Customs & Immigration

Canadian resident stranded in Russia

Ekaterina Usmanova, a Canadian resident since 2014 who returned to Russia to visit her family in August, now is stranded in her former homeland after her documents were stolen in transit at Istanbul Airport on her way back to Canada. She says that when she tried to visit the Istanbul consulate after filing a police report, she was refused access because she is not a Canadian citizen and has found Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada unhelpful. [node:read-more:link]

Time to wake up and smell the coffee

Draft federal legislation which would dissolve the RCMP’s civilian complaints review body and create a replacement which also would deal with Canada Border Services Agency should involve indigenous personnel. A potential amendment to Bill C-20, broached in the House of Commons by the New Democratic Party’s public safety critic, has drawn the support of the president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs. “It's absolutely essential that any oversight bodies of policing agencies include an indigenous presence,” says Grand Chief Stewart Phillip. [node:read-more:link]

Envoys at odds over NEXUS

Amidst growing U.S. pressure to resolve a legal dispute over the NEXUS trusted traveller arrangement with Canada, the countries ambassadors voiced diametrically opposite opinions. Kristen Hillman, Canada's Ambassador in Washington says the U.S. is holding the program “hostage” by demanding legal immunity for officers working at a Canadian-based office. Her opposite number in Ottawa, David Cohen, says “it’s Canada's problem to solve” as the U.S. maintains its position. [node:read-more:link]

Canada accelerating immigration

Concerned about critical labour shortages in many sectors of the economy, the federal government announced November 1 that it plans to attract 500,000 immigrants annually by 2025. “There were a million jobs available in the Canadian economy at a time when immigration already accounts for nearly all of our labor force growth,” Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said. “We cannot maximize our economic potential if we don't embrace immigration.” [node:read-more:link]

ArriveCan politically dead on arrival?

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre wangs the Auditor General to look into the federal government’s management of the glitch-ridden ArriveCan app. Among other things, he wants a priority audit of “the payments, contracts and sub-contracts for all aspects” of the program. “When $54 million goes out the door and government officials can't get their story straight about where it went, the least we can do is have an audit,” Poilievre said today. [node:read-more:link]

Immigrants at record levels

Statistics Canada reported today that 23 per cent of the Canadian population, some 8.3 million people, were or are immigrants or permanent residents who now account for the largest segment of the population in the country's history. Surpassing the previous record of 22.3 per cent reported in 1921, it means Canada has a larger share of this census category than any other G7 country. [node:read-more:link]

Jailing migrants on the wane

Manitoba plans to be the fourth province to stop incarcerating migrants, including asylum seekers, on behalf of the Canada Border Services Agency. Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen’s office says migrants not convicted of crimes should not be “languishing” in facilities better suited to detain criminals or persons held for trial. [node:read-more:link]

CBSA admits erroneous information

The Canada Border Services Agency has acknowledged that it provided inaccurate information to Parliament about an ArriveCan contract and plans a review of its list of companies that received federal funding. The issue came to light October 20 when it was reported that the CEO of one company had said it not worked on the controversial app’s development. [node:read-more:link]

ArriveCAN a costly boondoggle?

The initial version of the contentious ArriveCAN mobile application two years ago cost $80,000 but the total bill by the end of the current fiscal years is expected to be $54 million due to system updates, technical support and other factors. The disclosure comes as MPs on a parliamentary committee scrapped October 17 over a proposed inquiry. [node:read-more:link]

Nexus in extremis!

Continued issues with the Nexus “trusted traveller” program are “deeply troubling” for Business Council of Canada CEO Goldy Howder. The U.S has not reopened 13 enrolment centres in Canada where its Customs and Border Protection agents are not afforded the same legal protections as they have at ports of entry such as at airports and border crossings [node:read-more:link]

Iranian elite military banned from Canada

More than 10,000 members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps will be permanently barred from entering Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today as he announced other immigration measures against the Iranian regime. He also promised $76 million to bolster the ability of Global Affairs Canada and the RCMP to implement sanctions. [node:read-more:link]

Russians seek asylum in Alaska

Two Russian sailors have been detained by the Department of Homeland Security after crossing 480 kilometres to Alaska from Siberia in a small boat. They landed on sparsely-populated St. Lawrence Island, which is closer to Russia than the U.S., and have since been flown to Anchorage. [node:read-more:link]

Migrant case before Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of Canada heard opening arguments today in a case which could determine how migrants seeking asylum in Canada are treated. At issue is whether Canada can refuse entry at land crossings, returning them to the U.S. A 2004 accord requires claimants to request protection in the first “safe” country they reach but critics argue that migrants are at risk of mistreatment in the U.S. [node:read-more:link]

Finland limiting Russian entries

Except for work, study or family visits, Russians with Schengen tourist visas which permit passport-free movement between 26 EU states, Finland today began limiting the influx of Russians fleeting their government’s military troop mobilization. “The decision aims to completely prevent the current situation of Russian tourism . . . and the related transit through Finland,” Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said September 29. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian governments breaking international law?

Provincial jails in many jurisdictions are being used to hold migrants even though they are not accused of a crime. The detention is covered by agreements with the Canada Border Services Agency but the executive director of Amnesty International Canada’s francophone branch, says international law prohibits incarceration for administration reasons related to immigration. British Columbia and Nova Scotia are terminating their contracts with the CBSA but Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Alberta and Saskatchewan are holding fast for now. [node:read-more:link]


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