your needs. We use a systematic and efficient approach for our reviews, including producing a personalized report where necessary. We disclose our role to IRCC in compliance with the law.

+ Family Sponsorship
Sponsorship is a powerful tool for the reunification of families in Canada and abroad. The requirements, forms, guidelines, checklists and opportunities are ever-changing, and there are countless pitfalls along the way. Those traps can turn a simple inland spousal sponsorship into a crisis of lost status, scrambling for long-lost documents, and even lengthy family separation. It is essential to get legal advice as early as possible to give your application the best chance of success.
McCarten Law has years of experience with successful family sponsorships. We have even had success being retained late in the process to rescue sponsorships on the verge of refusal - but we recommend you contact us earlier instead!
We take a systematic and highly detailed approach to sponsorships from the moment you contact our office, from consultation and merits assessment, to information gathering and form preparation, to exhaustive evidence preparation and review. Book a consultation today to see how we can help.

+ Express entry, work/study permits and visas
Most people looking to study or work in Canada need a permit to do so, and travellers from a number of countries require visas. Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents may be eligible for super visas, which can relieve some of the difficulties around accessing the parent/grandparent sponsorship program.
McCarten Law is results-focused and experienced in obtaining visas and permits. Our creative approaches have helped secure long-shot permits in difficult and high-pressure situations. Choose our office to put your best foot forward in your application to come to Canada.

+ Humanitarian and compassionate applications
Humanitarian and compassionate applications (or "H&Cs") are intensive, complex and highly personalized applications for permanent residency from within Canada. The best H&C applications involve an exhaustive and targeted collection of good evidence, brilliant organization, and focused legal submissions.
Our approach to H&Cs starts with planning, strategy aand research. We work closely with clients to develop the best application for their personal circumstances. With the information we gather, we prepare a detailed plan for the application and guide our clients step-by-step. Through this process we have helped many individuals and families resolve their status in Canada.


Refugee & Inadmissibility
Helping you get protection and stay in Canada.

+ Refugee claims, pre-removal risk assessments and refugee sponsorships
Refugee protection is a core part of Canada's legal tradition and commitment to international law. It is generally available for people outside their country of nationality, who are able to prove they face a serious risk of persecution for reasons of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. Alternatively, claimants may be granted protection if they are at risk of torture, cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
The process for receiving Canada's protection is highly complex and rigorous. The stakes for the people seeking protection could not be higher. The different types of applications – refugee claims, PRRAs, refugee sponsorship – all involve different procedures and require distinct approaches.
McCarten Law handles these cases with confidence. From assisting individual claimants in Canada to helping sponsorship groups making applications abroad, we have a dynamic refugee claims practice. We capably assist people from countries across the world obtain protection and start their new life in Canada. We take a systematic approach to preparing refugee claims to build confidence in our clients and advance the strongest possible case.

+ Inadmissibility, effects of convictions, and danger opinions
Being found inadmissible to Canada can have serious consequences for anyone with status less than a Canadian citizen. If you live in Canada, you may be deported. If you are trying to come to Canada, you may not be allowed in, or you could be detained. Even if someone has lived in Canada for years, they can be deported.
If you have been notified about an inadmissibility hearing or that the CBSA is going to prepare a “section 44 report” regarding your admissibility, it is very important to work with a lawyer you trust to protect your rights.
We handle inadmissibility matters arising from criminal convictions to misrepresentation. We are also often called on by defence lawyers to advise on the immigration implications of a conviction or sentence. If you are in this situation, the best and most important thing to do is contact an experienced lawyer immediately.

+ Immigration detention
Non-citizens in Canada may be arrested and detained by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). People held by the CBSA have the reasons for their detention reviewed by the Immigration and Refugee Board at regular intervals. In that process, detainees can challenge the basis of their detention and/or present release plans to argue for their freedom.
It is critical that detainees and those with immigration warrants get legal advice immediately. The best chance for release often comes early in the detention process, and so detainees should work with an experienced lawyer to build a strong plan as soon as they are held.
McCarten Law works hard to get people out of detention. We appear regularly in front of the Immigration Division on detention reviews and work closely with detainees and their family members to build sophisticated and creative release plans. We have successfully obtained the release of individuals held on their first review, through to long-term detainees. Contact us now to help bring your family member home.


If your application was refused, you still have options

+ Refugee appeals (RAD)
Sometimes the refugee board gets it wrong. When that happens, many refused refugee claimants have access to an appeals process before the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD).
The timeline for preparing a RAD is very short, and the legal arguments can become complex -- especially if you are hoping to introduce new evidence.
If your claim was refused, you want the strongest chances for success on an appeal. Our office can help you put your best foot forward. We excel at written legal submissions and arguments and take pride in our systematic approach to reviewing decisions for errors. Contact us now to get started.

+ Sponsorship, residency and admissibility appeals (IAD)
If your sponsorship application has been refused, if you have lost your status for failure to meet the residency obligation, or if you were found inadmissible, you may have access to an appeal before the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD).
The IAD is a court-like tribunal. There can be advocacy opportunities along the way to resolve or narrow the appeal. To give your appeal the best chance of success, it is essential to get legal advice as early as possible in the process.
We assist people in their appeals before the IAD. Our methodical approach and preparation have given excellent results for our clients. Help your family present their strongest case and contact us today to see what we can do for your appeal.

+ Judicial review (Federal court) & stays of deportation
Even the strongest applications and cases are, at times, refused. When this happens, the final appeal is to the Federal Court of Canada. This is called "judicial review."
There are a few important things to know about judicial review. First, the timelines can be short and the process complex. Second, in most cases no new evidence may be submitted to the court: the review will be decided only on the evidence that was in front of the decision-maker that you are appealing. For both of these reasons, it is important to get legal advice quickly about your options.
We approach every case – even the simplest immigration applications – as if it may eventually appear before a judge. This full-service approach ensures your file is in the best position if it has to go to court and is a key strategy that distinguishes our practice from some lawyers and all immigration consultants.
Our successes in court and in settlements have translated into life-changing results for clients. We are trusted by other lawyers and immigration consultants to do court work for their clients. Contact us now to see what we can do for you.


Our Team


(416) 363 1696

Clifford McCarten, Principal Lawyer

Clifford McCarten is a lawyer practicing Canadian immigration and refugee law. His work has been covered by the BBC, CBC News, Metro Morning and The National, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, Global News and CTV. Before forming McCarten Law, he graduated Osgoode Hall Law School near the top of his class and honed his advocacy at a legal clinic and a prominent national firm.

Clifford has trained dozens of Osgoode Hall law students in immigration law and taught legal research and writing at Trent University. He has published academic writing on deportation and has been an invited speaker at a Refugee Lawyers Association conference. He is a member of the Law Society of Ontario and the Refugee Lawyers Association.

Clifford deftly navigates paper-based immigration bureaucracy as well as he does the halls of the Immigration and Refugee Board. He regularly – and successfully – appears before all divisions of the IRB and litigates before the Federal Court of Canada. Nothing motivates him more than seeing good outcomes for his clients.


(416) 363 1696

Hannah Deloughery, Legal Assistant



Access to Justice

Legal Aid Ontario
  • Legal Aid Ontario provides limited funding for some immigration and refugee legal matters to very low-income individuals in Ontario.

  • Contact Legal Aid directly to see if you are eligible for a certificate.

  • We accept Legal Aid Certificates in some circumstances.


  • In-person consultation for up to one hour in our Toronto office (secure virtual meetings available for distant clients).

  • Personalized review of your circumstances and application; resources and referrals; and cost estimates.

  • Advice about your options and strategy suggestions for building a strong case

  • If you decide to retain us, the consultation is deducted from your fees.


Hourly or flat fee
  • You retain us to act as your lawyer.

  • Depending on what you retain us for, we can provide a systematic review of your matter or take carriage of it entirely; advise you on strategy, build legal arguments, prepare and assist with gathering evidence, represent you in all interactions with IRCC, CBSA, the IRB and Federal Court, and personally guide you through every process and decision along the way.

  • We work on an hourly basis or on a mutually-agreed flat fee.

All fees listed are for legal services only, exclusive of applicable taxes (13% HST) and expenses.



Contact us


McCarten Law
439 University Avenue, Suite 1900
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1Y8

p. (416) 363-1696
f. (416) 363-4089


  • TTC: St Patrick Station

  • GO: 3 minute walk from GO Bus terminal

Parking: 65 Centre Ave