Notice – Wildfires in Fort McMurray and surrounding areas: special measures

Ottawa, May 27, 2016 – Special measures are now in place to support those affected by the wildfires, including priority processing and free replacement of Canadian citizenship and immigration documents, as well as extension of temporary resident status and the waiving of certain requirements for visitors, workers and students.

These measures complement the special assistance measures put in place on May 16, 2016, for the issuance and replacement of Canadian passports and travel documents. See Notice: Alberta wildfires special assistance measures for passports and travel documents.

Notice to affected residents

As a result of the wildfires in Fort McMurray and surrounding areas, citizenship and immigration documents belonging to Canadians, permanent residents, protected persons and temporary residents may have been lost, damaged or destroyed. In addition, work and study permit holders may be unable to immediately continue their work or studies.

To support those affected, the Minister approved special measures to waive some fees and other specific requirements for Canadian citizens, permanent residents and temporary residents.

The following documents may be replaced at no cost and on an urgent priority basis until August 3, 2016:

  • citizenship certificates
  • permanent resident cards
  • permanent resident travel document (paper or electronic)
  • confirmation of permanent residence
  • verification of status
  • work permits
  • study permits
  • visitor records

Fees for study permit extensions and work permit extensions are also waived until August 3, 2016.

In addition, the following measures are now in place:

  • Work permit holders whose work permit is expiring may continue to work under the same terms as the expiring work permit if they apply for a new work permit by August 3, 2016. Open work permit holders may work for any employer in Canada. Employer-specific work permit holders may continue to work for the employer named on their work permit.
  • Work and study permit holders will also be permitted to apply for an extension of their work or study permit even after the initial work or study permit has expired if the application is made, in the case of workers, by August 3, 2016, or in the case of students, by November 3, 2016.
  • Work and study permit extension fees will be applied to applications received after August 3, 2016.
  • The requirement to be actively studying and making progress toward a degree, diploma or certificate has also been waived until November 3, 2016, for study permit holders whose designated learning institution has been affected by the wildfires.

Procedures and contact information

To qualify for the special measures, affected applicants must self-identify to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and be able to demonstrate that their residence, place of work and/or designated learning institution location has been directly affected by the disaster.

You can identify yourself to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada by sending an email to the dedicated email address, CIC.Alberta-Fire-Alberta-Feu.CIC@cic.gc.ca, requesting consideration of your application under the special measures.

All requests will be considered compassionately and on a case-by-case basis. 

Refunds: If you were affected by the wildfires and have made an application for one of the documents above since May 3, 2016, and paid the applicable fee when you applied, you can request a refund by sending an email to the dedicated email address.

In the event you are unable to provide or upload a copy of a supporting document in any type of application because it was lost or destroyed as a result of the wildfires, include a letter, written and signed by you, explaining the circumstances, what original supporting document was destroyed or lost and any steps you have taken to obtain a replacement. If you are seeking an extension of a study or work permit, also include your residential address and the address of your designated learning institution or place of employment.

If you have questions, email CIC.Alberta-Fire-Alberta-Feu.CIC@cic.gc.ca. Write “URGENT: ALBERTA FIRE” in the subject line. Include your Unique Client ID (UCI#) if known, as well as your full name, date of birth, city and country of birth.

Applications made online: Affected persons who submit electronic applications should immediately send a follow-up email to CIC.Alberta-Fire-Alberta-Feu.CIC@cic.gc.ca with their full name, date of birth and country of birth, as well as their Unique Client Identifier (UCI) or Application ID number to allow Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to flag the application for urgent processing. These messages must indicate “URGENT: ALBERTA FIRE” in the subject heading.

If you have been displaced as a result of the fire and are no longer reachable through the contact information you provided to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in the past, you are encouraged to provide updated contact information to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada via the dedicated email address. If you no longer have a mailing address, you can request special pick-up arrangements from a local Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada office in Edmonton or Calgary. However, you should not contact or show up at these offices until you are instructed to do so.

Canadian citizens:

If your citizenship certificate or card was lost, damaged or destroyed:

Write “URGENT: ALBERTA FIRE” on the cover of the envelope and on the first page of your application or covering document.

Your application must be made by August 3, 2016. It will be processed on a priority basis and the fee will not be charged. If you apply online, indicate that your application is fee-exempt under the special measures and request that the fee not be charged in the appropriate section of your application.

Note that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada no longer issues the plastic wallet-sized citizenship cards.

Permanent residents:

If your permanent resident card was lost, damaged or destroyed:

Write “URGENT: ALBERTA FIRE” on the cover of the envelope and on the first page of your application or covering document.

Your application must be made by August 3, 2016. It will be processed on a priority basis and the fee will not be charged. If you apply online, indicate that your application is fee-exempt under the special measures and request that the fee not be charged in the appropriate section of your application.

If you travelled outside Canada, do not have a permanent resident card, and need to apply for a Permanent Resident Travel Document before returning to Canada:

Write “URGENT: ALBERTA FIRE” on the cover of the envelope and on the first page of your application or covering document.

Your application must be made by August 3, 2016. It will be processed on a priority basis and the fee will not be charged. If you apply online, indicate that your application is fee-exempt under the special measures and request that the fee not be charged in the appropriate section of your application.

If your landing documents were lost, damaged or destroyed:

Write “URGENT: ALBERTA FIRE” on the cover of the envelope and on the first page of your application or covering document.

Your application must be made by August 3, 2016. It will be processed on a priority basis and the fee will not be charged. If you apply online, indicate that your application is fee-exempt under the special measures and request that the fee not be charged in the appropriate section of your application.

Temporary residents:

If your documents were lost, damaged or destroyed:

If you are a temporary resident in the affected areas whose immigration status documents (study and work permits, visitor records) were lost, damaged or destroyed:

Write “URGENT: ALBERTA FIRE” on the cover of the envelope and on the first page of your application or covering document.

Your application must be made by August 3, 2016. It will be processed on a priority basis and the fee will not be charged. If you apply online, indicate that your application is fee-exempt under the special measures and request that the fee not be charged in the appropriate section of your application.

If your temporary status is expiring:

If you are a temporary resident in the affected areas, a grace period will be granted to extend your temporary status:

  • Visitors and workers: If you have a visitor record or work permit that expires after May 3, 2016, you can submit an extension application until August 3, 2016.
  • Students: If you have a study permit that expires after May 3, 2016, you can submit an extension application until November 3, 2016. However, the fees will only be waived if submitted by August 3, 2016.

If you are a temporary resident who was out of status on May 3, 2016, you must apply for restoration by the end of your 90-day restoration period. If you have not yet reached the 90-day limit and you apply for an extension by August 3, 2016, the restoration fee will not be charged.

To extend or restore your status:

Write “URGENT: ALBERTA FIRE” on the cover of the envelope and on the first page of your application or covering document.

Your application will be processed on a priority basis and the fee will not be charged if you apply by August 3, 2016. If you apply online, indicate that your application is fee-exempt under the special measures and request that the fee not be charged in the appropriate section of your application.

Note: If you need to extend your status beyond that, submit a regular application for extension to Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada. All regular fees will apply.

If you have an employer-specific work permit:

If you have an employer-specific work permit and your place of employment is no longer available due to the wildfires, you may be eligible to apply for employment insurance. See Fort McMurray: Important Notice and review the information available on Service Canada’s website for more information.    

If you have an employer-specific work permit and would like to work for a new employer:

If you have an employer-specific work permit and your place of employment is no longer available due to the wildfires, your new employer must first name you in a Labour Market Impact Assessment application with Service Canada before you can apply for a work permit to work for them. You may not begin working for a new employer until a new work permit has been approved.

If you have found a new employer with a valid Labour Market Impact Assessment who wishes to hire you: 

Write “URGENT: ALBERTA FIRE” on the cover of the envelope and on the first page of your application or covering document.

Your application must be made by August 3, 2016. It will be processed on a priority basis and the fee will not be charged. If you apply online, indicate that your application is fee-exempt under the special measures and request that the fee not be charged in the appropriate section of your application.

Date Modified: