March 27, 2020:
Whistler Chamber and Whistler Immigration
The Latest on Immigration Issues and COVID-19: https://www.whistlerchamber.com/the-latest-on-immigration-issues-and-covid-19/
March 26, 2020:
Exemption to Travel Restrictions
The exemption to travel restrictions has been implemented, see details for temporary workers and students: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/operational-bulletins-manuals/service-delivery/coronavirus/travel-restrictions.html#temporary-workers
B.C. Medical Services Plan (MSP)
Access to care is a high priority, please see B.C.’s frequently asked questions: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/msp/bc-residents/covid-19-msp-qa
March 24, 2020:
Medical Exams on hold
All Upfront Medical Exams globally have been ceased with immediate effect. Those applying for permanent residence through the Express Entry system who have not yet undergone a medical exam will need to submit a letter of explanation with their application describing why they have not completed the medical exam. See IRCC’s information to panel physicians.
LMIA applications can now be submitted via email.
Temporary foreign workers, including Working Holiday Permit Holders, and study permit holders who have been enrolled in MSP are still covered until their permit expiry date, even if they have been laid off. A representative of the BC MSP said discussions are underway to address questions of medical coverage in light of COVID-19. Call the BC MSP directly if you have questions or concerns about your coverage.
BC Action Plan
News release: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PREM0013-000545
BC COVID-19 Provincial Support and Information: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support
March 23, 2020:
IRCC updated their special measures page, including details on travel exemptions:
***Workers, students and approved permanent residents who haven’t landed should not travel yet. Announced exemptions are not in place. Travel restrictions are still in effect for these groups.***
Temporary foreign workers, as well as international students who have a valid study permit or who were approved for a study permit before March 18, 2020, and foreign nationals who were approved for permanent residence before March 16, 2020, but who hadn’t yet traveled to Canada, will be exempt from these restrictions.
Temporary foreign workers might be able to reunite with immediate family members if that person received government approval. Further clarification on this point is still in progress.
Reminder that everyone entering Canada must isolate for 14 days.
March 20, 2020:
Foreign nationals with valid work or study permits will be able to return to Canada shortly
Exemptions to the air and land travel ban are expected early next week. https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/2020/03/canada-provides-update-on-exemptions-to-travel-restrictions-to-protect-canadians-and-support-the-economy.html
Employer Specific work permits
If you have sponsored staff for an employer specific work permit please note that it will still be valid until it’s expiry date. There is no requirement to maintain employment but the employer specific work permit only authorizes to work for the employer named on the permit. Workers can remain in Canada and return to work when businesses reopen. There is no need to contact Service Canada to receive permission for reduced hours or layoffs. Assessment of employer compliance measures will take into consideration the impact of COVID-19. Please contact us if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 19, 2020:
We will attend a Webinar with IRCC on March 20 about Immigration and COVID-19. We will update our social channels and website with more information afterwards.
COVID-19 Guidance and Resources for Whistler Businesses: https://www.whistlerchamber.com/covid-19-guidance-and-resources-for-whistler-businesses/
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
More details about financial support: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html
March 18, 2020:
Prime Minister announces more support for workers and businesses
The Government of Canada is taking action to support workers and their families as well as businesses:
Canada and U.S. are closing border to non-essential traffic
Canada and the United States have agreed to restrict non-essential travel across the border, as both countries try to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Trade will not be affected: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-us-border-deal-1.5501289
March 17, 2020:
BC PNP operations update
An update on BC PNP operational procedures has been published and can be found here:
Employment Insurance (EI) eligibility and impact of unemployment
Canadians quarantined can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits and the one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined. Contact the new dedicated toll-free phone number if you are in quarantine and seeking to waive the one-week EI sickness benefits waiting period so you can be paid for the first week of your claim: 1-833-381-2725
Further information: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html
BC PNP and IRCC
We currently do not have guidance from the government about the BC PNP on whether an inability to continue working full-time for your employer will affect your nomination. But IRCC’s implemented special measures (same link as published March 16) as response to this situation have been reasonableness and understanding so far. For example, IRCC will not be refusing applications due to an inability to complete required steps such as medical exam, police clearances or biometrics and extend deadlines to 90 days.
We will keep monitoring and updating our clients, website and social media accordingly.
March 16, 2020:
As of March 18, Canada closes the borders to anyone who is not Canadian citizens or permanent resident, with limited exceptions to limit the spread of COVID-19. If you are travelling out of Canada as temporary resident you are not able to travel back. For people who wanting to travel to Canada and activate their temporary resident status such as temporary workers or international students this might not be possible at this point.
IRCC special measures
IRCC has implemented special measures for this situation. Please find details here:
Service Canada centres
Some Service Canada centres are closing and therefore biometric appointments are being cancelled, but IRCC’s special measures extend the deadline to 90 days.
Whistler Immigration will be working normally and with no interruption for our clients. But we have shifted to remote work and will be holding all consultations by remote video conference. This is to ensure we are acting in the best interest of and taking measures to protect the health of our staff, clients and the community. Rest assured, the quality of the consultation will not be compromised; we work with clients all over the world and have implemented systems and procedures that allow us to work efficiently and effectively with clients regardless of geographic location to ensure we deliver a highly valuable service.
We are experiencing a very high volume of messages through all channels. If you cannot reach us by phone, please leave a voice message and/or send us an email and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Please keep updated on Immigration news on this web page and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.
March 15, 2020:
We care about our clients and employees and are following official recommendations to protect the health and safety of our clients and staff.
Vancouver Coastal Health advises, to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 is, to wash your hands often and if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms, stay home and limit contact with people who appear to be ill.
Whistler Immigration asks that anyone exhibiting flu symptoms (fever, cough) please advise us, so we can reschedule your consultation or arrange a remote consultation. Remote consultations provide the exact same value to clients than consultations held in the office and are already very popular for anyone not based in Whistler.
Canada’s official COVID-19 response
For official information about Canada’s COVID-19 response, please see the following external links: