York University urges government to help keep conservation professor in Canada


The York University community is disappointed to hear about the position taken in the permanent residency application of one of our celebrated academics, Felipe Montoya. Professor Montoya was notified by Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC) that his 13 year old son has been deemed "inadmissible" because he has Down Syndrome.

Professor Montoya remains in Canada and has 60 days to respond, after which the CIC will make a final decision about the application. If the decision is negative, Professor Montoya plans to appeal.

“Not only does Felipe exemplify the incredible contributions of immigrants seeking new lives in Canada, he is also an active leader in York’s and Ontario’s internationalization efforts,” said Rhonda Lenton, Provost and Vice-President Academic, York University.

Professor Montoya is currently the Director of the Las Nubes Project, a rainforest in Costa Rica which was generously donated to York University by Dr. Woody Fisher. He holds the James and Joanna Love Chair of Neotropical Conservation, dedicated to protecting this rainforest habitat through an agreement with Costa Rica's Tropical Science Center.

“Felipe and his family have my full support, the support of President Shoukri, the Faculty of Environmental Studies and Las Nubes donors,” said Noël Sturgeon, Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Studies. "We urge Citizenship & Immigration Canada to seek whatever flexibility they have to award Professor Montoya and his family permanent residency and avoid the loss of a respected professor who is leading an innovative conservation project in Costa Rica on behalf of our University.”

York University has always been known for championing new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our 52,000 students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world.  Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-discipline programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds.  York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 24 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide.

Media contact:
Janice Walls, Media Relations, York University, 416 736 2100 ext. 22101 / wallsj@yorku.ca