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Canadian government says World Social Forum organizers haven't asked for visa help

Over 200 international participants denied entry to major gathering

Canadian government says World Social Forum organizers haven't asked for visa help

Late Monday afternoon, a spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada issued a statement by email saying they had not been asked by World Social Forum organizers since April for any help with visas for WSF participants travelling from other countries.

This despite media reports late last week about mass denials of visas for participants including parliamentarians from 5 countries, and a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and Ministers Dion and McCallum posted on the World Social Forum website on Friday.

The government statement is below. It comes the same day as the National Post reported that last week, Liberal MPs withdrew Canada's logo from use by the WSF.


From: Nancy Caron,
Spokesperson - Communications: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Monday August 8, 4:52pm

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has a special events unit that works with event organizers to assist them with Canada’s visa and entry requirements. This team offers support free of charge to the organizers in order to facilitate delegates’ entry into Canada. This spring, the organizing committee for the World Social Forum registered their event with IRCC.  At that time, the organizers were informed of the procedures for visa application and of the importance of submitting complete applications well in advance of the date of the event. The event organizers were also informed of the time it takes to process visa applications at the various visa offices.

Since April 2016, no contact has been made with the special events unit by the organizing committee to inform the special events unit of any issues or difficulties in obtaining participants’ visas.

Today, the IRCC special events unit proactively reached out to the event organizers to once again offer their assistance. We have not heard back.

Due to privacy laws, we cannot comment on specific cases without signed consent.

All visitors to Canada must meet the requirements for temporary residence in Canada, as set out in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).  The onus is on the applicant to show that they meet the requirements for a temporary resident visa. Visa applications are considered on a case-by-case basis on the specific facts presented by the applicant in each case. Decisions are made by highly trained visa officers in accordance with Canadian immigration law. Visa officers look at many factors in assessing whether an applicant is a genuine temporary resident. All applications from around the world are assessed equally, regardless of their country of origin. 

Individuals who apply to come to Canada as temporary residents must show they are not inadmissible and must satisfy the visa officer that they:
o          are in good health and do not pose a health risk;
o          do not have a criminal record;
o          do not pose a threat to Canada’s security;
o          have a valid passport or travel document;
o          have enough money to support themselves and their family members (if applicable) while in Canada;
o          have sufficient ties to their home country;
o          will leave Canada when their visa expires; and
o          meet all other requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

We are continuing to process all the applications that we have received as quickly as possible.



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Topics: Governance
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