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Latest edition – September 2016

This edition of the Newsletter includes:

eTA leniency period ends September 29, 2016

As of September 30, 2016, visa-exempt foreign travellers will no longer be able to board their flight without an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

On March 15, 2016, Canada introduced a new entry requirement, an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), for visa-exempt foreign nationals flying to or transiting through Canada. Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid Canadian visa. An eTA allows the Government of Canada to check that travellers are admissible to enter Canada before they travel.

A six-month leniency period was put in place so that travellers caught unaware of the eTA requirement could still board their flight to Canada. This leniency period ends on September 29, 2016.

Although an eTA is a new step for travellers, applying for one is a simple online process that costs CAN$7. In most cases, an eTA is granted within minutes of applying.

Some applications can take several days to process, so travellers are advised to apply as soon as they start planning their trip. Find out if you need an eTA and apply before booking a flight to Canada.

Dual citizens: Have your Canadian passport ready

Starting September 30, 2016, Canadian citizens—including dual citizens—will need to show proof they are Canadian to board a flight to Canada.

A valid Canadian passport is the only reliable and universally accepted travel identification document for international travel that proves you are a citizen and have the right to enter Canada. If you present other documents, you may not be able to board your flight. If this happens to you, there are no quick fixes to help get you on your flight. To ensure travelling to Canada remains easy and stress free, travel with a valid Canadian passport!

American-Canadian citizens do not need a Canadian passport or an eTA to enter Canada but they must carry proper identification and meet the basic requirements to enter Canada.

This change is part of a broader Government of Canada initiative aimed at ensuring that all Canada-bound passengers have appropriate documents to enter the country before they board their flight.

Share this news with your family and friends so that they will be prepared.

International travellers: Be aware of non-official eTA websites

International travellers who need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to or transit through Canada are advised to use only the official Government of Canada website,, and to be cautious of other websites that are charging more than CAN$7 to submit eTA applications.

A number of companies have established websites that charge additional fees to provide information and submit eTA applications on behalf of travellers. These companies are not operating on behalf of the Government of Canada.

Associated links

Visit our website to learn more about the new eTA requirement.

Canada invests in newcomers’ settlement needs

Canada is recognized internationally as a leader in the settlement and integration of newcomers. We provide a range of support services to newcomers—refugees and other immigrants—so they can participate fully in the economic, social, cultural and civic life of Canada. Settlement services, such as official language training, information about life in Canada, employment-related services and other support services, are delivered by more than 500 organizations across Canada, called service provider organizations, or SPOs.

These SPOs are separated into two programs: the Settlement Program, which assists immigrants and refugees in overcoming barriers specific to the newcomer experience (such as a lack of official language skills and limited knowledge of Canada), and the Refugee Resettlement Assistance Program, which provides immediate and essential support services and income support to assist in meeting refugees’ resettlement needs.

In 2015–2016, more than 400,000 unique clients accessed at least one settlement service, nearly 50,000 more than the previous year. The Government of Canada will invest more than $600 million to support newcomers’ settlement needs in 2016-2017. Also, $27 million in additional funding is being allocated this year to help meet the needs of the Syrian refugees who will be accessing settlement services.

IRCC funds new Resettlement Assistance Program service provider organizations to support refugees

As part of Canada’s humanitarian tradition, the Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that newcomers, including refugees, integrate and contribute fully to the Canadian economy and to their respective communities.

To support the resettlement and settlement of Syrian refugees, IRCC undertook a process to expand the network of organizations that could provide resettlement support services to Syrian refugees in Canada.

Resettlement Assistance Program service provider organizations (known as RAP SPOs) provide refugees with immediate and essential services upon arrival in Canada, such as finding appropriate permanent housing and medical care as well as mental health and education services and language training.

Eight new RAP SPOs were selected to provide services. They are located in British Columbia (Victoria), Alberta (Brooks), Manitoba (Brandon) and Ontario (Kingston, Leamington, Mississauga, Peterborough and Thunder Bay).

What SPOs are accomplishing right NOW!

NOW, which stands for Newcomer Orientation Week, is a program that prepares newcomer youth for smooth entry to school. This year, NOW was held at 19 schools across Ontario from August 29 to September 2.

The activities planned for students included a scavenger hunt to help them learn the layout of the building, skits about the challenges of school in a new country, a visit to the local library and an introduction to the school system and sources of help and support in their school.

NOW is fully funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada through local service provider organizations (SPOs) in partnership with boards of education.

Associated links

Notice: New information for privately sponsored refugees is now available on the IRCC website. Frequently asked questions are also available in our Help Centre.

Did you know…?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has many helpful online resources for potential newcomers.

  • IRCC offers the option of applying online for some services. With electronic applications—called e-Apps —IRCC is using technology to offer simpler, more accessible, and higher-quality services, while also helping to protect against fraud. E-Apps give clients the option of submitting their application for a temporary resident visa, study permit or work permit online, using the Come to Canada tool. E-Apps were launched in December 2012, and by 2015, 36% of applications submitted for temporary residence were submitted online. Our other online services allow applicants to check the status of their application, find a form, find an office, pay fees and find out if they need a medical exam or police check.
  • The Come to Canada tool helps potential immigrants to Canada determine the immigration programs that best suit them. In 2015, it was used more than 8.6 million times by 6.2 million users.

IRCC feature video

The IRCC video team produces dozens of informative and creative videos each year on a wide range of subjects of interest to the Department and our clients. We highlight one of their great productions in each issue of the newsletter.

In this issue, we bring you the video “Helping young newcomers integrate in Canada: Halifax.

It tells the compelling story of how Halifax West High School is helping newcomer youth learn Canada’s official languages and adapt to Canadian society. The successful integration of newcomer youth and children goes a long way to helping newcomer families feel welcome in Canada.

Upcoming events and important dates

In this section of our newsletter, we present a selection of special upcoming events and national celebrations.

September 19 marks the date of the UN General Assembly in New York City addressing large movements of migrants and refugees. IRCC Minister John McCallum is slated to attend.

On September 20, IRCC Minister John McCallum is scheduled to attend President Obama’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees in New York, NY.

September 29 marks the end of the new eTA requirement leniency period.

October 10 to 16 is Citizenship Week, a week to reflect on and celebrate the rights and responsibilities all Canadian citizens share.

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