Sadness turns to joy as grieving dad told he can stay in Canada
New Zealand man, who recently lost his Canadian wife to cancer, received a call from Immigration Minister John McCallum, who personally intervened in the case and told him he would be granted permanent residency.
By: Nicholas Keung Immigration reporter, Published on Fri Nov 27 2015
Scott Mailman’s planned goodbye party has morphed into a joyous celebration with the news he will now be able to stay in Canada.
The grieving father, who recently lost his wife to cancer, had been packing to return to his native New Zealand when he received a call Friday from Immigration Minister John McCallum, who personally intervened in the case and told him he would be granted permanent residency.
“I am just so happy,” Mailman told the Star. “You can’t disagree that Canada is the best country in the world. This is a great tribute to my wife.”
After waiting almost two years for his immigration application to be processed, Mailman, 37, was told by department officials in October he’d have to leave Canada because his wife — his sponsor — was dead.
When the Star began making inquiries about the case last week, Mailman received further conflicting information from immigration officials, leaving him confused about his status in Canada and trying to figure out where he stood.
But two phone calls from the immigration department Friday, the first from an official who told him McCallum had used his discretionary powers to intervene, and the second from McCallum himself, left him in no doubt that a celebration was in order.
“I got a warm welcome to Canada by the minister, who expressed his condolences and mentioned that it’s an extremely extenuating circumstance that prompted his decision,” said an ecstatic Mailman.
“I was still in disbelief after the first call. But this is now the real deal with the minister’s call.”
In an email to the Star, immigration department spokesperson Nancy Caron confirmed that McCallum approved Mailman’s application to remain in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
Lisa Mailman died Oct. 6, at home in Port Perry, her distraught husband by her side. It had been her dying wish that Mailman, a commercial construction contractor, raise their 3-year-old daughter Sydney in Canada.
In a tragic twist, just two hours after Lisa passed away, an email arrived saying the processing of their immigration application was being finalized and inviting them in for a final interview.
The couple met in 2004 while backpacking in Australia. They later lived and worked in New Zealand before moving to Canada in November 2012, when Sydney was 8 months old.
Mailman came here under the International Experience Class category, which allowed him to work here legally for a year. The couple then filed their spousal sponsorship forms in early 2014. Two months later Lisa was diagnosed with glassy cell carcinoma, an aggressive form of cancer in the uterine area.
Mailman and Sydney were scheduled to fly on one-way tickets back to New Zealand on Wednesday. He said they will still make the trip to visit his family and friends in Wellington, but will now be changing the tickets to round-trip. Before he leaves, he has been invited to a meeting Monday at the immigration department’s Etobicoke office to pick up his permanent resident visa.
Meanwhile, Mailman and Sydney will be sharing their joy with family at an early Christmas party Saturday. The get-together had been planned as a farewell party for the pair, but now will be a time for celebration.
“We are over the moon now,” said Ray Chapman, Lisa’s father, who with his wife Teresa, was shattered over the prospect of not being able to see their granddaughter grow up. They are thrilled Christmas has come early for the family.
“This is fantastic,” said the retired paramedic from Whitby. “The minister’s decision has restored our faith in the system. Our early Christmas party will be a joyful one.”
Scott Mailman expresses his thanks
“Thank you everyone for your wonderful support and kind words. I can not express my gratitude enough to the people of Canada for supporting my family during this time.
“Great news, I have personally received confirmation from the Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, confirming that my Permanent Residency has been approved.
“On behalf of myself, my daughter Sydney, her grandparents Ray and Teresa, and all my wonderful friends, I would personally like to thank the Honourable John McCallum for his decision. This is a great testament in the honour of my late wife Lisa. She would be proud.
“This certainly is a great country. Thank you Canada.”