March 27, 2023

Canada’s Response to Countries in Crisis Over the Past Few Years

Posted by Legal Team - Bellissimo Law Group PC


The recent earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria took the lives of over 20,000 people and destroyed many homes, families, and critical infrastructure. Thus far, Canada has aided the crisis by providing $60 million in funding alongside an additional $20 million in humanitarian assistance[1] and historically, Canada has been more inclined to aid international states from a monetary emergency aid standpoint. Nonetheless, Canada has also been prompt in responding to global crises from an immigration perspective. Countries facing disasters and conflicts are centric to Canada’s immigration response efforts, as evident in refugee resettlement and changes in immigration policy.


Canada’s Response to the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Russia began a military invasion of Ukraine, launching attacks on many cities in 2021. The Government of Canada has since put in place measures to help Ukrainians in and outside Canada.[2] The Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel (CUAET) is one of the measures the Government of Canada has introduced to support the people of Ukraine, offering Ukrainians and their family members free, extended temporary status that allows them to work, study, and stay in Canada until it is safe for them to return home.[3] Ukrainian nationals and their family members are eligible to apply. Ukrainians and their family members coming to Canada from overseas:

  • Can apply for a visitor visa without a fee and may be allowed to remain in Canada for three years, as opposed to the standard 6-month authorized stay for regular visitors;
  • Have the option to apply, free of charge, for an open work permit with their visa application, enabling them to find work as quickly as possible;
  • Will have their electronic visa application processed within 14 days of receipt of a complete application, for standard, non-complex cases.[4]

For more information on the specific features and benefits of the CUAET, click here.


Canada’s Response to the Political Situation in Afghanistan

The Taliban have taken over and replaced a duly elected democratic government by force. They are a listed terrorist entity under Canadian law.[5] As such, Canada is working to resettle at least 40,000 Afghan refugees in Canada.[6] This also extends to the creation of special programs that specifically assist:

  • Eligible Afghans through the permanent residence pathway for extended family members of former language and cultural advisors.
  • 5,000 Afghans through the permanent residence pathway for extended family members of former interpreters.
  • 18,000 Afghans through the Special Immigration Measures Program for Afghan nationals who closely assisted our efforts in Afghanistan.
  • A mix of government-assisted and privately sponsored Afghan refugees through the humanitarian program
  • Groups of five and community sponsors sponsoring Afghan refugees without having to submit a refugee status determination document.[7]

For more information on the special programs targeting refugee resettlement for Afghans in Canada, click here.


Canada’s Response to the Prior and Current Conflict in Syria

The ongoing conflict in Syria has triggered the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today.[8] According to the United Nations, 13.1 million people inside Syria need urgent help, including 6.1 million who are internally displaced. It is estimated that well over 250,000 people have died in the conflict, with hundreds of thousands more wounded. The Government of Canada resettled 25,000 Syrian refugees between November 2015 and February 29, 2016, including both government-supported and privately sponsored refugees.[9]


All these measures reflect Canada’s commitment to its international obligations and an expression of the will of many Canadians in particular those that originate from the areas most impacted by these humanitarian crises. There is need throughout so many parts of the world and although these measures and Canada’s resources cannot address all those in hardship the efforts are worthy of recognition and a shining example to other countries.