• Expertise. Experience. Tenacity.

BLANSHAY LAW will be supporting public health recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Our Firm offices are now open, by appointment only. Legal services & representation continue online, as well.

Stay safe & healthy.


A 2021 LEXPERT ranked Canadian Immigration Law Firm, Blanshay Law LLP focuses on all Immigration, Refugee & Citizenship applications, with 30-years of hands-on experience, and a deep understanding of the Canadian immigration system. BL has extensive experience in immigration litigation before the Federal Court of Canada & all Divisions of the Immigration and Refugee Board, including Admissibility / Enforcement matters. Equity, Respect & Courtesy have remained the foundation of the Firm’s philosophy.

  • Litigation

    Blanshay Law experience & expertise in appellate & administrative law litigation remains a cornerstone of the Firm. BL routinely litigates refusals of immigration, refugee and citizenship applications to the Federal Court of Canada, as well as the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) and Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).

    BL has tremendous success in representing clients facing refusals in all immigration and refugee categories, as well as handling complex enforcement matters including criminality, misrepresentation, medical admissibility, allegations of engagement in war crimes, crimes against humanity & human smuggling.

    BL Lawyers appear regularly before the Federal Court on Stay Motions to stop forcible deportations.

    We maintain an excellent reputation before the Courts and Tribunal, applying years of practical & beneficial experience to each file. Arguments, both written and oral, are built from the ground up, with the sole focus of success for each client.

  • Permanent Residency

    •   Family-Class Sponsorship
    •   Express Entry (EE) – Federal Skilled Workers (FSW) / Canadian
    •   Experience Class (CEC) / Federal Skilled Trades Program
    •   Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) Cases
    •   Refugee Claims
    •   Refugee Appeals
    •   Pre-Removal Risk Assessments
    •   Danger Opinions
    •   Provincial Nomination Programs
    •   Immigrant Investors
    •   Citizenship Applications

  • Temporary Residency

    • •  Temporary Resident Visas (TRV / Visitor Visas)
    • •  Work Permits
    • •  Study Permits
    • •  North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Permits
    • •  Temporary Resident Permits (TRP)
    • •  Criminal Rehabilitation Permits

  • Refugee Law

    With over thirty years of experience representing asylum seekers, we understand that many individuals seeking protection may be extremely vulnerable and often carry the weight of their traumatic experience. All of our work is informed by this understanding, especially given that members of our legal team have firsthand, lived experience as members of historically marginalized groups.

    We stress the importance of preparation. The majority of our work with our clients occurs in advance of them appearing for a Refugee Hearing before any of the four Divisions of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), including the Refugee Protection Division (RPD). In light of COVID-19, we prepare our clients for virtual appearances, as we are keenly aware of the unique challenges of this new format. We ensure that each proceeding is conducted in accordance with the principles of justice and appreciation of our clients’ unique needs.

    We are well-equipped to address and resolve the complexities of asylum seekers’ backgrounds and experiences, including Enforcement / Admissibility issues, ranging from ineligibility, exclusion, applications to vacate refugee status, and Ministerial Interventions, (Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)), within the refugee hearing context.

    Our goal is to ensure that our clients’ stories are clearly conveyed and that whatever personal challenges they are facing are alleviated by the knowledge that they are represented by zealous and compassionate Advocates.


Our Team

Robert Israel Blanshay
Founding Senior Lawyer


Natalie Gilliard
Barrister & Solicitor, Senior Associate Lawyer


Annie Rupchand
Barrister & Solicitor, Junior Associate Lawyer


Felix Chakirov
Barrister & Solicitor, Senior Associate Lawyer


Laura Sestito Burgess
Senior Legal Assistant


Brittany Aston
Junior Legal Assistant



228 Gerrard Street East,
Toronto, ON, Canada,
M5A 2E8

Robert Israel Blanshay
E: robert@apply2canada.com

Email correspondence is for information purposes only. Do not disclose confidential information. Website content is offered for information purposes only and ought not be taken as legal advice. We will not provide legal advice until you are a client of our firm. You will not be considered a client until our firm has agreed to represent you in accordance with the terms and conditions of our retainer agreement.

Robert Israel Blanshay

Natalie Gilliard – Senior Associate Lawyer

Natalie is an Immigration & Refugee lawyer focusing primarily on administrative litigation. She holds
a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the Ontario Bar in 2016. Prior
to joining BLANSHAY LAW, she worked at one of Toronto’s most respected Community Legal
Services Clinic, as well as a private Immigration Law Firm in Toronto. Natalie regularly and
successfully represents clients before the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the Immigration and
Refugee Board (IRB). She has significant experience litigating matters at the Refugee Appeal
Division (RAD) of the IRB, as well as, the Federal Court of Canada. Natalie understands that the
legal field and immigration domain can be challenging for clients. She prides herself on
communicating with clients in a clear, direct, efficient and empathetic manner. Natalie’s practices
focuses, as well, on the preparation of written immigration applications including Pre-Removal Risk
Assessment (PRRA) applications, Permanent Residence (PR) Family-Class (FC) Spousal
Sponsorships, Temporary Resident Permits (TRP), Criminal Rehabilitation applications, Citizenship
applications, and PR applications on Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds (H&C). Natalie is a
member of the Law Society of Ontario (LSO), Canadian Bar Association (CBA), Ontario Bar
Association (OBA) and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL). In her free time, she
enjoys traveling, devouring a good book, and is passionate about health and wellness.

Annie Rupchand – Junior Associate Lawyer

Annie is a Junior Associate Lawyer with the Firm, having completed her Articles here, passing the Ontario Bar in 2020. Prior to joining BLANSHAY LAW, Annie worked as a volunteer with the East Toronto Legal Aid Clinic for 2-years. Annie completed her B.A. (Honours) in International Development Studies, York University in 2009 along with a Bachelor’s Degree in the Sciences of Human Psychology in 2011. In 2012, she moved to Buckingham, England where she completed her Juris Doctorate (J.D.) at the University of Buckingham. After spending a few years exploring Europe, Annie returned to Canada. Her practice is diverse, deftly handling immigration applications in the Economic, Business, and Corporate Immigration domain, as well as Family-Class (FC) and the refugee category. Annie’s diverse background translates into her approaching clients with an open mind, providing her with an innate ability to connect seamlessly with a diverse spectrum of clients. In her spare time, Annie likes to play tennis in the Summer and snowboard in the Winter.

Felix Chakirov – Senior Associate Lawyer

Felix graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2017. Felix’s practice focuses on both the immigration category as well as the refugee category. Felix works with clients in the Economic, Business Immigration stream. In addition, he has amassed a broad level of expertise, which includes litigating before all Divisions of the Immigration & Refugee Board (IRB), including refugee hearings, refugee appeals, and stays of deportation. Felix has successfully represented clients before the Federal Court of Canada. Felix holds a Master’s Degree in history from the University of Toronto, where he was a recipient of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant and the Ontario Graduate Scholarship. Felix’s legal practice is fueled by an indelible respect for human rights towards immigrants and refugees in Canada.

Laura Sestito Burgess – Senior Legal Assistant 

Laura Sestito acts as the Firm’s Senior Legal Assistant. She brings hands-on experience and an  extensive knowledge of administration and office support. Laura is a seasoned team leader with  excellent communication skills and an outstanding ability to multitask. She spent seven years  working in the United Kingdom (U.K.) for senior executives and overseeing marketing, business  development, and sales teams. Laura was the Account Manager for numerous training and  education programmes developed for Legal and Investment Firms in the U.K. and United Arab  Emirates (U.A.E.). Laura bravely opened, owned and operated a successful, independent  business in Toronto for over five years. The opportunity enabled a deepened understanding of  client relations, communication, and a day -to- day understanding required for managing a  successful enterprise. At BLANSHAY LAW, Laura strives to assist and support clients with all  aspects of their immigration matters in a friendly, approachable and positive manner.

Brittany Aston joined BL in 2021, bringing years of hands-on experience with Administration & Client Relations. Brittany gained valuable experience within the Seniors Community, Assisted-Living, as well as the Hospitality & Service area. Brittany’s approach is friendly, efficient, stress-free, & respectful. She bears a sturdy command of BL Administration, working seamlessly & in tandem with the entire Legal Team.