Rescuers work at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines flight crash near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on March 10, 2019 (AP/Mulugeta Ayene)

Rescuers work at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines flight crash near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on March 10, 2019 (AP/Mulugeta Ayene)

Canada announces new pathway to permanent residency for families of crash victims

The new policy will apply to relatives of anyone who died on board Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 or Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302

Ottawa is launching a new policy to help the families of victims of two major airline disasters become permanent residents in Canada, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said Thursday.

The new policy will apply to relatives of anyone who died on board Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 or Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, so long as those victims were Canadian citizens, permanent residents or found eligible on their application for permanent residency.

The policy applies to people currently in Canada, and anyone who made a refugee claim after these two disasters happened is also eligible to apply under the new policy.

Mendicino said the federal government is introducing this public policy, which will remain in place until May 11, 2022, to demonstrate compassion and solidarity with the families in their efforts to seek justice.

“I’ve had the privilege of speaking with some of the families were related to the victims of flight PS752. Grief and anguish is real and ongoing,” he said.

“Families are in pain. They still ask questions.”

Kourosh Doustshenas, whose partner Forough Khadem died in the crash, said the association that represent the families of the victims welcomes the new policy.

“We appreciate the government of Canada is taking these steps to support the families,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Fifty-five Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents were among the 176 people killed when a Ukrainian jetliner was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile minutes after taking off from Tehran on Jan. 8, 2020.

The Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane crashed near Addis Ababa on March 10, 2019, claiming the lives of 157 people, including 18 Canadians.

Mendicino said the new program provides a pathway to permanent residency to people whose loved ones made Canada their home before being so suddenly taken.

He said a relative could be spouse, common-law partner, child, grandchild, mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew.

Applicants may still be eligible even if they have entered Canada without the required visa or other documents, failed to comply with certain conditions or have worked or studied without being authorized under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, he said.

Doustshenas the government should allow family members outside of Canada to apply.

“We are hoping (the government) will expand (the new policy) to be more inclusive,” he said. “We want to make sure other people who are not in Canada also get the chance to travel here and apply for permanent residency.”

He said the policy should be expanded to include the families of Iranian students who where among the victims of the plane shootdown and had the intention to work and live in Canada after graduation.

Mendicino said his department is working on further measures to facilitate permanent residence applications for certain members of victims’ families who are currently outside Canada, and it will provide updates on this once those measures are in place.

Former Liberal public safety minister Ralph Goodale, who was named Canada’s special adviser on the response to the crash, released a report on the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 in December concluding that it’s vital it is for the investigation into this air disaster to be transparent to ensure accountability.

Ten Iranian officials were indicted over the shootdown of a Ukrainian passenger plane by Tehran military prosecutor Gholamabbas Torki, who avoided naming those responsible when he announced the indictments last month.

Doustshenas the families of the victims can’t trust the Iranian justice system because the Tehran military prosecutor didn’t disclose the names of those charged, nor the alleged offences.

“We still don’t know what happened. We still don’t know the truth. We haven’t seen any kind of justice,” he said.

“We are hoping through an independent investigation by Canada and other countries, we can finally get to the bottom of that and find the truth.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last month that Canada would work with the international community to reform aviation standards and to ensure the families of victims “get closure, get compensation and mostly get justice from Iran.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Plane crash

Just Posted

FILE
70 per cent of people aged 12 and older in Agassiz-Harrison have been vaccinated

More than 80 per cent of adults aged 50 and older have been vaccinated, as of June 10

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

Agassiz Agricultural Hall hosts COVID-19 vaccination clinics every Wednesday. District officials reported more than 300 doses are administered per week. (Adam Louis/Observer)
Walk-in COVID vaccine clinic scheduled for Wednesday

Walk-in appointments available while supplies last from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in March at the Hope Station House, showing support for preserving the 1916 building. (Photo/Christian Ward)
New reports breathe life into efforts to save the Hope Station House

The documents were presented to District of Hope Council at a meeting June 14

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Most Read