Hosted by Attorney Louis Goodman
Dec. 15, 2021

Hart Kaminker - University of Toronto

Hart Kaminker - University of Toronto

lovethylawyer.com

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Hart Kaminker
https://www.kaminkerlaw.com/tc_attorney/hart-kaminker/

Hart founded Kaminker & Associates in 2004, building it into a full-service boutique immigration law firm that helps individuals and businesses with relocation to Canada. He helps Biotech, Tech, and Healthcare companies and institutions needing to bring skilled workers from out of the country to work at their companies. Hart brings nearly 3 decades of experience in Immigration and Citizenship law earning him a reputation of a compassionate and highly skilled immigration lawyer. He works directly with clients to help them understand what to expect in their case. 

Hart often speaks at events for the Canadian Bar Association and other community organizations in the Greater Toronto Area. He has served on the Board of Governors at Beth Tikvah Synagogue and the UJA Israel Engagement Committee. He is also a member of the OBA executive committee. 

 Louis Goodman
 www.louisgoodman.com
louisgoodman2010@gmail.com
510.582.9090
 
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Transcript

Louis Goodman  

Hello and welcome to Love Thy Lawyer where we talk to real lawyers about their lives in and out of the practice of law, how they got to be lawyers, and what their experience has been.  I’m Louis Goodman, the host of the show, and yes I’m a lawyer.  Nobody's perfect. He founded a full service boutique immigration law firm that helps individuals and businesses with relocation to Canada. He assists biotech, tech and healthcare companies bring skilled workers into Canada. He is based in Toronto. He deals with family reunification issues, refugee claims and humanitarian applications. Hart Kaminker,  welcome to Love Thy Lawyer.

 

Hart Kaminker   

Thank you. Thank you for having me on today.

 

Louis Goodman  

Well, it's a privilege to have you on.  I was very interested in talking to you, in large part because of the work that you do in terms of Immigration Law in Canada. I have a practice that does criminal defense in Alameda County, California, and I have been amazed at the number of my clients who want to know what the consequences are as far as their ability to travel to Canada as a result of criminal consequences. So I thought that you would be a very interesting person to talk to.  Can you tell us a little bit about where your office is located and what your practice involves right now?

 

Hart Kaminker   

Okay, so my office is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. And you know, as far as the city is concerned, we're sort of downtown, I guess we're Midtown. And our practice really covers all aspects of immigration. So we do what might be known as the litigation side. So you know, asylum claims, refugee claims, get appealing deportation order, and helping people who have been refused entry into Canada whose applications have been refused. And we also do the processing side, which would be you know, helping skilled people coming to Canada, and also be helping businesses bring workers to Canada. It could also be helping individuals who have a past criminal record who need to go through the process that needs to be gone through in order to be able to enter Canada. So it really covers a very broad, it covers all aspects of immigration law, and also we could citizenship as well.

 

Louis Goodman  

I'm always very interested in where people grew up where they went to school. So where are you from? 

 

Hart Kaminker   

I was born and bred in Toronto? So this is where I lived my whole life and as has my family as well.

 

Louis Goodman  

Did you go to school there and to college there.

 

Hart Kaminker   

So I went to school in,  I did my undergrad in a University of Western Ontario.   That's in a city called London, Ontario, is about halfway between Toronto and Detroit, a US border between the Ontario, Michigan and then I did my law school at the University of Toronto in Toronto. 

 

Louis Goodman  

Well, I'm very familiar with the area because I went to the University of Rochester which of course is right across Lake Ontario from right to Toronto area. 

 

Hart Kaminker

That's right. 

 

Louis Goodman

And it gets cold in Rochester and Toronto.

 

Hart Kaminker   

It does it gets  pretty cold. I don't think we have because we're not Toronto itself is not in the snowbound. So I'm not sure we get as much snow as Rochester does. But it does get cold here in the winter. And it does snow.

 

Louis Goodman  

So what was the experience like for you going to law school?

 

Hart Kaminker   

You know, I think for me, it was I really liked it. And I excelled at the whole idea of case law and arguing and, you know, trying to come to a conclusion when an issue was presented yourself was very interesting to me. So I really enjoyed it.

 

Louis Goodman  

When did you start thinking about being a lawyer?

 

Hart Kaminker   

So I would say it would be halfway through undergrad that, you know, I've started to prepare to write the outset and apply for law school.

 

Louis Goodman  

So what did your friends and family think and say when you told them you wanted to be a lawyer?

 

Hart Kaminker   

My family was happy.   My father was a physician, so it was in a professional and my parents were happy that I chose a profession as well. I think my friends is also because, you know, many of the people that I went to high school with and undergrad at all, but a lot took sort of the same track, you know, going to professional school, whether that was medicine or dentistry or law. So we all took a similar track. We had that in common.

 

Louis Goodman  

I'm a little bit curious about this in Canada. Do you have a similar law setup to the one we have in the United States? Or is it more like England with solicitors and barristers?

 

Hart Kaminker   

Okay, so it's a good question. So in Canada  there it's a fused profession, so when you get called to the bar, you're both a barrister and solicitor. We it's not separate here.

 

Louis Goodman  

What do you really like about practicing law?

 

Hart Kaminker   

I really like the interaction with the people, I really like that. And I think also, you know getting immigrations an area of law where I think you get a good satisfaction, no work that you do that a positive result often has a, you know, on often most of the time has a significant effect on the individual's life. So that's very satisfying, when you can get that done for them.

 

Louis Goodman  

Well, speaking of getting work done for clients, can we talk a little bit about what sort of considerations one should have if you're thinking about going to Canada to live? And the reason I asked that is it is amazing how many people I know in the United States, especially recently, who have said, I want to go live in Canada. And there's a whole lot of reasons for that. And we need not get into it. But there is an enormous interest. And I'm sure you're aware of this, but there's an enormous interest of people in the United States, even people in places that are considered really, you know, quite good to live in, like Northern California, who want to go to Canada. So what considerations should people have about that?

 

Hart Kaminker   

Well, I think they have to, I guess the prime consideration is do we have a pathway into Canada? You know, and I really didn't answer that question would depend upon a lot of factors. So it may depend upon age,   it may depend upon your education,  it certainly may depend upon your education plus, the work that you do.  Under the free trade agreement between Canada and the United States, for some occupations, it's relatively, I would say the word relatively easier to get into Canada to work, if you have an offer of employment here  and then that offer of employment can be used as a bridge ultimately to permanent residence. So it would be a whole host of factors that you would take a look at, as to whether that was viable. I think as well, ultimately, that sort of the practical side, you know, ultimately be accepted as a permanent resident in Canada. And I guess, see, the other side is really about living in Canada, obviously, as we've discussed earlier, it's a little colder than most places, not all places, the United States, but many, certainly, if you're coming from California, it would be colder than in California. And I think as well, you know, just sort of the culture, I think is different in Canada. I mean, certainly, there's a lot of commonalities between the US and Canada. But I think the culture the way of life, you know, is somewhat different than you know, whether that's something that you can adapt to.

 

Louis Goodman  

Can you be specific about that? 

 

Hart Kaminker   

Well, I think we're a little, you know, I think we're a little more, I wouldn't read a little bit more left than the United States. So I think our politics are a little more left, like way out the left, but I think more left of the United States. So, you know, for example, there is universal health care in Canada, that would be just one example. You know, I think just generally more government programs, I guess, that are universally available across the provinces. So I think that would be one thing  that's a little bit different. Obviously, our gun laws are stricter than in the United States. So those would be a couple of examples where I think you'd see differences here as compared to the US. I mean, certainly our large cities, but I think this isn't different for us. I mean, our large cities, and Toronto would be a prime example. I bet there are, you know, very multicultural. So Toronto is a very cosmopolitan city, you know, with people from almost every corner of the world, which makes it a very interesting place to live in my view, and that's certainly been a big change, in a sense that, you know, when I was younger, like not even in high school, I would say, on grade school wasn't a very multicultural place. And certainly as I progressed through high school in university, that changed a lot. But I think positively, I think it's a positive for the city and for the country.

 

Louis Goodman  

So obviously, a lot of people are migrating from all over the world. And what does Canada look for in  terms of allowing people in?

 

Hart Kaminker   

So I think what they're looking for are people matching people to the labor needs in Canada. I mean, they really need to over the last half year or so we're now since the pandemic and certainly I guess over the last half year has not become an acute problem here as it is in the United States, but they look for people that they need.  So that's one thing. So the provinces have their own immigration programs which are directed specifically towards the particular occupation or labor needs that are required in the province. Think more broadly, you're looking at people who, based upon their education, their ability in English and or French, their age or work experience, they're looking for people who they believe can integrate well into the community and ultimately contribute economically.

 

Louis Goodman  

In the United States, there seems to be an emphasis on allowing family members of people who are already here to come into the United States as immigrants. Is there that same consideration in Canada or is Canada somewhat more Canadian needs driven?

 

Hart Kaminker   

So no, there is a family reunification program. So in Canada, you cannot, if you marry a spouse who is a foreigner, you absolutely can sponsor them. There is a program to sponsor parents and grandparents. There is no reunification for siblings, which I think might be different than the United States. But there is, you know, as I mentioned, just now, the governance of family reunification program that covers spouses, parents and grandparents, and there are some other limited cases. So you know, a sibling that's orphaned, who is a minor that would also fall into family reunification. And I guess the other would be if you're here, and you have no person that you can sponsor, so no spouse, no mother, father, grandparent, then you can sponsor a relative to come join us here in Canada. So that's the question is, yes, there is family reunification Canada as well.

 

Louis Goodman  

What's the deal with Americans with driving under the influence charges? And why is that such a big thing as far as Canada is concerned?

 

Hart Kaminker   

Okay. So it's a big thing, because if you've got a driving under the influence charge, then you would be not admissible to Canada, based upon that criminal record. And so yes, you're quite correct. That's probably one of the most common criminal charges that will keep people out of Canada, even as a tourist. 

 

Louis Goodman

Even as a tourist you are inadmissible to Canada?

 

Hart Kaminker

 That's correct. And then there are ways to remedy that. Like, after five years after the end of the sentence, so that now I've got a probationary period, it would be thought counting five years from the end of the probationary period. So it's something called criminal rehabilitation. And I like to describe a decline sort of as like an immigration pardon.

 

Louis Goodman  

What about other sorts of minor criminal convictions, let's say, a misdemeanor domestic violence or a misdemeanor theft offense, or a misdemeanor possession of marijuana offense?

 

Hart Kaminker   

So yeah, so again, all it really depends on it. Basically, what I will tell clients is pretty much you basically don't want to have a criminal record coming to Canada.  Some of these issues might be easier to solve than others. But any kind of criminal record can be problematic.

 

Louis Goodman  

If an American does go and live and work in Canada, does that require giving up American citizenship?

 

Hart Kaminker   

If you're a permanent resident, obviously, your right you maintain your US citizenship, because you're just a permanent resident of Canada, you're not a citizen. But if you chose to become a citizen of Canada, at some point in the future, being Canadian does not require you to leave because the law stands now allows you to hold more than one citizenship.

 

Louis Goodman  

So that means that you could vote in elections in Canada and in the United States?

 

Hart Kaminker

 That's correct. 

 

Louis Goodman

Could you root for the Mapleleafs and the Rangers?

 

Hart Kaminker   

I guess you could.

 

Louis Goodman  

Seems a bit more problematic.

 

Hart Kaminker   

It was more problematic. I guess you could.

 

Louis Goodman  

If someone were coming out of college, and they were thinking about going into law, would you recommend that as a career move to a young person?

 

Hart Kaminker   

That's a very good question. Yeah. I think you really have to, I think it's something that you have to think long and hard about, about whether this is what you want to devote your working life to.  I mean, as you and I know, but like many people go to law school and don't ultimately end up practicing law. And, you know, there might be value in the education beyond practicing law, but I think you know, it takes a lot of dedication and it can take a lot of hours to do it well. So I think you have to be prepared to make that commitment. I think if you are, then as I said earlier, I think  it can be very rewarding profession. And helping people ultimately achieve their goals.

 

Louis Goodman  

How is actually practicing law met are different from your expectations about it?

 

 

 

 

Hart Kaminker   

You know, you have your bad days, you know, like in any profession. But I think, it's certainly met my expectations. I think from being rewarding and like, feeling like I'm doing something good, I guess, ultimately, for people. And that I think is very satisfying.

 

Louis Goodman  

How about the business of practicing law? How's that gone for you? And how's that either met or different from your expectations about it?

 

Hart Kaminker   

Yeah. So I think that that's probably been the more challenging part. For me, personally, I really do enjoy the practice of law, and I enjoy advocating for people. And whether that's on paper, or whether that's vocally, you know, the business side is something probably that I don't think I'm as good at and I think likely, because it's not something that tie, like as much as actually doing the practice of law.

 

Louis Goodman  

Is there anything that you know, now that you really wished you had known before you started practicing law?

 

Hart Kaminker   

So that's a good question. I think one part of it is really the absolute sort of dedication of the concentration, I think that it takes to really get to a good result. In many cases, it can be a lot of hours at times, that is something that can be draining, I guess. But ultimately, as I said, I think if you take a look at the overall picture, very satisfactory.

 

Louis Goodman  

Your legal system in Canada is obviously a little different than the one that we have here in the United States. But looking at your legal system, looking at the Canadian legal system, do you think it's fair?

 

Hart Kaminker   

I think this is something that probably comes across all anybody that does litigation. But if you're looking at fairness, you know, a lot, especially on asylum claims, a lot depends on the adjudicator, that you appear in front of that can be frustrating.

 

Louis Goodman  

I'm gonna shift gears here a little bit. Hart, what is your family life like? How has practicing law affected that?

 

Hart Kaminker   

Well, you know, it's a good question.  My profession has affected my family life because of the hours that it takes a time. So I certainly work long hours, which I think, was difficult for my spouse, for my wife at times, and certainly when the kids were younger. So I think that, you know, it's definitely impacted in that way. But my wife has been very supportive of my career and my profession. So I've been very fortunate. In that way, it has been sort of my anchor, you know, when the seats get rough, which I'm very fortunate for, I mean, extremely fortunate.

 

Louis Goodman  

Have you had any interesting travel experience?

 

Hart Kaminker   

So I've have traveled, for work purposes, so I can to tap into China, into India several times. I've been to Pakistan once many years ago, or else and I've been to some parts of eastern Europe. And so, yeah, I've had some, you know, certainly India has, as you know, was an eye opener for me,  but I got used to it after a few trips there. And, you know, met a lot of interesting people along the way. So, you know, certainly seeing a different culture and completely unsent, to certain extent, completely different way of life, also been in the Gulf area, like in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. So that was interesting, and, you know, meeting people from all different walks of life.

 

Louis Goodman  

How about in Canada, any places that an American should make a point of seeing? 

 

Hart Kaminker   

Well,you know, being born and bred in Toronto, I mean, I would certainly think Toronto is a great city. And lots to do here, lots of really interesting neighborhoods and places to wander around. So that means you should come in the summer, I think. And I think also, Montreal, is also a great city. It's much different than Toronto.   I think, a lot more European than Toronto. So it gives you a different experience. So I'm sure lots of people in the West Coast have been up to Vancouver and if they're skiers up to Whistler and other places like that.

 

Louis Goodman  

What sort of recreational pursuits do you enjoy to kind of clear your head when you're not practicing law.

 

Hart Kaminker   

So I like to play tennis. That's become a 1014 during the pandemic was curtailed somewhat but I'm hoping to get back into it very shortly. So that would be probably, I do go to the gym and workout, try to get there a couple of days a week. So those would be the kinds of things and then we'd like my wife and I like walking so Toronto has lot of ravines that run through the city. So there are a lot of trails for these readings, which we like to do, usually in the spring and in the fall when it's a little bit cooler sometimes in the summer, but Toronto does get hot in the summer. So now that the distances that you can go is a little less. So those are the kinds of things that I like to do. But I think  tennis, I really enjoyed that. It's great exercise. And, you know, just the also the social aspect of it.

 

Louis Goodman  

You know, Margaret Atwood, once said, Toronto has two seasons too hot and too cold.

 

Hart Kaminker   

And that's very accurate. 

 

Louis Goodman  

Yeah, I wouldn't want to argue with her.  What sort of things keep you up at night?

 

Hart Kaminker   

So I think files just keep you up at night, like whether, you know, we've taken the right strategy on a file, especially ones that may, I think certain files would keep you up at night. And I think certainly the running of the office can keep you up at night. So you know, making sure that everything's running smoothly, that lights are gonna stay turned on.   People are going to be able to come into work. And those are the kinds of things that keep you up at night, I think. So if you're taking a look at the pandemic, when it struck it in March of 2020. I mean, those things really became very bright, and certainly kept me up at night. Through those months and things were inserted in the early part, when things were released. In Toronto, were shut pretty tight.

 

Louis Goodman  

Let's say you came into some real money, 3/4 billion Canadian dollars. What, if anything, would you do differently in your life?

 

Hart Kaminker   

I probably, I would certainly still continue to practice law, it will be 30 years since I started to practice law. So I'm sort of on among the others, the second half of my career. So I would say that if I had the opportunity, to maybe slow down a little bit earlier than I plan, although that's certainly in the plans at some point in the future, that I would do that. But I certainly wouldn't close up shop, I wouldn't do that. Because I like doing this, like intellectual challenge I need, I need the intellectual challenge. And I'm kind of the person that when I've been away for two weeks, that's an attorney, I need to get all that you could get back, I need to get back to the office.  I can only relax so much, maybe it's the way to put it. But I think what I would do is probably accelerate that plan. And you know, obviously, $3/$4 billion, give money to people who need it. More than 90.

 

Louis Goodman  

Let's say you had a magic wand, that was one thing that you can change in the world in the legal world, or just the world in general, what one thing would you want to change?

 

Hart Kaminker   

So maybe this, the one thing, if we're talking about the world today, I think the one thing that I would change is I think that there has to be more stability in the world. And I think even in the practice, you know, I think that's clicked into a certain extent in the practice of law. I'm not sure what your experience has been, but definitely less civil. We're not always going to agree, but we can agree to disagree. And I think that so but I would think more civility? I mean, I think that it's, you know, that it would be nice if we sort of go back to the time when there is more civility and in people's interpersonal specific people's into personal discussions.

 

Louis Goodman  

Do you think that's driven by social media?

 

Hart Kaminker

 I think so. 

 

Louis Goodman

You know in the United States right now, I don't think that it's any sort of a rage to say that our social and political worlds are very polarized. And we are really a very divided nation in a way that I certainly have never seen before in this country.  Is Canada going through something like that, too or is it more unified about things?

 

Hart Kaminker   

I would say it's more unified? I mean, I wouldn't say that that doesn't exist in Canada at all. I think it does to, to much more limited extent. So I think Canadians, I think more unified, I think they tend to be a little more fluid put out there a little bit more, like a little bit more centrist. And I think that because of that, you don't see the kind you don't see the extent to the divisions that you might be seeing in the United States.

 

Louis Goodman  

Is there anything you wanted to talk about that we have not discussed? 

 

Hart Kaminker   

No, I think that was it. We covered a broad range of topics.   

 

Louis Goodman  

It was very interesting speaking to you Hart.   If someone wants to get in touch with you, if they have questions about Canadian immigration issues, what's the best way to do that? Do you have a website that you could give us that  I can put in the show notes so that people can get in touch?

 

Hart Kaminker   

Yeah, we do have a website and that's the best way, there's a general email as well as my own personal email under my profile on the website that you can contact me and the websites Kaminkerlaw.com.

 

Louis Goodman  

That's Kaminkerlaw all one word.com.

 

 

 

Hart Kaminker

 Exactly. 

 

Louis Goodman

Very well. Hart Kaminker it has been a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you so much for joining me today on the Love Thy Lawyer podcast. I have enjoyed our conversation, I've learned a few things.

 

Hart Kaminker   

And it's been a pleasure speaking to you.   Thank you very much for having me on.

 

Louis Goodman  

That's it for today's episode of Love Thy Lawyer. If you enjoyed listening, please share it with a friend. And subscribe to the podcast. If you have comments or suggestions, send me an email. I promise I'll respond. Take a look at our website at lovethylawyer.com, where you can find all of our episodes, transcripts, photographs, and information. Thanks as always, to my guests who share their wisdom. And to Joel Katz for music. Brian Matheson for technical support at Tracey Harvey. I'm Louis Goodman.

 

Hang on just a second Hart. I'm experiencing a little bit of technical error here for some reason I'm not sure what's going on, hold on. Okay, well, now you know why we record this in two separate places. Well, that's never happened before but you know, first time for everything.