Operational Bulletin 179 – April 1, 2010

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Special Measures for Haitian Adoptions

This Operational Bulletin has expired.

Issue

This operational bulletin provides instructions for processing applications for adopted children who have been identified for priority processing under the special measures for Haiti. The operational bulletin includes processing guidelines for children who were admitted under special measures and are already in Canada as well as for any future adoption cases. This includes both applications for Citizenship and permanent residence.

Background

Following the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) started an evacuation of Haitian children where the adoption was already in process. The goal was to evacuate these children to Canada where the processing of their applications for immigration or citizenship would be completed. Over the course of the next month, CIC successfully evacuated more than 200 Haitian adoptees to Canada. Most of these children arrived in Canada on special charter flights.

For children to be approved for evacuation, CIC had to ensure that provincial approval had been granted through a letter of no-objection (LONO), as well as authorization from Haitian authorities that the child be allowed to depart Haiti and enter Canada. Once CIC was assured that approval from both the province and the Government of Haiti was granted for a specific child, local staff in Port-au-Prince would locate the child and make arrangements for their departure.

Upon arrival in Canada, children were issued Temporary Resident Permits (TRP) and Interim Federal Health certificates (IFH). Both documents have a validity of one year. During this one year period, it is anticipated that most of these children will either become permanent residents of Canada or obtain a grant of citizenship. Should this timeframe be insufficient to conclude all required processing, subsequent TRPs may be issued.

CIC presented a letter to all adoptive parents when their children arrived in Canada. The letter stated that, as a result of the situation in Haiti, adoptive children have been allowed early admission to Canada on a TRP; ordinarily, their entry to Canada would not occur until both the adoption process and the immigration or citizenship process was completed overseas. It also stated that if a parent had already applied to sponsor or obtain citizenship for their child, CIC would provide information on next steps. Conversely, if a sponsorship or citizenship application had not been submitted, the letter gave advice to parents to complete an application and mail it to the appropriate Case Processing Centre (CPC) as soon as possible.

CIC has been working with the provincial adoption authorities to ensure that parents and their adoptive children continue to move forward with both the adoption process and the immigration or citizenship process. As adoption processing varies between provinces, parents should continue to work with their adoption agencies and provincial authorities to finalize the adoption of their children in Canada. The citizenship route may not be possible in all provinces and parents should be aware of the ramifications of choosing this route.

These children will be eligible for priority processing under the special measures in response to the earthquake in Haiti announced by the Minister.

The Ottawa Haiti Processing Office (OHPO)

As a result of the damage to Canada’s embassy in Haiti, a new office has been designated to assist with the processing of overseas applications. The Ottawa Haiti Processing Office (OHPO) has been designated to process the following case types:

  • all early admission cases, including adoptions cases;
  • new family class and citizenship cases (part 2 citizenship applications for adoption) that have self-identified as being part of the special measures program.

Currently staffed with 11 people, this office will also ensure that all individuals arriving on TRPs, who are being processed for permanent residence, will continue to have their file processed to completion. This office will remain operational until further notice.

The following procedures have been developed in an effort to make this process as smooth as possible:

OHPO will be responsible for sending all adoptive parents an updated letter within the next two weeks. This updated letter will provide parents with a clear explanation of the next steps for obtaining immigration or citizenship status for their child. Some information may be repetitive, depending on the steps already taken by a particular family, but it will ensure that all steps in the process are covered. Parents can then determine what steps they have already completed, and continue moving forward in the process.

Parents will also be notified that, if they have not already done so, they must make arrangements for their adopted child to have an Immigration Medical Exam with a Designated Medical Practitioner (DMP). This exam is required as soon as possible for public health reasons.

Adoptive parents are encouraged to contact the OHPO for any issues related to the processing of their child’s application at Questions-Haiti@cic.gc.ca.

Processing of Evacuated Cases

Parents must apply for either permanent residence or citizenship status for all children evacuated from Haiti.

In order to finalize the adoption process for children that were evacuated, the following must be completed:

  • Submit either applications for sponsorship (if not already submitted) and permanent residence or an application for citizenship;
  • Complete the Immigration Medical Examination
  • Seek an Adoption Order from the respective provincial jurisdiction;
  • Apply for a Certificat de sélection du Québec for children who reside in Quebec (if submitting a sponsorship and permanent residence application.

The processing of these applications is being expedited. The timeline to complete a case will vary based on individual case circumstances.

Role of CIC offices in Canada:

Case Processing Centre (CPC) Mississauga

  • CPC Mississauga will process all sponsorship applications on a priority basis, provided “Haiti” is prominently written on the mailing envelope;
  • All corresponding applications for permanent residence will be referred to the OHPO for further processing instead of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Case Processing Centre (CPC) Sydney

CPC Sydney will process all citizenship applications for adoptees on a priority basis, provided “Haiti” is prominently written on the mailing envelope. Part 1 processing will be completed by CPC Sydney; applicants will be directed by CPC Sydney to submit Part 2 of their citizenship applications to the OHPO, not Port-au-Prince. The OHPO will finalize Part 2 of the application.

CIC Call Centre

Staff at the call centre should advise parents of the requirement to submit a sponsorship or citizenship application, including the need to identify their case for priority processing by writing “Haiti” on the mailing envelope.

All staff should have access to a list of designated medical practitioners in the event a client requires this information.

Clients who inquire as to the differences between the sponsorship and citizenship adoption streams should be directed to the locations on the CIC website where this is explained in detail.

Local CIC Offices

Where applicable, officers should advise parents about the requirements to submit a sponsorship or citizenship application, including the need to identify their case for priority processing by writing “Haiti” on the mailing envelope.

All local offices should have a list of designated medical practitioners in case a client requires this information..

Once permanent resident visas are issued to children whose applications have been sponsored, local offices will be responsible for completing the immigration process by having the adopted child and parent(s) attend the office so that the child can be granted permanent residence.

New and Existing Cases (children still in Haiti)

Following the earthquake, CIC received numerous requests from Canadian citizens or permanent residents who were in the process of adopting or wanted to adopt children from Haiti. In some cases, the process was in its initial stages, but many more were new cases where the parent had not yet been matched with a child or the province had not completed a home study and issued a LONO. Parents continue to contact CIC with inquiries on the adoption process. The following procedures have been developed to address this issue.

If prospective adoptive parents contact the call centre, a local CIC or the Questions-Haiti mailbox, the following information should be provided depending on the nature of their question:

  • For cases that were in process before January 12, 2010, where a letter of no objection (LONO) has not been issued by the province, parents are to be advised to contact their provincial adoption authorities to discuss the case.
  • In adoption cases where a child was not presented as a match for the adoptive parents before January 12, 2010, the prospective parents should be advised that until the Haitian government reinstates a recognized international adoption process, CIC cannot process the case. Persons seeking to adopt should remain aware of the situation in Haiti as it changes and take the necessary steps to prepare all paperwork required by their provincial authorities to obtain provincial approval. This will enable their cases to move more quickly through the adoption process and be ready for processing by CIC at an earlier date.
  • For those wishing to submit an application for an orphaned relative who is not a member of the family class (i.e. is not a sibling, niece, nephew or grandchild who is under the age of 18), the child must be adopted in accordance with normal intercountry adoption procedures.
  • For those wishing to submit an application for an orphaned relative who is a member of the family class (R117(1)(f)), an adoption is not necessary. Please refer to OB 179B.

Applicants who do not hold a prescribed travel document

In finalizing adoption applications for permanent residence, officers will encounter applicants who may not be able to present a prescribed travel document as required by R10(1)(c) and R50(1). The Minister has exempted foreign nationals that have been processed for permanent residence in either the family or economic class, directly affected by the situation in Haiti and unable to present a prescribed travel document from their country of nationality, from the requirements of R10(1)(c) and R50(1) by way of a temporary public policy.

Adoptees who have not yet entered Canada may travel to Canada on a Single Journey Travel Document (SJTD) (IMM 5565) issued with an IM-1 visa counterfoil to facilitate obtaining permanent resident status, for the duration of the public policy. For detailed instructions on the procedures for completing an SJTD, officers should consult RIL 05-028 and OP 16/ENF 32/ IP 12.

Expiry of initiative

This initiative will remain in existence until further notice.

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