Canada must reopen IRCC Office & all visa services to Cubans

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To: Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau; Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen; and Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland,

On May 8, 2019 the Government of Canada made the abrupt decision to shut down the section of its Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) Office in Havana through which visas were processed for Cuban citizens wishing to visit Canada, including family visits, and those seeking work or study permits;

Given that this decision followed the 50 per cent reduction in January of this year of the staff of Canada's embassy in Cuba;

Given that Cuban citizens will now have to travel to a third country (eg. Mexico, Barbados or Dominican Republic) in order to submit their applications to the government of Canada with no guarantee of approval;

Given that the reduction of Embassy staff and the closing of the IRCC Office have introduced unreasonable delays and significant financial obstacles, as well as personal and emotional distress, for those Cubans seeking to travel to Canada, and will cause (and has caused), amongst other things, significant damage to family unification, business, cultural, scientific and sporting relations;

Noting that Canada and Cuba have enjoyed uninterrupted diplomatic relations since 1945, and that the reduction of Embassy staff and the closure of the IRCC Office are developments that represent a serious departure from these friendly relations;

Be it resolved that we the undersigned call on the government of Canada to fully reopen the IRCC Office and all visa services offered to Cubans in Havana, Cuba, so that visa processing may proceed in a reasonable manner.