SEAN Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced on Thursday that to support those who suffered from the floods in B.C., Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is waiving fees to replace documents under its purview.
These special measures take effect retroactively, from November 15, 2021, and will continue until May 31, 2022.
This time frame gives Canadians and permanent residents time to sort out what documents they need to replace and to apply with no fees. These documents include passports, refugee travel documents, certificates of identity, citizenship certificates (proof) and permanent resident cards.
In addition, IRCC is waiving application and biometrics fees for temporary residents in British Columbia directly affected by the flooding. Fees will be waived for reissuing status documents if they were lost or damaged in the floods, as well as for temporary residents applying to extend their visitor status, study permit or work permit as a result of the crisis.
Fees will also be waived and deadlines extended for those who are not able to apply on time to extend their study permit, work permit or visitor status. This means foreign nationals who had temporary status on November 15, 2021, but whose status expired after that or will soon expire, will be able to apply to restore their status up to May 31, 2022, provided they meet the requirements.
Fraser said: “The Government of Canada’s first priority is to continue to work with the province and Indigenous governments to provide assistance to thousands of British Columbia residents affected by the devastating floods and landslides. As people start to rebuild their lives and communities, the special measures are another way for us to provide some relief.”
Bill Blair, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, added: “We are committed to supporting British Columbians as they recover from extreme flooding and landslides. These measures, along with the many others taken by all orders of government, will help those directly impacted rebuild in the aftermath of this crisis.”
- To qualify for the special measures, people will need to provide proof they have been directly affected by the floods, including proof of residence in a flood-affected area.
- IRCC is issuing free replacement passports for Canadians directly affected by the floods. As such, these documents will expire on the same date that their original damaged or lost passport would have expired. Those applying for a new passport will need to pay the usual fees.
- Flood-affected people who have already applied and paid for a replacement document or service fee on or after November 15, 2021, will be able to request a refund.
- On November 26, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a committee of federal and provincial ministers who will work together and with Indigenous leadership to guide immediate and ongoing support to British Columbia families, businesses, and communities affected by the extreme weather events. The committee is co-chaired by Bill Blair and Mike Farnworth, Deputy Premier and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General of B.C.