March 19, 2024 (Vancouver, BC): On March 11th, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) instructed 23-year-old Simon Fraser University (SFU) student Zain Haq to leave Canada by April 22nd. Haq, a climate activist, is a Pakistani national married to a Canadian citizen. He was a co-founder of the Vancouver-based group Save Old Growth.

Haq’s activism helped win divestment from fossil fuels by SFU. He was convicted of mischief last year for his participation in nonviolent civil disobedience while protesting oil pipelines and old-growth logging. CBSA revoked his student visa in 2022.

“This decision to force Mr. Haq to leave Canada is unnecessarily punitive,” says Haq’s immigration counsel Randall Cohn. “Mr. Haq is a serious and considerate young man who, like many young people, is looking for meaningful ways to protect his future and the future of the planet.”

In May 2023, Haq married fellow activist Sophie Papp, who applied to sponsor him for permanent residence in Canada that same month. That application is still pending; approval would prevent CBSA from enforcing Haq’s removal.

If Haq is deported, however, the application will be automatically canceled. They would have to submit a new application for sponsorship from outside Canada, which will likely take two or more years to process. In the meantime, Haq will be considered inadmissible to Canada.

“The Canadian Government has the option to view Mr. Haq as a courageous young leader and to allow him to remain in Canada with his wife and new family,” says Cohn.