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e-2657 (Foreign affairs)

Initiated by David Poon from Toronto, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Prime Minister

  • The current COVID-19 related travel restrictions on foreign nationals do not consider family reunification as essential (non-discretionary) travel;
  • Committed, non-married partners (such as fiancés and long-term relationships) are not captured in any definition of immediate family;
  • The current method of evaluating if the reasons for entry into Canada by an immediate family member of a Canadian are essential is not clearly provided and, inconsistent information regarding eligibility to enter Canada is being provided by CBSA, IRCC, and Canadian Embassies;
  • A uniform, pre-emptive mechanism to determine eligibility to enter Canada as an immediate family member of a Canadian is needed to alleviate stress during an already difficult time; and
  • While the travel restriction remains in place without consideration of reunification, multi-national families are experiencing significant physical, mental and emotional hardship.
We, the undersigned, Citizens and Residents of Canada, call upon the Prime Minister to immediately allow foreign nationals who are immediate family members of Canadians to enter Canada for family reunification purposes and that this travel be considered essential (non-discretionary) or exempt from the current travel restriction. This includes points of entry into Canada by land and air.

Response by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Joël Lightbound, M.P

The Government of Canada has announced several border measures to limit the potential spread of COVID-19, which included restrictions on the travel of most foreign nationals and citizens of the United States (U.S.) who are seeking to enter Canada. These measures were introduced to help maintain the health and safety of Canadians.

In June 2020, the Government of Canada introduced an exemption for immediate family members, whereby immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada are exempt from the prohibition of entry for an optional or discretionary (non-essential) purpose provided they meet the requirements of the Orders in Council. To qualify for the exemption, foreign nationals must establish, at the time of entry, that:

  • their purpose for coming to Canada is to be with an immediate family member who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident; and
  • they intend to remain in Canada for a period of at least 15 days.

Asymptomatic foreign nationals who are immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who do not meet the conditions of the immediate family exemption, as well as family members who do not meet the definition outlined in the Order in Council, may still enter Canada as long as their entry is not for a purpose that is discretionary/optional. Further, if an individual is seeking entry from the U.S., they must be able to comply with the requirement to quarantine based on their purpose of travel and intended length of stay.

This exemption was one of the first steps taken by the Government of Canada to help support many families across the country.

We know that there remain issues with respect to family reunification, and we are looking at how we can continue to demonstrate compassion while at the same time maintaining the integrity of our border.

Open for signature
June 10, 2020, at 2:22 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
July 10, 2020, at 2:22 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Lianne Rood (Lambton—Kent—Middlesex)
August 12, 2020 (Petition No. 431-00301)
Government response tabled
September 24, 2020
Photo - Marilyn Gladu
Conservative Caucus
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