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Future Canadians still cannot immigrate despite eased travel measures – Canada Immigration News

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Published on August 24th, 2021 at 05:00am EDT
Updated on August 24th, 2021 at 09:09am EDT

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The Abdeali family had made all the arrangements to come to Canada this year, as they finally received their approval for permanent residency during the pandemic. However, their travel documents expired before they were allowed to come to Canada. Now, they are among many approved permanent residents who have given up everything to come to Canada only to be told to wait for an indefinite amount of time.

Zainab Abdeali, a school teacher, gave her notice that she would not be returning for the next school year, as she and her family had been approved to come to Canada. Her husband dissolved his business. The couple sold their possessions and pulled their two children out of school.

Learn about Canada’s immigration system

Due to the travel restrictions, they could not travel to Canada to complete the final step in the immigration process. Between March 18, 2020 and June 21, 2021, approved permanent residents were not allowed to come to Canada. The only exceptions were for U.S. residents coming from south of the border and approved permanent residents who fell under another exemption.

The Abdeali family live in India, and they did not fall under another exemption. Now, they are among many Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) holders who are running into the same problems that pre-March-18 COPR holders had amid travel restrictions. Their documents expired while the border was closed to them, and the government does not allow for approved permanent residents to complete the landing process with invalid COPRs. As a result, future Canadian immigrants cannot take the last step to permanent residency, even though they have passed every other step in the process.

For the Abdeali’s their immigration process began in 2018.

“We’ve gone through everything. All ground checks. All the eligibility requirements. The medical is passed. We’re already approved. And again we are waiting for the immigration asking us if we want to move,” Zainab said.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s solution has been to contact clients individually, rather than providing a blanket exemption.

“Each client’s situation is unique and needs to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to ensure that they have valid visas for travel. In order to minimize the chance that they will encounter issues when they seek admission as permanent residents at the border, a broad extension for expired COPRs is not feasible,” IRCC media relations said.

They also stopped issuing COPRs for 90 days starting in March 2021, in an effort to curb the number of people whose documents would expire before travel restrictions were lifted. IRCC did not say how many post-March-18 COPR holders there are, as they are still calculating and verifying the data.

The official instructions for post-Mar-18 with expired documents say to wait for IRCC to contact them, and requests that they not contact IRCC. Instead, IRCC will send an email asking expired COPR holders if they still want to travel, then give them 10 days to respond. Eventually, IRCC will ask them for medicals and passports, if required. Individuals will have to respond to the requests, then IRCC will issue their renewed documents.

But the don’t-call-us-we’ll-call-you approach has left many in immigration limbo. With the expectation that they would be immigrating to Canada, many quit their jobs, pulled their kids out of school, and sold their possessions.

Akshya Shivkumar and her husband both quit their jobs in anticipation of immigrating to Canada. Their COPR expired shortly before travel restrictions on lifted in June. Since then, Shivkumar says she has been checking her email every day searching for answers, as her and her husband’s settlement funds slowly dwindle.

“We are all stuck in this waiting game, all for an ‘email’ of instructions that would take weeks? Months? Years?” Shivkumar said, “We are desperate for concrete information on processing timelines so we can get out of this limbo and mental distress.”

Many expired COPR holders, report feeling mentally distressed while waiting for their documents to be approved. The lack of available information means they cannot make plans for their future in their home country, nor in Canada.

“My kids are asking again and again when are they able to travel to Canada,” said Avtar Singh, another approved permanent resident. “The mental stress is way too much to handle. I’m losing weight.”

Singh gave up a senior position at his company in February 2020 in anticipation that he would arrive before his COPR expired two months later. Amid the height of the pandemic, and severe restrictions in India, there was no way for Singh, his wife and kids to come to Canada in time.

There is no fixed timeline for how long expired COPR holders will have to wait for IRCC to reissue their documents. IRCC suggested it would be “months” in an email to CIC News:

Individuals with expired COPRs issued after March 18, 2020, can expect to receive instructions from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in the coming months about what they need to do if they would like to have their COPR reissued. Family class applicants will be prioritized, after which clients will be contacted based on the date they applied for permanent residence.

For pre-March-18 COPR holders, it took 10 months to contact roughly 10,000 individuals. IRCC started issuing renewals in September 2020, officials said in a government committee meeting. As of July 11, 2021, all pre-March-18 COPR holders who were eligible for an extension have been contacted, according to an IRCC spokesperson.

Without a firm timeline, and no answers, many approved permanent residents have attempted to contact IRCC and other officials anyway, including Zainab.

“I called [the high commissioner of Canada to India] asking them what can be provided to us, wherein I know in a month or two months or what at least I have a timeframe in which I can do something for my children,” Zainab said. “I can [go back to work at] a school again, I can get my children into school again.”

Her 15-year-old son Murtza, also sent a video to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino, asking them to allow him and his family to travel to Canada.

“It’s so unfair to us that we’re abiding by everything and they’re processing other files like work permits,” Murtza told CIC News, referring to work and study permit holders who are allowed to travel to Canada. “On September 7, even tourists are going to be allowed but not us. We’re waiting for three years — we applied in 2018. It is very unfair.”

The current situation of expired COPR holders .

This is a message to the honourable prime minister of Canada Mr. Justin Trudeau and immigration minister Mr. Marco medicino to acknowledge EXPIRED COPR appli…

Learn about Canada’s immigration system

© CIC News All Rights Reserved. Visit CanadaVisa.com to discover your Canadian immigration options.

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BENANTHONY LAVOZ AND DELON OM GET RAW WITH “The Gentleman and Scholar”

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Toronto, ON – Canadian Latin Pop sensations BenAnthony Lavoz and Delon Omdropped their new EP “The Gentleman & Scholar.”  Coming off the success of their summer hit single “One More Time” the pop sensations went dark for their new project. The multi-talented artists wanted the lyrics of their new EP to describe the struggles we keep to ourselves, the ones that lead us to walk in the darkness.  Lavoz and Om brought in some heavy hitters to produce “The Gentleman and Scholar.  The EP was produced by David Neale (Karl Wolf, Danny Fernandes, Peter Jackson) and multi-platinum Grammy award winning producer, Sensei Musica (Fat Joe, Pitbull, and Shakira).  The project serves as an emotional outlet for Lavoz and Om, who bring to the table a genuine connect and passion.  The Gentleman and Scholar” reminds us that there are many parts that make up who we are, but at the heart of it all … is our truth.  Do we own it, or do we hide?   One of the singles on the EP, Follow the Leader” features Canadas own Danny Fernandes.  The three artists connected over their dark pasts to create the song about vulnerability, redemption and finding a new and forgiving path to walk. 

 

BenAnthony Lavoz, a Toronto native and Latin Grammy award winner has performed with Prince Royce, Nicky Jam, Bad Bunny and Ozuna. Delon Om, is a former Canadian Idol contestant, song writer and music producer signed to Ultra Records. Oms single, Someone Special To Me” was featured in the critically acclaimed documentary This is for Toronto.”  Together they produced an EP that speaks to the resilience of the human spirit, in hopes that lessons learned, and paths walked will give others hope and encouragement to step out of the dark and into the light.   

 

The Gentleman and Scholar” is raw and ready.  Step into the light on all music platforms today…

https://open.spotify.com/album/3UVffFHFUTktYpTCGN1Ba7?si=OsBEakH7Si2mb_Y1HseJoA&dl_branch=1

 

FOLLOW Delon OM: 

INSTAGRAM: @delon_om 

SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5rQzEmQuzhHIyn1N1g12s6?autoplay=true 

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5DcyrsEUpnb2r3X786nKyQ/featured 

 

FOLLOW BENANTHONY LAVOZ: 

INSTAGRAM: @benanthonylavoz 

SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3PSLZvxcutlF9L42d4Y9YJ?autoplay=true 

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIXjnthAd2L7d7NImU6atBA 

 

 

  

Media Inquiries:  

Sasha Stoltz Publicity & Management:
Sasha Stoltz | Sasha@sashastoltzpublicity.com | 416.579.4804

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Front-line workers shoulder burden of vaccine mandates – CBC.ca

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This story features an audience member, like you, who got in touch with us. Send us your questions. We are listening: ask@cbc.ca.

Service industry workers in Canada say they’re bearing the brunt of anger, frustration and general confusion from clients over new vaccine mandates that they had nothing to do with creating, but are now responsible for enforcing.

At the entrance to Wienstein & Gavino’s, an Italian restaurant in downtown Montreal, hostess Abigail Trevino is standing at the ready to greet clients and ask them for their proof of vaccination.

“I try to defuse the situation usually with a joke, saying that I feel more like a bouncer than a hostess these days,” said Trevino. “Usually people laugh at that and it’s enough to break the tension.”

For the most part, she said, people have been understanding of Quebec’s vaccine passport system, which came into effect on Sept. 1. Occasionally she’s had customers who were annoyed or frustrated, but no one who was outright aggressive.

“I had someone get quite visibly annoyed with me, but he did actually come back and apologize afterwards and say, ‘I realize that you don’t make the rules; I’m sorry I lost my temper.'”

‘Doubled the workload’

The challenge, more than anything, has been the extra work. “It’s basically doubled the workload,” Trevino said. 

From troubleshooting technical issues with smartphone QR codes and apps, to answering phone calls from people asking what kind of proof is accepted, Trevino said her responsibilities as a hostess have suddenly expanded.

While she agrees with the vaccine passport in principle, she’d like to see more recognition from the government about the added burden it places on businesses and their employees, when they’re already dealing with staff shortages.

“We’re doing a lot of extra work for no extra money, and it eats into the time it takes to seat people. It slows everything down,” said Trevino.

“It would be nice if people could be a little bit nicer to restaurant workers, because I understand that it’s frustrating for people to have to pull out their ID and they’re not always expecting it.… [But] if people could just be patient and understanding, and realize that we don’t make the rules.”

At the Hearty Hooligan, a vegan restaurant in Hamilton, management said their top concern is to make sure front-line staff feel safe. (Submitted by the Hearty Hooligan)

Across the border in Ontario, people have had less time to get used to vaccine certificate requirements, which came into effect on Wednesday.

The rules apply to venues including indoor areas at restaurants and bars, gyms and recreational facilities, and entertainment venues.

The Hearty Hooligan, a vegan restaurant in Hamilton, warned customers of the changes last week through a post on its Instagram account.

“Providing proof of vaccination when you are looking to dine in is the law,” the post states. “Front-line workers have taken a lot of abuse throughout this pandemic and we will not tolerate any harassment over these policies.”

The Hearty Hooligan warned its customers that vaccine requirements would be coming into effect with this Instagram post. (The Hearty Hooligan/Instagram)

But in response to that, head chef Matthew Miles said they’ve faced an onslaught of angry comments from people accusing them of everything from discrimination to supporting tyranny.

When the mask mandate first came into effect, Miles said they had customers enter the restaurant without masks, arguing about their rights. They’re bracing for more of that type of attitude.

To help protect staff, the restaurant installed a bell near the front till that rings directly to the kitchen, so that employees can call for extra help if there’s a conflict.

“Our issue right now is mainly the safety of our front-line staff. We want them to feel supported and we want them to feel safe in their workspace,” Miles said.

Inspections and fines

In response to those concerns, a spokesperson for the Ontario health minister said bylaw officers are responsible for enforcing the new requirements and inspectors will be visiting establishments to offer help and support to staff. 

Workers in Ontario are being asked to call 911 if they feel threatened for denying entry to someone who refuses to comply. 

In Quebec, people who try to get into places requiring a vaccination passport without one risk receiving fines ranging from $1,000 to $6,000. Businesses that don’t enforce vaccine passport rules can also face fines between $1,000 to $6,000.

Alberta’s new proof-of-vaccination program is not mandatory, but some of the businesses that have chosen to adopt it say they’re ready to call police if people refuse to co-operate.

Quebec’s vaccine-passport system went into effect Sept. 1, followed by a two-week education period. People are required to show digital or printed proof of vaccination for many non-essential activities and businesses. Other provinces are just beginning to roll out their systems. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Outside the restaurant and bar industry, workers in a range of sectors are now adding enforcement of public health restrictions to their list of tasks.

Nadia Ali, a 19-year-old Carleton University student who works part time as a lifeguard, recently learned she would have to screen swimmers for proof of vaccination.

The pool where she works is in an Ottawa condo building, and Ali said some residents have been angry about the changes.

“One lady came in and she told me this was unjust and discrimination, and that she wouldn’t be coming here again,”  Ali said. “I just told her, ‘I’m sorry but I just enforce the rules, I didn’t make them.'” 

Her management has been supportive, she said, and if a resident was ever aggressive, she would ask for help from the front desk. So far, it hasn’t come to that. 

More than anything, Ali said, it’s a lot of hassle and extra work. She hopes the process will get smoother with time.

Extra anxiety

It all comes down to employees being put in an unfair position that they never signed up for, according to Toronto-based employment lawyer Muneeza Sheikh.

“What we are doing, essentially, is we’re placing employees in a combative scenario when that isn’t part of their job duty,” she said.

Sheikh said some of her clients have hired new staff altogether — if they can afford it — to enforce vaccine mandates. But for establishments that don’t have or can’t afford security, she said the vaccine requirements put them in a difficult position.

“There are Canadian employees who have a significant amount of anxiety around going to work now around this vaccination passport and how it’s going to be implemented,” she said.

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Britain offers Canadian military help to defend the Arctic – CBC.ca

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Britain is signalling its interest in working with the Canadian military in the Arctic by offering to take part in cold-weather exercises and bring in some of its more advanced capabilities — such as nuclear-powered submarines — to help with surveillance and defence in the Far North.

In a recent exclusive interview with CBC News, the United Kingdom’s top military commander said his country is “keen to cooperate” and learn more about how to survive and fight in a cold, remote setting.

Gen. Sir Nick Carter said Britain would also like to “cooperate in terms of helping Canada do what Canada needs to do as an Arctic country.”

The offer was quietly floated months ago in government circles. Experts say, however, that successive Canadian governments have been reluctant to allow anyone — even close allies — to become too deeply embedded in the region. 

WATCH: Gen. Sir Nick Carter discusses the prospect of military cooperation with Canada in the Arctic

U.K. is keen for closer cooperation with Canada in the Arctic

16 hours ago

Gen. Sir Nick Carter, Britain’s chief of the defence staff, says the U.K. is keen for closer cooperation with Canada in the Arctic. He said the British military wants to learn from Canada’s experience and can bring capabilities to help better defend the region. 0:28

Much of that reluctance has to do with contested claims to Canada’s sovereignty in the Arctic. Concern over Canada’s exclusion from the recent security pact between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia may lend fresh urgency to the U.K.’s proposal, however.

CBC’s interview with Gen. Carter was conducted before the AUKUS pact was announced.

As members of NATO, both Britain and Canada have taken part in winter warfare exercises in Norway. Gen. Carter said he believes that cooperation could be expanded to the benefit of both countries. The British Army has for many years conducted armoured and combined warfare training at Suffield, Alta.

Keeping a closer eye on the Arctic

The Arctic is becoming more of a focus for NATO and Canada’s closest allies. The potential threat posed by the reactivation of Russia’s northern Cold War-era bases, as well as the interest of possible adversaries such as China, figured promptly in speeches and panel discussions at the recent NATO leaders summit last June.

Canada’s former Conservative government placed a premium on increasing Canada’s military presence in the Far North; it built a naval refuelling station and set in motion the construction of Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships, which are just being delivered.

Then-prime minister Stephen Harper looks down the shoreline in the Arctic port of Nanisivik, Nunavut on August 10, 2007. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)

Those measures offer Canada’s military limited capabilities, however. Underwater and satellite surveillance of the region is still in the planning and early implementation phases.

Carter said the U.K. has capabilities that could help keep closer tabs on the Arctic’s rapidly melting seas and inlets, but it would be up to the Canadian government to decide.

“We would absolutely defer to Canada’s expertise in this,” Carter told CBC News.

“I think we have military capabilities, certainly in the maritime domain and in terms of our science that would be useful to Canada and I think operating alongside Canada in that regard is going to be clearly good for both countries.”

Going nuclear

What Britain has — and Canada lacks — is a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, which can operate under ice for extended periods of time.

When Canada bought its current diesel-electric submarines from Britain in the late 1990s it embarked on a project to retrofit them with fuel cells that would have delivered better, longer under-ice performance. The plan fell through and was quietly shelved.

In the late 1980s, the Conservative government of former prime minister Brian Mulroney proposed buying 12 nuclear-powered submarines with the goal of using them for Arctic defence. The end of the Cold War and subsequent defence cuts caused the plan to be shelved.

The University of Calgary’s Rob Huebert, one of the country’s leading experts on Arctic defence, said that after a hiatus of almost a dozen years, the British rejoined the biennial American high Arctic military exercise in 2018 with their nuclear-powered submarines.

Back in March, the Russians deployed three ultra-quiet nuclear subs to simultaneously punch through the Arctic ice in the same location — a demonstration that set the defence community buzzing.

Three nuclear submarines owned by Russia maneuvered to break through several feet of Arctic ice at the same time in March 2021. (Russian Defence Ministry)

“We do not have the capability of engaging Russian submarines or Chinese submarines, if and when that ever becomes a reality,” said Huebert, speaking about the Canadian navy’s Arctic inventory. “That’s the No. 1 capability that the British bring to the Arctic.”

CBC News asked Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s office to comment on the notion of closer cooperation with the British in Canada’s Far North. The query went unanswered.

Huebert said successive Canadian governments have been reluctant to let the allies become more deeply involved in the region, beyond the Operation Nanook exercise held each summer.

“We’re fearful any type of involvement with NATO would undermine our sovereignty,” said Huebert, noting that both the United States and Britain do not recognize Canada’s claim to the Northwest Passage.

Canada needs to show the flag: defence expert

The British offer of cooperation and assistance is a wake-up call for the Liberal government on several different fronts, said Dave Perry, a vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

It is, he said, a reminder that Canada needs to be more present in the region.

“There have been [Canadian] commitments to increase the situational awareness there, but that has a long way to go and the thing for Canadians to remember is that it is our actual territory and our backyard,” he said. 

“I think it is great to work with other people, but we should be doing what we can to make sure we have a home field advantage.”

With Australia planning to acquire nuclear submarines — which conceivably could operate in the Arctic as well — Perry was asked if Canada will have to rely more on its allies to monitor and defend its territory.

“I think the AUKUS deal is an indicator that there are some countries with whom we have been intimately familiar and intimately allied with. Some of our best friends on the planet are firming even tighter, smaller clubs,” he said.

“The United States under successive administrations is being far less benign about allies that they look at as pulling — or not pulling — their weight … The United States is looking for people who will pull their weight.”

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