OTTAWA - Millions of visitors to Canada would be charged a new fee under a proposed electronic security screening plan.
The federal government is soliciting public comment on the plan to introduce online travel applications as part of the sweeping perimeter security pact with the United States.
Foreign nationals who currently do not need a visa to visit Canada — including people from Britain, France and many other countries — would have to successfully apply for an electronic travel authorization before arriving by air.
U.S. citizens would be exempted from the new requirement.
Records released under the Access to Information Act say Canada expects approximately 3.5 million electronic travel authorization applications annually beginning in April 2015.
It would align Canada’s approach to screening visa-exempt foreign visitors with that of the United States, which already has a similar electronic system in place. The idea is to identify possible security threats before they reach North America.
Canada is one step closer to forcing visitors from almost every country in the world to obtain authorization before flying into the country.
The proposed changes to the law would require citizens from countries that currently don’t require visas—such as the United Kingdom and most of the European Union—to obtain an “electronic travel authorization” before traveling to Canada by air, according to recently-released details.
The move to collect and share travellers’ information, including background and “biographical” notes, is part of Canada’s Beyond the Border agreement with the United States, signed in 2011.
Newcomers (instead of immigrants)
Always the politically-correct nation, official Canadian government documents have stopped referring to people as “immigrants” and instead uses the very warm and fuzzy “newcomers.” Sure beats the US calling people “resident aliens.”
Calgary, July 2, 2013 — Canada’s new and more secure 10-year ePassport is now available to Canadians, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.
“The new, 10-year ePassport provides more convenience for Canadians, and facilitates safe, secure travel which, in turn, helps create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Canadians,” said Minister Kenney. “The Canadian passport is not only a privilege of citizenship, but a reflection of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.”
New Brunswick Bilingualism
A satirical snapshot of Canada’s only officially bilingual province
Bill 14 and Bilingual Status of Quebec Municipalities
The City of Côte Saint-Luc explains bilingual status of Quebec municipalities and how Bill 14, if adopted, will reduce local bilingual services
New Parent and Grandparent program re-opens January 2, 2014
Mississauga, May 10, 2013 — Citizenship and Immigration Canada will re-open the Parent and Grandparent (PGP) program for new applications on January 2, 2014, by which time the backlog and wait times in the program are expected to have been cut in half.
“The Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification is on track to meet the goals of cutting in half the backlog and wait times in the Parent and Grandparent program,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.
“It is very important that we continue to make progress and not return to the old broken system with wait times as long as a decade—that would be unfair to families.”
Phase II of the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification will provide even faster processing times, reduce the backlog further, prevent future backlogs, ensure that families have the financial means to support those they sponsor, and protect the interests of taxpayers.
First – In 2012 and 2013, Canada will admit 50,000 parents and grandparents as permanent residents. This represents the highest level of parents and grandparents admitted in 20 years. In 2014, Canada will maintain high levels of admissions for parents and grandparents.
Second – The Super Visa will become permanent and will continue to provide flexibility for families who access the 10-year multiple-entry visa, allowing visa holders to remain in Canada up to two years at a time. Over 15,000 Super Visas have been issued since the program’s launch in December 2011 with approval rates averaging 86 percent.
Third – New qualifying criteria for permanent residency sponsorship of parents and grandparents will increase the financial responsibility of sponsors to ensure they have the means to support those they sponsor, while limiting the program’s cost to taxpayers and Canada’s strained health and social programs.
Fourth – 5,000 new sponsorship applications will be accepted in the program in 2014. By accepting 5,000 applications in 2014 while maintaining high levels, the government will be able to further reduce the remaining backlog so that families can be reunited more quickly.
“These new criteria ensure sponsored family members are well supported by their sponsors throughout their time in Canada,” said Minister Kenney. “The redesigned Parent and Grandparent program reunites families faster while respecting Canadian taxpayers and the limited resources for health and social programs.”
Canada has one of the most generous family reunification programs in the world. The United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand do not allow grandparents to be sponsored at all or only in very limited circumstances, and they have very restrictive criteria for the sponsorship of parents.
The amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations that are being proposed will be pre-published in the Canada Gazette (Part I) and the public will be able to comment for a 30-day period.
- Backgrounder: Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification - Phase II
- Backgrounder: Regulatory Impact Assessment Statement - PGP Program
- Backgrounder: Regulatory Impact Assessment Statement - Age of Dependents
News Release — Minister Kenney Unveils Revamped Welcome to Canada Guide and New Living in Canada Online Tool
Helping Immigrants Integrate and Succeed
Vancouver, April 2, 2013 — A new, more comprehensive guide and a new web tool to help newcomers settle and integrate in Canada were unveiled today by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.
CIC’s new flagship publication, Welcome to Canada, is intended to be the official handbook to assist immigrants in preparing to come to Canada and to help them navigate their way during their first months in Canada.
Don’t become a victim of marriage fraud
There are some people who think marriage to a Canadian citizen will be their ticket to Canada.
It is a crime for foreign nationals to marry Canadian citizens or permanent residents only to gain entry into Canada. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is working to prevent these fraudulent marriages.
In many cases, sponsors and foreign applicants arrange a “marriage of convenience”: a marriage or common-law relationship where the sole purpose is for the sponsored spouse to immigrate to Canada.
CIC officers are specially trained to recognize genuine immigration applications, and they know how to detect marriages of convenience. They use several methods to uncover marriage fraud, including document checks, site visits and interviews with sponsors and applicants. Canadian citizens or permanent residents found to be part of a marriage of convenience for immigration purposes may be charged with a crime.
Effective October 25, 2012, sponsored spouses or partners must now live together in a legitimate relationship with their sponsor for two years from the day they receive permanent residence status in Canada.
If you are a spouse or partner being sponsored to come to Canada, this applies to you if:
- You are being sponsored by a permanent resident or Canadian citizen
- You have been in a relationship for two years or less with your sponsor
- You have no children in common
- Your application was received on or after October 25, 2012
Learn more about the new conditional permanent residence measure for spouses and partners.
Don’t become a victim of marriage fraud
If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and you meet someone from another country on the Internet or while travelling, you should take care if you are considering marrying them and sponsoring them to Canada.
Sponsors must financially support their spouse for three years, even if the marriage or relationship fails. If your spouse uses social assistance, you will have to repay the money, and you won’t be able to sponsor anyone else until the debt is repaid. Sponsorship is a legally binding financial commitment with the Government of Canada.
Sponsors: Do not be tempted by offers of money or other rewards to enter into a marriage of convenience just so the person can immigrate to Canada. If you do this, you can face serious criminal charges, and you will still have to meet the terms of the sponsorship.
Do not feel you are obligated to help somebody by being part of a marriage of convenience, no matter what the reason. It is not worth the risks.
Visa applicants: Don’t get involved in a marriage of convenience. You will be refused a visa and may be banned from travel to Canada for two years. This will remain permanently on your CIC record.
CIC recognizes that even genuine marriages can fail. However, if you enter into a marriage of convenience and come to Canada as an immigrant, enforcement action can be taken against you. This enforcement action could end with your being deported by the Canada Border Services Agency.
Residential ties include having a home in Canada, other property such as car, boat, furniture, lake-side cabin or cottage, a spouse or common law partner who lives in Canada, driver’s license, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, credit cards, health insurance with any province/territory and social ties in Canada. Based on these criteria, there are four types of “overseas Canadian residents”.
1) Factual Resident. If a person maintains significant residential ties to Canada while overseas for any reason, then they are considered as a Canadian resident for income tax purposes. However, if the person establishes residential ties in another country with which Canada has a tax treaty, then the person is considered as resident of that country and a deemed non-resident of Canada. As a factual resident, the tax-filer is treated as if they never left Canada and all the rules that apply to someone who lives in Canada all year are employed.
2) Deemed Resident. Members of the Canadian Forces, members of the Canadian Forces overseas school staff, government employees who are posted overseas, people working under a Canadian International Development Agency assistance program, dependent children of any of the first four categories, or persons exempt from tax on atleast 90% of their world income in the other country under an agreement or convention are considered as deemed residents. A deemed resident would report their worldwide income, claim all deductions and federal tax credits, and can apply for GST/HST credits. They would pay surtax instead of provincial/territorial tax and cannot claim any provincial/territorial tax credits. If they have business income from Canada, then they would pay provincial/territorial tax and can claim any related provincial/territorial credits.
3) Non-resident. If a person establishes permanent residence overseas and breaks their residential ties with Canada, then they become a non-resident. They are considered as an emigrant in the year they leave Canada and a non-resident in subsequent years. A non-resident would only have to report Canadian employment income, Canadian business income, taxable Canadian scholarships, grants and bursaries, and taxable capital gains from sale of Canadian property. If a non-resident has Canadian investment income, the tax payable is withheld before payment (to the non-resident) and this is usually the final tax obligation to Canada for that income. If the tax is not withheld, then the banking/brokerage institution should be informed that they are dealing with a non-resident account (investor’s responsibility).
4) Deemed Non-resident. A person who has residential ties with another country is considered a deemed non-resident of Canada if their ties with the other country have become such that they are considered a resident of that country under the tax treaty. Deemed non-residents fall under the same category as non-residents for income tax purposes.