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Maria Deanna P. Santos is a dual citizen of Canada and the Philippines and is a lawyer in both jurisdictions. She was called to the Bar in April 1995 in the Philippines and in January 2007 in Ontario, Canada. For more than ten years to date, her legal practice has mainly focused on Canadian citizenship, immigration and refugee law. Her interest in this area of law stemmed from her graduate research on international law and migration studies which led her to study Canada's immigration laws and the Live-in Caregiver Program in particular. Her doctoral dissertation entitled, “Human Rights and Migrant Domestic Work: A Comparative Analysis of the Socio-Legal Status of Filipina Migrant Domestic Workers in Canada and in Hong Kong,” was published by Martinus Nijhoff / Brill Academic Publishers in 2005 as part of the Raoul Wallenberg Human Rights Institute Series.
Her other area of interest is international human rights law, having completed a master’s degree in this field from the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Lund University in Sweden, and completed various human rights programs. She also worked as a human rights advisor at the Centre for Human Rights and Equity at York University and as a Director for the National Capital Region of the Commission on Human Rights in the Philippines prior to establishing her own legal practice in Canada.
She is a member of the Canadian Bar Association and the Ontario Bar Association Immigration Law Section, the Refugee Lawyers Association and was a founding member of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers.
A summary of her educational credentials follow:
University Degrees / Diploma:
Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Law - Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Faculty of Graduate Studies Dean's Academic Excellence Award
Green and Spiegel Award for Best Student Paper in Immigration Law
Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, University of Lund, Sweden
Various continuing professional development programs (CPD) in immigration and refugee law (substantive) sponsored by the Law Society of Ontario, Canadian Bar Association / Ontario Bar Association, Refugee Law Office of Legal Aid Ontario, Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers and others
Summer Course on Refugee Issues - 2001 - Center for Refugee Studies, York University, Canada
Law and Society Graduate Student Workshop - 2001- Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
IXth Summer Session on Human Rights Law - 1998 - Academy of European Law, European University Institute, Florence, Italy
28th Annual Study and 25th Session, International Center for University Human Rights Teaching (CiedhU) - 1997 - International Institute of Human Rights, Strasbourg, France
Summer Course on Public International Law - 1996 - The Hague Academy of International Law, Netherlands
Articles / Conference Presentations / Media Interviews:
Ontario Lawyers Gazette (Spring 2010)
ABS-CBN News (September 2010)
MacLean’s Magazine (January 2010)
CBC News (September 2009)
Law Society of Upper Canada - Asian and South Asian Heritage Month - Forum on Current Immigration Issues and Trends (24 July 2009)
The Live-in Caregiver Program: Issues, Trends and Updates (15 May 2009, Philippine Reporter)
“Human Rights Protection and Canada’s Live-in Caregiver Program: An Oxymoron” Paper presented at the Activating Human Rights and Diversity Conference, Byron Bay, Australia, 1-4 July 2003
Canada's Human Rights Objectives and the Live-in Caregiver Program: An Oxymoron” Paper presented at the Canadian Social Welfare Policy Conference: It’s Time to Act, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 15-17 June 2003
Book Review of Negotiating Asylum by Gregor Noll (The Hague: Kluwer Law Int’l, 2000) with Prof.O. Okafor, co-author, in Refuge Vol. 19 No. 6, August 2001
(Center for Refugee Studies, York University)
Ma. Cecilia Pascual Santos (Cecille) is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant designated by the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) and a paralegal holding a class P1 license issued by the Law Society of Ontario.
Cecille obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from De La Salle University in the Philippines and took a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) program at the Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines for one year. Instead of completing her MBA program, Cecille migrated to Canada and completed a Certificate Program in Human Resources Management at York University in Toronto, Ontario.
Cecille worked in the insurance industry for three years and managed their family businesses in the Philippines for almost four years. In Canada, she worked in the field of IT recruitment for four years. Owing to her extensive work experience in various industries, Cecille has developed excellent customer service and people management skills. Her work experience and human resources background also made her realize that her passion lies in dealing directly with people and in helping those in need in any way she possibly can.
Since they share the same values and vision, Cecille decided to join the immigration law practice of her sister, Maria Deanna Pascual Santos. Therefore, she went back to school and took the diploma program in Paralegal Studies at Seneca College. After two years of full time studies, she did the required internship at one of the leading immigration law firms in Toronto before successfully graduating from the Paralegal diploma program in June 2014. Having passed the Paralegal licensing exam in August 2014, she was granted a class P1 license by the Law Society of Upper Canada.
In June 2017, she graduated with honours in the Immigration Consultant program at Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning Business School in Toronto.
Although her main area of practice currently is immigration law, she is also authorized to represent clients in Small Claims Court, Ontario Court of Justice (e.g. cases involving the Provincial Offences Act, Highway Traffic Act) and before administrative tribunals (e.g. Landlord and Tenant Board, Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario) as a licensed paralegal.
Her educational credentials are as follows:
University degrees / Diploma / Certificates:
Immigration Consultant Program
Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
*Graduated in June 2017 with Honours
Paralegal Diploma Program - School of Legal and Public Administration
Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology, Toronto, Ontario
*Graduated with Honours
*Took courses in Immigration and Refugee Law, Employment Law, Residential Landlord and Tenant Law, Criminal Law, Provincial Offences, Legislation for Small Claims Court and Small Claims Court Practice and Procedure, and graduated with a GPA of 3.90
Alternative Dispute Resolution Certificate - School of Legal and Public Administration, Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology, Toronto, Ontario
Bachelor of Arts in Economics - De La Salle University, Philippines
*Assessed by World Education Services (WES) as equivalent to a Canadian Bachelor’s degree in Economics
Maria Deanna P. Santos
Ma. Cecilia P. Santos, RCIC
Santos Law Office was founded by Maria Deanna P. Santos and has been providing mainly immigration legal services for more than 10 years. From the initial consultation meeting to the very end of every client file, we work hard at understanding the clients' needs and try our very best to provide the most appropriate legal advice and pursue cost-effective legal remedies. Our team always strives to ensure that our clients are served with utmost dedication, honesty, professionalism and competence.