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Pandemic travel restrictions leaving the children of temporary residents stranded abroad
Laurence Lacroix didn't plan to return from France without her daughter.
The Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean-based restaurateur is one of dozens of temporary residents in Quebec whose children aren't being allowed to re-enter Canada after travelling with their parents outside the country. Families say they're being separated because of stringent COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Children of temporary residents who weren't born in Canada are considered "visitors," even if they were educated in the country, meaning Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) needs to approve their return.
Lacroix and her daughter, Louhann, 14, left Montreal for France on June 21 to visit Lacroix's father, who is dying of cancer. They hadn't seen him in person since immigrating to Canada four years ago.
After their visit with him, they were on their way home and arrived in Germany for a connecting flight to Montreal. Lacroix says Air Canada staff stopped Louhann from boarding the plane "because of her visa." She pressed the airline for an explanation but got none.
A spokesperson for IRCC said immediate family members, such as the dependents of temporary residents, may be eligible to return to the country provided they travelled for essential or non-discretionary purposes.
"To be exempt, [children] must also get written permission from the IRCC if they are from a country other than the United States," Sonia Lesage said. That process can take up to 14 working days.
Without relatives in France to take care of her, Lacroix's daughter will have to stay with family friends until her case is reviewed.
"How do you explain to a 14-year-old girl that her mother has to leave Saturday … and I can't give her a date for when she can come back?" Lacroix said. Read more on this story here.
Red carpet accessory
(John MacDougall AFP/Getty Images)
Masked Indian director and screenwriter Rahul Jain arrives for the screening of the film The French Dispatch at the 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, on Monday.
The Penelakut Tribe in B.C.'s Southern Gulf Islands says it has found more than 160 "undocumented and unmarked" graves in the area, which was also once home to the Kuper Island Residential School. The tribe informed neighbouring First Nations communities of the discovery in a newsletter posted online on Monday morning. No further details were provided. The tribe did not say how the graves were found, whether children's remains are suspected of being buried there or whether ground-penetrating radar was used. The school operated from 1890 to the 1970s on Penelakut Island, formerly known as Kuper Island, which is among the Southern Gulf Islands. Read more on the discovery.
The group representing multiple churches fighting public health orders in court admitted on Monday it hired a private investigator to follow a Manitoba judge presiding over the case. The admission came after Manitoba's chief justice said he was tailed by a private investigator in an attempt to catch him breaking COVID-19 rules in order to embarrass him while he presides over the court challenge related to the province's lockdown measures. Court of Queen's Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal revealed this information during a hearing for the case, which was brought forward by seven rural Manitoba churches. A lawyer for the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which launched the challenge on behalf of the group of churches and individuals, later admitted his organization hired the private investigator, though he said it was not an attempt to influence the decision in the case. Read more on this story.
An important position at the Public Health Agency of Canada was vacant and the country's pandemic early warning system was understaffed when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, an independent panel has found. The final report on what went wrong at that key moment with the Global Public Health Intelligence Network — a multilingual monitoring system that scours the internet for reports of infectious diseases — was released Monday. The report says that, among other things, surveillance was not well co-ordinated in the four years leading up to the arrival of the novel coronavirus, a problem the report says was partly due to the fact that a key position — chief health surveillance officer — had been left vacant since 2017 and was due to be eliminated. Read more on the panel's findings.
Alberta's premier says the province will not be introducing vaccine passports. "We've been very clear from the beginning that we will not facilitate or accept vaccine passports," Jason Kenney said yesterday at the annual premier's Calgary Stampede pancake breakfast. "I believe they would in principle contravene the Health Information Act and also possibly the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act." Quebec plans to roll out the passports in September, while Manitoba is issuing proof-of-vaccination cards to people two weeks after their second shot. Read more on Kenney's comments.
Canadians with loved ones in Cuba are watching with anxiety after thousands took to the streets of Havana and elsewhere in the country on Sunday, in some of the largest displays of anti-government sentiment in decades. Protesters demanded better access to food, medicine and rights as Cuba faces crushing rates of COVID-19, reporting some 6,900 new cases Monday — the largest single-day increase in new infections since the start of the pandemic. The country of 11 million has more than 32,000 active cases with an average of 4,892 new infections reported daily. Cuban Canadians have been glued to social media, hoping to get whatever information they can amid widespread internet outages that have interrupted the flow of information out of the country. "I'm scared for my family, my friends, but I'm scared for all Cubans right now," said Yanislaydy Betancourt, a Cuban resident in Toronto. "It is really hard for me to see people in my country living the way they are. They don't have medicine, they don't have food. They are dying." Read more on the concerns of Cuban Canadians.
Now for some good news to start your Tuesday: A LaSalle, Ont., teen is one of three Canadian finalists in the Stuck at Prom scholarship contest, in which Canadian and U.S. high school students compete to create the best prom dress and tuxedo. Ryan Beckic, a St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic High School student, designed his prom tuxedo made entirely out of duct tape for a chance to win a $10,000 US scholarship. "It was really amazing because it was an idea in my head and it was a drawing and something I created on paper and six months later it was on my body, made out of duct tape," said Beckic. It took him six months to design his suit, which involved 160 hours and 27 rolls of tape. The Stuck at Prom contest began on March 31 and voting continues until Wednesday. Read more on the tape tuxedo.
Front Burner: The last 22%: Vaccine access and hesitancy
As COVID-19 vaccines became available in Canada, millions of people rushed out to roll up their sleeves. About 78 per cent of the eligible population has at least one shot. But now, some health experts are starting to wonder about that remaining 22 per cent. Why haven't they got their first dose yet? It's a critical question, as more transmissible variants continue to emerge.
Today, two doctors tackle it: Dr. Naheed Dosani, health equity lead at Kensington Health in Toronto and the medical director of the COVID-19 isolation/housing program in Peel Region, and Dr. Jia Hu, a Calgary public health physician and one of the founders of 19 to Zero, a coalition of experts working to build confidence in vaccines.
Today in history: July 13
1949: The first session of the provincial legislature of Newfoundland opens in St. John's.
1953: The first Stratford Festival is launched at Stratford, Ont. The first season featured two Shakespearean plays — Richard III, starring Alec Guinness, and All's Well That Ends Well. The season ran six weeks and was directed by Britain's Tyrone Guthrie in a tent theatre on the banks of the Avon River.
1993: Germany holds a farewell ceremony for Canadian soldiers, marking the closure of CFB Lahr after 42 years of NATO service.
2005: NHL players and owners reached an agreement in principle to end the 301-day NHL lockout.
With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters