The COVID-19 virus pandemic takes center stage when one asks what is the latest in immigration legal issues.
The government announced an Order in Council pursuant to s. 58 in the federal Quarantine Act. The significant provision from that OIC is as follows:
s. 2 Any foreign national, as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, is prohibited from entering Canada if they arrive by means of an aircraft from a foreign country.
3 Section 2 does not apply to
(a) a person who has been only in the United States or Canada during the period of 14 days before the day on which they arrived in Canada;
(b) an immediate family member of a Canadian citizen or of a permanent resident as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
(c) a person registered as an Indian under the Indian Act;
(d) a person who is authorized, in writing, by a consular officer of the Government of Canada to enter Canada for the purpose of reuniting immediate family members;
(e) a crew member as defined in subsection 101.01(1) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations;
(f) a person who is exempt from the requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa under paragraph 190(2)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations and the immediate family members of that person;
(g) a person who enters Canada at the invitation of the Minister of Health for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 coronavirus disease response;
(h) a person who arrives by means of an aircraft operated by the Canadian Forces or the Department of National Defence;
(i) a member of the Canadian Forces or a visiting force as defined in section 2 of the Visiting Forces Act and the immediate family members of that member;
(j) a protected person within the meaning of subsection 95(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
(k) a French citizen who resides in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon and has been only in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, the United States or Canada during the period of 14 days before the day on which they arrived in Canada;
(l) a person or any person in a class of persons who, in the opinion of Chief Public Health Officer appointed under subsection 6(1) of the Public Health Agency of Canada Act
(i) does not pose a risk of significant harm to public health, or
(ii) will provide an essential service while in Canada;
(m) a person whose presence in Canada, in the opinion of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration or the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, is in the national interest; or
(n) a person who arrives by means of an aircraft, if the scheduled arrival in Canada according to the flight plan is before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on March 18, 2020.
We are witnessing an unprecedented situation that no one was either expecting or who really knows what is truly best to control the pandemic. The current thinking is to limit who enters the country and from where. The real question is who is considered an “essential service”. Arguably persons who have work permits are considered persons who provide “essential services”. What about international students trying to return to Canada from abroad? We are not certain.
Those who have received approvals for permanent resident visas are supposed to be allowed to travel to Canada. At press time Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal are the 4 airports across Canada who are allowing international travel to enter Canada. Who knows how long that will last.
No question that non-essential travel is not allowed at the present time. Social distancing is the norm with daily life. Staying at home and going out only for medicine and food is being recommended by all political leaders from all levels of government.
This is an evolving message. We all hope that this will only last a number of weeks but the experts seem to be saying we could be faced with travel restrictions for many months.
It is of vital interest for all businesses and individuals who rely on foreign workers in Canada to check with the cic.gc.ca web link for any news items as it really is changing by the day and hour.
Just one month ago we are discussing the hopefuly news about sponsoring parents and grandparents. Now we are hopeful to have a job to go to the next day.