Sean Kilpatrick The Canadian Press Immigration Minister Marc Miller during a press conference on December 7
The government of Justin Trudeau announced Thursday that it will give Gazans with extended family in Canada access to a three-year residency in the country.
“Leaving Gaza is extremely difficult and may not be possible for everyone as countries set their own entry and exit requirements,” Immigration Minister Marc Miller stressed. , by revealing this temporary measure.
Thus, he clarified that Ottawa cannot guarantee that these migrants will be able to leave the war zone in complete safety.
“I do not have the guarantees from the State of Israel, [from] Hamas or from Egypt that these people can get out, but we will make the necessary efforts to do so. […] I think it’s worth it,” replied the minister when asked by a journalist about the usefulness of his announcement considering the uncertainties.
Mr. Miller recalled that, since the new escalation of the conflict in the Middle East triggered on October 7, the Canadian government has mainly focused on the evacuation of Canadian citizens, permanent residents and members of their immediate families. He did not fail to note that Ottawa encountered difficulties.
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Until now, attempting family reunification for nationals stuck in Gaza was only possible in cases where an immediate family member, such as a spouse, was a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
As part of the new temporary measures announced Thursday, this will be a possible avenue in the case of grandparents, grandchildren as well as brothers and sisters.
“There are people who may have stayed because of the fact that these people were part of their family, but they were not part of the definition, so perhaps there is hope of having more people and more money,” Mr. Millier said.
At the time of the announcement, the Minister of Immigration did not know how many people could come to Canada thanks to this relaxation, although he mentioned hundreds of nationals.
He expects the new program to launch on January 9.
The relaxation regarding reunification was requested by people who have relatives in Gaza.
“These temporary immigration measures represent a huge relief for Canadians whose loved ones have spent more than two months trapped in unimaginable conditions,” reacted in a press release Michael Bueckert, vice-president of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East. -East (CJPME).
The adjustments come, however, “too late,” believes the organization, which also notes that the program “does not apply to people in Canada who are not yet citizens or permanent residents,” according to the first information made public.
Earlier Thursday, Prime Minister Trudeau said from Toronto that Canada had worked hard to get more than 600 Canadian permanent residents, as well as their spouses and children, out of Gaza, but that there remained still much to do.
When asked why it had taken so long for the government to provide protection to extended family members of Canadians, Mr. Trudeau called the situation “extremely difficult.”
Gaza became a battlefield after Hamas launched attacks on Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 Israeli civilians and soldiers.
In retaliation, Israeli bombings and ground attacks have so far killed 19,600 civilians and combatants in Gaza.