Nova Scotia

Settlement reached in immigration suit

The Nova Scotia government says it has reached a settlement agreement in a proposed class-action lawsuit filed in 2009 over a failed program for new immigrants.

The Nova Scotia government says it has reached a settlement agreement in a proposed class-action lawsuit filed in 2009 over a failed program for new immigrants.

The settlement still has to be approved in court, said Tom Peck, a spokesman for the Immigration Department.

He said that was scheduled for Friday.

"If that goes well, and they expect it should, the settlement agreement will be made public after that," Peck said Thursday in an interview.

The suit was filed in December 2009 on behalf of Peter King, who moved to Halifax from the United Kingdom in April 2006 and paid $130,500 to participate in the program's now-defunct economic stream.

The program was supposed to pair new immigrants with on-the-job training, but a statement of claim alleged that King couldn't secure work and eventually accepted a position in British Columbia.

According to the documents, King ran a limousine and chauffeur business in the U.K. before moving to Nova Scotia.

The provincial government has since refunded participants who met certain requirements, including those who lived in Nova Scotia for 12 consecutive months, but King didn't meet the criteria.

The suit alleged the province breached its contract with King by failing to provide suitable employers and management positions.

It also alleged the province misappropriated trust moneys and breached King's rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including his mobility rights.

The allegations in the statement of claim have not been proven in court.

According to the document, King had been seeking $100,000 plus interest paid in trust and unspecified damages or "the disgorgement and accounting of all amounts held in trust plus interest" received by the province, either directly or indirectly, from members of the class.

King's lawyer, Ward Branch of Vancouver, wasn't immediately available for comment.

Peck said reaching the settlement agreement avoids the potential of a "lengthy and expensive litigation."

"There is now an agreement by both sides, which makes it a little easier because both sides have set the parameters which they believe are fair," he said.

The nominee program started in 2003 under the former Progressive Conservative government and was operated by Cornwallis Financial Corp., a private Halifax firm.

The Tories assumed responsibility in 2006 and stopped accepting applications for the program's economic stream after problems started to emerge.

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