Customs & Immigration

Biden pressed to reopen border

Four U.S. border-state senators have asked President Joe Biden to lift restrictions that have limited Canadians’ access since March 2020. Pressing for entry by Canadians vaccinated against COVID-19, they expressed concern about “economic and emotional strain in our communities” and question why land-crossings for non-essential travel have been in effect, Canadians still can fly to the U.S. [node:read-more:link]

Asylum seekers challenge court ruling

The Supreme Court of Canada has been asked to review a Federal Court of Appeal ruling on the constitutionality of Canada’s “safe third country agreement” with the U.S. as it applies to asylum seekers. It enables Canada to turn back applicants seeking to enter from the U.S. A lower-court judge ruled last year that the 2004 agreement was unconstitutional but that was overturned earlier this year by the FCA. [node:read-more:link]

Some immigrants an issue in Denmark

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen of Denmark wants some migrants to be required to work for at least 37 hours a week if they want to continue receiving welfare benefits. She says the proposal, immediately criticized by some, is aimed at “non-Western” women in the hope of helping migrants to assimilate. “For too many years we have done a disservice to a lot of people by not demanding anything of them,” she says. [node:read-more:link]

Canada seeks to ban whistleblower

An attempt by a former U.S. Army private who leaked U.S. secrets about the wars in Afghanistan and whose 35-year prison sentence in 3013 was commuted after seven years is about to be reviewed by the Immigration and Refugee Board. Federal officials are preparing to argue that Chelsea Manning’s offence render her inadmissible even though she was permitted entry in 2018 for a brief visit. [node:read-more:link]

Travel restrictions eased

Canada today eased COVID-19 international travel restrictions by permitting fully-vaccinated foreign visits for non-essential purposes such as tourism. Travellers with proof of immunization no longer need to quarantine for 14 days but must have had a negative molecular test no more than 72 hours before their flight or arrival at the land border. [node:read-more:link]

NATO ally rescues Canada-bound Afghans

The day after Canada shut down its Afghanistan evacuation mission, Ukrainian troops, coordinated by their government and The Globe and Mail, managed to get Afghan translators and their families out of Kabul airport. Canada has asked Ukraine whether it is willing to transport other Canada-bound refugees to Kyiv for processing. [node:read-more:link]

Canada’s Afghan evacuation ends

The acting Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen Wayne Ayre, confirmed today that Canada’s Afghanistan evacuation mission has ended after the rescue of more than 3,700 people from Taliban-controlled Kabul. Other government officials said that two-thirds of evacuation applications representing 8,000 people had been processed but that “at this time no further evacuation flights are planned.” [node:read-more:link]

Afghanistan: Canada a third-country option

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino has broached the possibility of Canada taking Afghan refugees on behalf of its allies if asked to do so. “We should keep the door open to all possibilities,” he said today. ““If there were Afghans who had assisted coalition partners during the mission that also met the criteria for our humanitarian resettlement program, I think we should be prepared to consider such an arrangement.” [node:read-more:link]

Afghans victimized by bureaucracy?

Canada has received several planeloads of Afghans fleeing the Taliban but Canadian veterans say unrealistic bureaucrats are undermining the process by, among other things, requiring prospective refugees to have passports and proof of COVID-19 testing. One veteran involved in the rescue effort says that if the process is not improved, “people will get left behind and innocent people will die.” [node:read-more:link]

Tentative deal on new CBSA contract

Canada Border Services Agency employees have a tentative contract after 36 hours of 11th-hour negotiations with Treasury Board. The deal, yet to be formally ratified, followed a day-long work-to-rule campaign which resulted in long delays at some crossings only a couple of days before the border was to be reopened to vaccinated U.S. visitors. [node:read-more:link]

Border strike begins

Canada Border Services Agency employees began a “work to rule” strike today only two days before the federal government was preparing to reopen the border to vaccinated U.S. visitors. The 9,000 employees. 90 per cent of whom have been designated essential workers, have been without a contract for three years and 11th-hour negotiations evidently did not address concerns about workplace safety. [node:read-more:link]

First Afghans arrive in Canada

The first “of a number of flights” carrying Afghans who helped the Canadian military in Afghanistan arrived late Aug. 4 at Toronto International Airport. The government did not say how many evacuees were aboard the RCAF’s Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transport but at least three dozen were observed. [node:read-more:link]

Afghan evacuee plan sparks protest

About 100 resettled Afghan interpreters gathered in Ottawa Aug. 3 to ask the federal government to rescue extended families and former colleagues who remain under threat from the Taliban. The U.S. already has begun evacuations while Canada’s program seems stuck in bureaucratic limbo after more than a month of discussions. [node:read-more:link]

CBSA contract talks resume

Days after confirming that Canada Border Services Agency employees had voted in favour of strike action as early as Aug. 6, their unions resumed contract talks July 29 with Treasury Board. “The government is clearly concerned about . . . the possibility of major disruptions at the border,” said Public Service Alliance of Canada President Chris Aylward. “They need to bring a new mandate to address major workplace issues.” [node:read-more:link]

CBSA unions vote to strike

More than 8,500 Canada Border Services Agency employees have voted in favour of strike action, which could begin as early as Aug. 6, two days before the border is reopened to fully vaccinated U.S. residents. The Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Customs and Immigration Union acknowledged today that while many staff could be deemed essential, a strike could impact commercial traffic. [node:read-more:link]


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