Heron Law Offices was founded by Will Tao and Edris Arib. Will and Edris spent nearly three years working together at Edelmann and Co. Law Offices, a leading and award-winning progressive Canadian immigration and refugee law firm in Vancouver, B.C. Their collaboration led to Will winning the Canadian Bar Association’s Founder’s Award in 2020 and Vancouver Immigration Blog being named Best Law Blog in Canada in 2019.
Prior to this, Will spent three years as a lawyer with Larlee Rosenberg, Barristers and Solicitors, a Top 10 Canadian Immigration Boutique Law Firm. During this time, Edris worked for leading international organizations such as International Development Law Organization (IDLO); Transparency International and Norwegian Refugee Council with a focus on the rule of law and human rights subject matters.
On a fateful (cold, but sunny) December day, Will and Edris met at a quaint coffee shop on Commercial Drive. Edris told Will, who was at the time already expecting his first daughter and made a major move to Burnaby, B.C., that it was now or never to build their own, encumbered, story – their own Law Firm. Edris promised he would be there as Will’s right-hand and co-founder.
Early in our practice, we met Angela Lee Harris, a lawyer who is passionate about social justice and assisting people on their journeys to building a better future. Angela articled at a small full-service law firm in downtown Vancouver, BC, where she developed a keen interest in immigration and refugee law. She is also eager to explore the intersections between Canadian immigration law and Indigenous law and communities.
Shortly after, a former star student from Will’s teaching days at University of British Columbia (UBC), Candy Hui, a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC), joined the team as a case manager. Candy brings a high-energy, research-intensive approach in working on our immigration matters and with our clients. As a Pharmacist by training, she is always looking for the right solution for our clients.
Our Team, Together
Together, as a team, we want to build a firm around the core principles of compassion, empathy, and justice. We believe that our lived experiences and evidence and research-based knowledge can help guide you in your times of greatest need.
Read about our vision in our open letter below:
Canadian Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship law firm based in the Greater Vancouver area serving clients in Canada and around the World.
Our core areas of specialization:
1. International Students
2. Judicial Reviews
3. Family and Spousal Sponsorships
4. Immigration Appeals
We chose to launch our headquarters in Burnaby, B.C. (with mobility throughout the Greater Vancouver region) because we believe this city represents our ideal future Canada in terms of diversity, resilience, and often hidden beauty. We look forward to welcoming you at our offices.
As set out in our value propositions, we believe there is a way to lawyer differently. We aim to provide process-oriented, cost effective services that are aided (not hindered) by technology and project management. We want to lawyer compassionately and confidently and continue the excellent work we have done to inspire future immigration lawyers and law students.
We want to be Lawyers for Migrant Communities and do this for our next generation. We thank you for being part of our story.
Going Beyond the Law
At Heron Law, we go beyond the limitations that the law often provides. Our clients’ experiences are transformed into advocacy and action. We take lessons learned and apply them to our community work, our strategic litigation, and our participation on policy panels. We advocate for larger systemic changes to benefit our clients and the system as a whole.
Our Visions for Expansion
We hope for Heron Law Offices to provide other legal services beyond immigration law and are actively looking to partner with human rights, family, criminal, small business, non-profit, employment, and social services-related lawyers to transform our Firm into a more comprehensive source for migrant communities.
We invite lawyers, law students, immigration professionals, and support staff interested in our work and our direction to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-founder/Canadian Immigration and Refugee Lawyer
Will Tao* (pronouns: he/him) is a Canadian Immigration and Refugee Lawyer and the founder of Heron Law Offices who lives and works on the traditional, unceded territories of the Coast Salish – sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) nations.
Will provides legal services in all areas of Canadian immigration and refugee law with a focus on complex applications, overcoming refusals, inadmissibility matters, appeals, and judicial reviews. Will regularly appeals before the Immigration and Refugee Board and the Federal Court of Canada. His focus is on international students, families, and temporary foreign workers.
Will also provides strategic advice and consultation to government, media, educational institutions, and businesses on immigration/refugee, decolonization, and race equity related issues. He is the founder and creator of the award-winning Vancouver Immigration Blog, where he hopes to make immigration and refugee law more accessible to the general public. He also has significant past teaching experience as an instructor for University of British Columbia’s Certificate in Immigration Laws, Policies, and Procedures (CILPP) program.
Outside of the law, Will is a blogger, podcaster, poet, writer, and often can be found in the back aisles of local ethnic grocery stores and sweating profusely in hole-in-the-wall restaurants/eateries asking for the ‘extra spicy.’ His most important job now is father to a young diasporic daughter, Esmeranda, and cheerleader for his incredible spouse, Olivia,.
Awards and Recognitions
Will was awarded the Canadian Bar Association’s 2020 Founder’s Award for accomplishments in his first five years of practice, and has won two Clawbies Awards, including having the Best Immigration Law Blog in 2019. He is listed as a Best Lawyer™ in the practice area of Immigration since 2017.
- S v. Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2020 FC 718 (CanLII)
- Canadian Council for Refugees v. Canada (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship), 2019 FC 418 (CanLII)
- Z v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2018 FC 502 (CanLII)
- Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness) v. M, 2018 FC 729 (CanLII)
- C v Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2018 CanLII 89016 (CA IRB)
- W v Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness), 2016 CanLII 90976 (CA IRB)
Will currently sits as a Board member of the Roundtable Society.. He is a member of the Canadian Bar Association’s National Immigration Section Anti-Racism Committee. He is also an Honourary Member of the Immigration Advocacy Committee of the Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIE).
He previously chaired the Cultural Communities Advisory Committee of the City of Vancouver and was on the Board of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, British Columbia (“FACLBC”)
Canadian Immigration and Refugee Lawyer
Angela Lee Harris
Angela Lee Harris (pronouns: she/her) is a Canadian Immigration and Refugee Lawyer who lives and works on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples – sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) nations.
Angela holds a Juris Doctor from the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (with a minor in Social Justice Studies) from the University of Victoria.
At law school, Angela contributed to the community by serving on the Allard Law Students’ Society Equity & Diversity Committee; assisting clients with complex disability benefits applications at the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada’s Volunteer Legal Advocacy Program (through a Pro Bono Students Canada placement); and completing a clinical externship at Rise Women’s Legal Centre, where she provided services in family law matters to women who faced barriers to accessing legal assistance. Angela also participated in Allard Law’s Indigenous Cultural Competency Certificate Program and is committed to developing her cultural competency as part of a lifelong process.
Prior to joining Heron Law Offices, Angela articled at a small full-service law firm located in downtown Vancouver, where she gained experience in various practice areas, including immigration & refugee law, family law, civil litigation, and human rights law.
Angela practices in all areas of immigration and refugee law. However, she has a particular interest in refugee law, humanitarian and compassionate grounds, and immigration litigation. Angela is also eager to explore the intersections between Canadian immigration law and Indigenous law and communities, and to support efforts to decolonize the Canadian immigration system.
Angela is a passionate advocate for social justice and has extensive experience working with clients from diverse backgrounds in a respectful and culturally sensitive manner. She is a proud member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community and is attuned to the unique challenges that 2SLGBTQ+ people face in navigating Canada’s immigration and refugee systems.
Outside of the law, Angela is an incredible singer and has performed at numerous music venues and events around BC. She also enjoys creative writing, photography, hiking, cooking original vegetarian dishes, and studying the Spanish language.
Awards and Achievements
- The Honourable Justice Grant Burnyeat Award in Law, University of British Columbia (2016)
- University of Victoria Faculty of Social Sciences Dean’s List (2016)
- University of Victoria Excellence Scholarship (2011-2015)
Angela is a member of the Law Society of British Columbia, the Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, and the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (British Columbia) Society.
Canadian Immigration & Refugee Lawyer
Harmit joined Heron Law Offices in 2021. She practices immigration, refugee and citizenship law. Harmit’s practice includes pro bono work as a Board member of South Asian Legal Clinic of British Columbia (SALCBC), and a volunteer lawyer with Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights (CLAIHR).
Harmit began her legal career as a corporate and commercial lawyer at a boutique business law firm in Vancouver. She received her JD degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 2019 and was called to the Bar of British Columbia in 2020.
During law school, Harmit volunteered with the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), where she provided research support in the areas of constitutional and human rights law. Prior to attending law school, Harmit received her BA in psychology from the University of British Columbia.
She speaks English, Punjabi and (conversational) Hindi.
Board Member and Volunteer Lawyer
South Asian Legal Clinic of British Columbia (SALCBC)
Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights (CLAIHR)
Co-founder/Director of Operations
At – On Leave – Completing PhD
Edris Arib is a Director of Operations/Case Manager at Heron Law Offices who lives and works on the traditional, unceded territories of the Coast Salish – sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) nations.
Edris Arib is a law and public policy professional with experience in international and civil society organisations. He worked as Legal Counselor for Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and International Development Law Organization (IDLO), and as Policy and Advocacy Consultant for Transparency International.
He holds a Masters degree in Public Policy from the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy at the University of Erfurt in Germany.
Outside the Law Firm, Edris is immersed in his PhD on Grand Corruption and explores BC Parks and Restaurants with his family.
Candy Ngo Fai Hui
Candy Ngo Fai Hui is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant who lives and works on the Treaty four land which are the territories of the nêhiyawak (nay-hi-yuh-wuk), Anihšināpēk (uh-nish-i-naa-payk), Dakota, Lakota, and Nakoda, and the homeland of the Métis/Michif Nation.
Candy received her immigration education from the University of British Columbia’s Certificate in Immigration Laws, Policies, and Procedures (CILPP) program.
Candy is an immigration professional but also a healthcare professional located in Regina, Saskatchewan. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy (BSP) from the University of Saskatchewan.
Candy is eager to explore the world of immigration with the aid of her healthcare skills such as critically appraising resources, finding and communicating recommendations and actively listen, address and educate clients on multiple topics and concerns.
Candy is an active member of the Chinese community in Regina, Saskatchewan. She is proud member of the Regina Chinese Musical Association. She is a volunteer with the Regina Chinese Benevolent Association performing duties such as being the master of ceremony for Chinese New Years Celebrations.
Candy is a member of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants (CAPIC), Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy Professionals (SCPP) and Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan (PAS).
Operations Coordinator / Case Manager
Xiaoyi is an immigrant, former international student, and proud community builder. Her own migration journey and community work inspired her to pursue a career in Immigration. Right now, she is working towards her RCIC designation after graduating from the Immigration: Laws, Policies, and Procedures certificate program at University of British Columbia. She is also among the inaugural cohort of the Migrant Systems Change Leadership Program of the Refugee Livelihood Lab under the Radius Social Innovation Hub at Simon Fraser University.
Before joining Heron Law, Xiaoyi was working as a legal assistant in a leading and progressive immigration and refugee law office assisting lawyers with complicated immigration matters. At Heron Law, Xiaoyi wants to continue her learning and growing by designing and operating equitable systems, engaging communities to facilitate their own learning, along with building her knowledge in immigration law. In her dream world, she wants to be someone who helps her community to make sense of the often-overwhelming immigration system, understand the inaccessible legal jargons, and break down the gatekeeping nature of the industry; she wants to advocate for an empathy-driven practice where a deeper level of trust and relationship can be built and human-centred practices are the norms; she also wants to build a community of racialized immigration practitioners who advocate on policy changes.
Having lived in North America for almost a decade now, Xiaoyi is still trying to make sense of her place in the world and that constant feeling of neither here nor there. She believes in the power of storytelling, vulnerability, and human connections. She also believes that the best self-care is through caring for her communities who are experiencing marginalization in one way or another.
Xiaoyi is also a workshop facilitator and Mandarin teacher who dedicates herself to creating inclusive and informative learning spaces. When she is not working, you will find her reading, creating passion projects, and connecting with people.