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Michael Battista, Canadian Immigration Lawyer in Canada

Tel: (416) 203-2899, x. 31



With over 30 years’ experience practicing immigration and refugee law, Michael is certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a Specialist in Citizenship and Immigration Law (Immigration and Refugee Protection).  Michael worked with EGALE Canada and the Canadian government to extend the family class to same-sex couples under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and has appeared as a witness before Parliament on issues such involving LGBTQ+ immigration, sponsorships, and medical inadmissibility. 


The breadth of Michael's expertise covers the entire spectrum of immigration and refugee law, with a focus on matters related to sponsorships based on same-sex relationships, HIV, medical and other inadmissibility, and Express Entry applications by people seeking to obtain Canadian permanent residence for them and their same sex partners.  Michael also leads the firm’s corporate immigration practice, involving the transfers of employees to Canada. He has been adjunct professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto since 2003, and adjunct professor at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy since 2017. He received the first Teaching Innovation Award from the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy in 2018.


Michael is co-author of:


  • Canadian Family and Immigration Law: Intersections, Developments and Conflicts (Carswell),

  • Family Class Sponsorship in Canadian Immigration Law (Emond),

  • the immigration chapter in LGBTQ2+ Law: Practice Issues and Analysis (Emond).


Michael has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada in the following cases:


  • Suresh v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2002 SCC 1 (involving international law on non-refoulement to torture),

  • Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness) v. Chhina, 2019 SCC 29 (involving immigration detention),

  • Canadian Council for Refugees, et al. v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, et al., Docket 39749 (S.C.C) (involving the constitutionality of the Safe Third Country Agreement).


Michael was an executive member of the Ontario Bar Association's Citizenship and Immigration Section from 2006 to 2008 and served as Litigation Coordinator for the Canadian Bar Association’s Immigration Section for three years. He has been voted by his legal peers for inclusion in the annual publication of Best Lawyers since 2015.


In recognition of his expertise and activism, Michael has been recognized with the following awards:

  • 2023 Business Advocate of the Year award from Canada's 2SLGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce,

  • 2019 Canadian Bar Association Volunteer Appreciation Award,

  • 2018 Innovative Teaching Award from the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy,

  • 2013 Community Service Award from the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto (MCC),

  • 2006 Ontario AIDS Network Honour Roll inductee.


Michael is Founding Chair of Rainbow Railroad and was Chair of the Board of the AIDS Committee of Toronto.

In the News

Video - "Making citizenship more inclusive" - Watch Michael Battista's interview with CTV News on recent changes to the Canadian citizenship process for children born abroad here.

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