Customs & Immigration

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]

Federal bonuses challenged by MP

The fact that federal public servants received a total of $190 million in total bonuses in 2021-2022, up 11 per cent from the previous fiscal year, is being criticized by Alberta Conservative MP Kelly McCauley. “We should not be rewarding departments that have people waiting outside 12 hours in the snow for a passport,” he says. “We shouldn’t be rewarding anyone at immigration when there’s record backlogs for reuniting families.” [node:read-more:link]

Canadian coronavirus controls expiring

Most of Canada's pandemic border restrictions are set to expire at the end of this month after Prime Minister Justin signed off on the decision September 22. It affects mandatory vaccinations, testing and quarantine of international travellers. In addition, the controversial ArriveCan app is being shelves except as an optional tool for customs and immigration. [node:read-more:link]

Private jets used to smuggle migrants

A multinational police operation has resulted in the arrest of five persons who used private jets to smuggle migrants into Europe. The suspects and two others still at large are accused of giving the migrants fake diplomatic papers from Saint Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean but flew them from Turkey to a European airport where declared their true identity and claimed asylum. Two jets worth €426,000 have been seized. [node:read-more:link]

Afghan evacuee’s grim prospects

Before life as he knew it turned upside down with the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, Mohammad Fahim Rahmani worked with the Canadian embassy in Kabul. Evacuated to Canada with his family nearly a year ago, he has been receiving federal support which is now about to run out. The Toronto resident is being advised to pack up and move to a shelter even as his parents’ permanent residence paperwork languishes in a long processing queue. [node:read-more:link]

Border issues a persistent challenge

A federal task force created to improve service at airports as well as passport and immigration offices said today that increased staffing is yielding improvements. However, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller, a task force co-chair, admitted that “we’re not out of the woods yet.” [node:read-more:link]


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