Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is offering free replacement documents for flood victims in Nova Scotia.
In one of his final acts as immigration minister, Sean Fraser, who moved to the ministry of housing, infrastructure and communities in a Cabinet shuffle earlier this week, offered the free replacement documents to those affected by flooding in that Atlantic Canadian province.
“From severe wildfires to flooding, this has been a challenging few months for those in my home province of Nova Scotia. But it has also served as a reminder of the strength and resiliency of our communities,” said Fraser.
“Just as people in the province have been stepping up to help those in need, so too is the government of Canada. My department is introducing these new measures to make it easier for Canadians, permanent residents and temporary residents to replace lost documents.
“They will also help make sure temporary residents are not unduly penalized and are there to continue rebuilding our communities.”
Read More Canada Immigration News
The latest IRCC data reveals 13,150 study permits were issued to international students in Nova Scotia last year and another 5,260 this year as of the end of May.
There were also 3,360 work permits issued through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) to temporary workers in Nova Scotia last year and another 2,115 in the first five months of this year.
The heaviest rainstorms to hit Nova Scotia in half a century began on July 21, triggering floods and “unimaginable” damage, killing at least two people and another two still missing.
During the downpour, more than 25 cm of rain fell on some parts of the province in just 24 hours, the same amount that usually lands in three months. The resulting floods washed away roads, weakened bridges and swamped buildings.
Nova Scotia Premier Says Floods Caused ‘Scary’ Situation, Halifax In State Of Emergency
Authorities have declared a state of emergency in Halifax, the largest city in Nova Scotia, and four other regions.
“We have a scary, significant situation,” Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston reportedly told Reuters, adding that at least seven bridges would have to be replaced or rebuilt.
“The property damage to homes … is pretty unimaginable.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already vowed that Ottawa will step up to the plate and provide help to the province.
The IRCC’s offer of free replacement documents is only part of that help.
These are being offered to Canadians, permanent residents and temporary residents in Nova Scotia who have been directly affected by the floods and include permanent resident cards, proof of citizenship, Canadian citizenship certificates, Canadian passports and other travel documents that are lost, damaged, destroyed or inaccessible as a result of this natural disaster.
Temporary residents, including international students, temporary foreign workers and other visitors who have been directly affected by the flooding and whose statuses will expire by Nov. 30 will also be eligible to apply to restore or extend their status in Canada free of charge.
With that measure, temporary workers who are unable to work because their workplace is closed due to the floods will be able to extend their status and stay until their workplace reopens. International students can extend their study permits if their classes are delayed or cancelled and finish their studies without penalty.
The free replacement documents and other emergency measures will be in place until Nov. 30.