Become a CILA Member Today

CILA’s mission is to serve as the voice of the immigration bar as we collectively seek to promote a fairer and stronger Canadian immigration system.

We aim to achieve our mission by promoting the rule of law, access to justice, research, education, mentorship, collaboration, and dispute resolution.

Membership Benefits

Joining CILA allows you to enjoy a range of benefits including:

IMPACT: CILA will fight for advances in Canadian citizenship and immigration law. This entails gathering member feedback to submit recommendations to government on how to improve immigration policies, laws, processes, and regulations. It also entails promoting the rule of law through strategic court interventions and test litigation.

EDUCATION: Benefit from knowledge advancement, access to information, leading research, thought leadership, subject-matter experts, and colleagues across Canada. Discuss critical issues and get strategic tips on the CILA Listserv.

RESEARCH: Contribute to cutting-edge research that will help to shape the national immigration dialogue. Research will also support innovative test litigation that CILA will pursue to help shape the future of citizenship and immigration law.

EXPERTISE: Canadian immigration is always evolving. CILA membership will allow you to remain up to date on the latest industry developments and maintain the expertise you need to excel as a Canadian immigration lawyer.

PUBLIC RELATIONS: Have your voice heard by Canada’s governments, the media, and other major immigration system stakeholders. CILA will regularly collect and disseminate member feedback via written publications, media interviews, and other forms of public relations such as social media. CILA will be nimble and have the flexibility to respond quickly to the biggest issues of the day.

NETWORK: Build and maintain relationships with Canada’s leading immigration lawyers.

MENTORSHIP: Students and junior members of the bar will be invited to receive mentorship from a leading Canadian immigration lawyer.

VISIBILITY: All members will receive CILA logos for use on their firm or professional website and for use on their email signature block. In addition, members will be invited to author thought leadership publications that will feature on the CILA website, social media channels, and newsletter.

Why I Joined CILA


David Garson (Founding Member), Toronto, Ontario

I have been a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association for many years (pretty much since I have been called). I have always appreciated their work in advocacy, education, and importantly reinforcing the necessary role of counsel in the process. Myself and my colleagues have always wondered why we never had a similar organization in Canada. We, as Immigration practitioners, have desperately needed this kind of support. Over the years, and to this day the system has tried to minimize us, to its detriment and most importantly to the detriment of the client. It is well past time for CILA, I am delighted to be part of it.


Nicole Druckman (Founding Member), Moncton, New Brunswick

I joined CILA to be part of a group of experienced and passionate lawyers dedicated to advocacy on Canadian immigration issues.


Jeffrey Lowe (Founding Member) Vancouver, B.C

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others”. African proverb In the practice of Immigration law, changes are often fast, furious, and without notice. And it can be extremely stressful and draining trying to deal with things on your own! I’ve been blessed to have been able to “travel” with colleagues at the Immigration Bar for over 30 years, and have made many friends across Canada. But there are things that the immigration bar still needs to do to advocate for the needs of Immigration Lawyers and for Canada as a whole. That’s why when CILA was formed, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of it! I have learned, taught, shared meals and strategies with many of the founders, whom I’ve known as excellent lawyers, respect as individuals, and am privileged to call friends. I would highly encourage Immigration Lawyers in private practice to join CILA!


Lou Janssen Dangzalan (Founding Member) Toronto, Ontario

As a new immigration lawyer and as a new Canadian, I see the value that strong advocacy brings to the direct benefit of our clients. I see CILA answering that clarion call that will finally make the authorities take us seriously. CILA’s voice is a welcome addition to the growing chorus of lawyers who want to engage with government in a respectful and professional manner.


Patricia Gamliel, (Founding Member), Montreal, Quebec

Les juristes canadiens qui pratiquent dans le domaine du droit de la citoyenneté et de l’immigration sont reconnus depuis plus de 25 ans pour leurs efforts constants à partager des nouvelles et à s’entraider, au profit de leurs clients et du principe de la primauté du droit. La création de l’ACAAI apporte, pour la première fois dans l’histoire, un niveau complémentaire à cette collégialité unique en donnant aux avocats de pratique privée la possibilité d’échanger et d’apprendre plus librement les eux des autres dans un domaine de pratique complexe. En tant qu’avocate de la défense, je me réjouis de la liberté que l’ACAAI me donne d’échanger davantage avec mes collègues. Canadian jurists who practice in the domain of Citizenship and Immigration law have been praised for over 25 years for their constant efforts to share news and help each other for the benefit of their clients and the Rule of Law principle. CILA’s inception brings, for the first time in history, a complementary level to this unique collegiality by giving private practice lawyers a higher level of freedom in sharing and learning from each other’s ideas and practice in what is a complex practice. I welcome the freedom CILA is giving me, as a litigation Defence lawyer, to share with my colleagues so much more.


Alexandra Callinan (Founding Member), Ottawa, Ontario

I joined the Canadian Immigration Lawyers Association (CILA) as I feel strongly about supporting meaningful advocacy in immigration and citizenship law. CILA’s commitment to protecting the interests of immigration applicants is inspiring and I am excited to support CILA in achieving its mission in any way I can.


Ashvi Shah, (Articling Student Member), Markham, Ontario

As an articling student, CILA is a welcome source of community and information sharing. CILA offers the opportunity to be a part of an emerging network of lawyers dedicated to the same thing: advocating for Canadians and future Canadians. I am excited to be a part of this group of experts, new lawyers, and everything in-between. I look forward to working together towards positive changes in immigration law and policy, which is why I went to law school in the first place.


Betsy Kane (Founding Member), Ottawa, Ontario

The idea of forming an advocacy group led by immigration lawyers had been percolating for many years. As practitioners our work is intimately connected not only to the law, but to the political process and the dynamics of government bureaucracy. I believe lawyers have the knowledge and practical experience to inform the legal, policy and political decisions that shape how we build our nation. The Canadian Immigration Lawyers Association (CILA) has the potential to play an important part of that holistic process. This is why I chose to help launch CILA.


Ravi Jain (Founding Member), Toronto, Ontario

I did not realize that the idea of a new association for immigration lawyers had been percolating for several years when I reached out to my esteemed colleagues to explore the idea of CILA. All agreed to participate, and a Steering Committee was formed with each making incredible contributions. My desire for a new organization stemmed from the realization that it is critical to be able to provide timely comment to Ministers, civil servants and the media on pressing immigration law matters and to build effective coalitions with other lawyer groups both domestic and international. In addition, I believe vulnerable immigrant applicants will benefit from test litigation (funded in part by a charity wing of CILA) which will advance the law and result in positive policy changes. Finally, I realized it was critical to have a secure email listserv for colleagues to be able to communicate freely and I thought it essential to build a war chest for desperately needed lobbying efforts.


Marina L. Sedai (Founding Member), Surrey, British Columbia

Just like the world as a whole, immigration events and political decision-making are speeding up and becoming more complex. This means that the Canadian immigration ecosystem, with its cooperative stakeholders who have been heavily contributing to immigration issues, needs an entity that can contribute with quick responses and by exercising all available tools. How can I say no to a new way of working to ensure Canada’s immigration system is fairer to immigrants and Canada alike?


Barbara Jo (BJ) Caruso, (Founding Member) Toronto, Ontario

Never in the past 25 years have I seen as much political and economic importance placed on the importance of new immigrants, foreign workers and students. The Immigration Bar is growing to respond to demands for more newcomers to Canada and requires an organization that can respond quickly to changes in policies and processes, as well as a voice to help shape and inform new laws and policies. The Immigration Bar must have a means to advocate to protect access to justice and the rights of some of the most vulnerable persons in our community. The practice of immigration law looks very different than it did 25 years ago when I started to practice, and I feel strongly that those recently entering the profession need an organization like CILA to support them over the next 25 years and beyond.

Join CILA Today!