The semi driver who caused the Humboldt Broncos bus crash on April 6, 2018, that killed 16 people and injured 13 others has lost his first bid to remain in Canada following his sentence.
Jaskirat Singh Sidhu pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm and was sentenced to eight years.
At the time of the crash, Sidhu was a permanent resident. A criminal conviction that carries a sentence of more than six months makes a permanent resident ineligible to stay in the country.
Sidhu’s lawyer sent paperwork to the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) in 2021 arguing why he should be allowed to stay in Canada once his sentence has been served.
A total of 415 pages were sent to the CBSA and included letters from Sidhu’s family, the public and three Bronco families opposed to Sidhu’s deportation.
Several Bronco families wrote letters in support of Sidhu being deported.
On Wednesday, Sidhu’s lawyer, Michael Greene said the CBSA notified them they intend to go forward with the immigration inquiry.
“(It is) basically a deportation hearing that will be automatic and will result in the issuance of a deportation order,” Greene told Global News.
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Greene said he is considering challenging the CBSA decision.
According to Greene, the CBSA did not provide any reasons for the decision.
“They provide just a summary that he is a permanent resident, not a citizen and he was convicted and that’s enough. That’s the only reason they give you,” Greene said.
Greene added there are written reasons somewhere, but they need to be requested in federal court or by filing an access to information request.
In an email to Global News, a spokesperson for the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) confirmed the CBSA referred Sidhu to the immigration division of the IRB for an admissibility hearing on allegations of serious criminality based on convictions in Canada per section 36(1)a of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
“When this happens, a member (decision-maker) of the Immigration Division holds a hearing in the case to determine whether the allegations against the referred person are founded, and if so, issues a removal order. In cases of serious criminality, a deportation order is issued,” IRB spokesperson Anna Pape said.
Pape added Sidhu’s hearing has not been scheduled at this time.
IRB decisions can be challenged through an application for leave and judicial review at the Federal Court of Canada.
Chris Joseph, father of 20-year-old Jaxon Joseph who was killed in the crash, said he cried Wednesday morning after hearing about the CBSA decision.
Joseph said while he can’t speak for everyone else, this is what he and his wife have wanted for their own peace of mind.
“This is what we wanted for our own personal reasons and those reasons are just I was really hoping to have less of this. Less times where we have to face the media, less times where we have to see the crash scene,” Joseph said.
“Less time, we have to possibly appear as a bad person for having feelings one way or the other when others disagree with that.”
He said it’s still traumatic to see images of the crash site.
“We know that it will never go away. We know that our son will never come back,” Joseph added.
“The other big reason was that we believe Canada is such a great place and everybody wants to live here because we have these laws in place and we are grateful to the Canadian government and the CBSA for what we believe is some justice.”
Joseph added he has no problem with families feeling differently than him regarding forgiveness and when it comes to Sidhu’s potential deportation.
“I don’t know if changing the laws is the way to go about that. I’ve always felt that we should let the officials in those positions make those decisions,” Joseph said.
He added that laws are in place for a reason and why Canada is a safe place to live.
“Could you imagine if it took more than 16 people killed to be deported? I don’t know where the bar would be set.”
— with files from the Canadian Press