June 23, 2020

Updates to Travel Restrictions for Immediate Family Members Mean Updates to IRCC Program Delivery

Posted by Athena Portokalidis - Bellissimo Law Group PC

After Prime Minister Trudeau’s announcement on 8 June 2020 regarding a limited exemption that would allow immediate family members of Canadian citizens or permanent residents to enter Canada to facilitate family reunification, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) soon followed suit and began announcing a series of updates to program delivery[1], one of which is described below.

As a result, immediate family members of Canadian citizens or permanent residents travelling to Canada with their Canadian citizen or permanent resident family member, for a stay of 15 days or longer are automatically considered to be travelling for a non-discretionary or non-optional purpose.[2] IRCC Officers are also urged to be flexible when considering applications made by these immediate family members when they are travelling to Canada for a stay of less than 15 days if the travel is for a non-discretionary or non-optional purpose.[3] An immediate family member includes spouses, common-law partners, their dependent children, any dependent children of their dependent children, parents or step-parents, a parent’s or step-parent’s spouse or common-law partner, or a guardian or tutor.[4] IRCC advises that any travellers that fall into this category must self-identify when boarding an airplane, for example, by providing documentation to establish their family member’s status in Canada as well as their relationship to that family member.[5]

The above-described exemption can also be applied to immediate family members of foreign nationals residing in Canada for the purpose of reuniting these family members. Immediate family members of individuals temporarily residing in Canada as a worker, visitor, student or protected person can apply to IRCC for written authorization to be exempt from the travel restrictions if they are travelling from any country other than the United States.[6] However, to be eligible to receive written authorization, an individual must demonstrate to an Officer that they are not travelling for an optional or discretionary purpose.[7]

For more information about how these program delivery updates may affect you or your family, feel free to contact our office to schedule a consultation and discuss your options.