ARCHIVED – Operational Bulletin 179 – March 5, 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 in Response to the Earthquake in Haiti

This Operational Bulletin has expired.


On January 12, 2010 a major earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 struck Haiti and was followed by subsequent aftershocks. This has resulted in devastation within the affected area, as well as severe damage to the infrastructure in the capital and its immediate area. The epicentre of the quake was located inland, 9 kilometres west of Carrefour, and 16 kilometres from the capital Port-au-Prince. Most areas beyond 50 kilometres outside of the capital are not severely affected.

The earthquake and its aftershocks have resulted in the collapse of several buildings in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. The Embassy of Canada has been damaged and services are limited. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is currently working with its partners to provide assistance to Canadians and then, on an incremental basis, to resume visa and immigration services as soon as possible.

These guidelines apply to those who self-identify as being directly and significantly affected by the January 12th earthquake in Haiti.

Priority Processing

Effective immediately, priority processing will be available for the following:

  • New and existing sponsorship applications from Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have close relatives (as defined in R117(1)) in Haiti;
  • New and existing applications for permanent residence in the Spouse or Common-law Partner in-Canada Class, and Protected Persons including those family members (as defined in R1(3)) directly affected by this disaster in their application;
  • New and existing applications for citizenship certificates (proof of citizenship);
  • In-Canada applications to extend temporary resident status;
  • In-Canada applications for a work permit (WP) for those individuals from Haiti who are now unable to support themselves; the Minister has approved a public policy exempting these applicants from the requirement for a Labour Market Opinion.

Priority processing will be conducted on a case-by-case basis. All standard admissibility and citizenship requirements must still be initiated, and where indicators for criminality and security admissibility requirements would ordinarily result in a referral, the referral should be made.

A response will be returned within 12-24 hours with either a clearance or a hold. It is expected that the majority of cases will be cleared in this timeline.

Normal Immigration medical examination (IME) procedures in Haiti will resume on March 8, 2010. Designated medical practitioners in Haiti are available to respond to clients with appropriate documentation, as well as those current immigration clients who are requested to have a chest x-ray for the purposes of extending the medical validity certificate. For those classes of Haiti Special Measures (HSM) applicants not requiring a pre-departure IME, Port of Entry (POE) Officers will follow their standard procedures for determining if Quarantine services or IMEs are required in Canada.

Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP)

IFHP eligibility will be provided to clients listed below which are being processed under these special measures announced for Haiti, who are not covered by any other public or private medical insurance plan:

  • Individuals with Immigration Applications in process in Haiti, including adoptive children, who are allowed forward to complete processing in Canada on a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Temporary Resident Permit (TRP);
  • Individuals directly and significantly affected by the earthquake who are provided with Temporary Status in Canada;
  • Haitian temporary residents or permit holders who are extending their status in Canada;
  • Persons arriving in Canada on an evacuation flight from Haiti who do not have proper documentation and have been documented on a TRP.

The duration of the IFHP eligibility will be the shorter of the following:

  • The validity of the status document (e.g. TRP);
  • 12 months;
  • The date on which the individual obtains provincial or private insurance coverage; or
  • The date on which these special measures cease to apply.

The IFHP eligibility will cover the cost of any IME for these individuals.

IFHP Eligibility Procedures

POE on arrival:

  • The BSO must confirm with the client whether they have the funds to pay for their medical care themselves or whether they have any medical insurance (covering physician and hospital services, and not just supplementary health care such as dental, pharmaceutical, optical, etc.);
  • If not, an IFHP Eligibility certificate should be issued for a period which is the shorter of 12 months or the validity of the status document (e.g. TRV, TRP, etc.).

Case Processing Centre – Vegreville:

  • When a Haitian national requests extension of temporary status under the special measures, a letter should be sent to the client indicating that IFHP is available if needed, and that the request should be made on an IFHP Extension application form which is submitted by mail to a local CIC office. The IFHP Extension application link should be included in the letter

Local CIC office

  • Haitian nationals who have been extended by the Special Measures will mail in an IFHP Extension kit if they require IFHP eligibility.
  • The CIC office will need to confirm whether or not the client has provincial or other medical insurance. If not, an IFHP eligibility certificate should be issued for a period which is the shorter of 12 months or the validity of the status document (e.g. TRV, work permit, etc.) 
  • The CIC office will then issue the eligibility certificate in the manner it usually follows for typical IFH clients such as refugees, etc.

Foreign Nationals Selected for Permanent Resident Status in either the Family or Economic Class that do not hold a prescribed travel document

In finalizing applications for permanent residence in either the family or economic class [R70(2)(a) or R70(2)(b)], some applicants 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.

The foreign nationals described above 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.

In Canada

Effective immediately, in-Canada applications will be prioritized. The onus is on the client (Canadian citizen, sponsor or protected person in Canada) to identify existing applications by notifying the CIC Call Centre at 1-888-242-2100 or by email at They must provide information regarding their application and their relatives in Haiti (including the HPM receipt number). This information will be forwarded to the appropriate Case Processing Centre (CPC) or local inland office, where they will respond to requests on a case-by-case basis. Adoptive parents, at any stage of the process, are asked to contact the CIC Call Centre at 1-888-242-2100 (in Canada only, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday) or by email at regarding their case.

Adoptive parents should address questions to

For Humanitarian and Compassionate applications, where a client has identified a hardship due to the earthquake, this becomes an additional factor for consideration within existing guidelines.

The confirmation of permanent resident appointments for protected persons who are “ready for landing” at the local inland offices will be facilitated in order to expedite visa issuance to family members (as defined in R1(3)) in Haiti.


The Embassy of Canada has been affected by the recent earthquake and services are extremely limited. The Government of Canada’s current priority is to work with its partners to provide assistance to Canadian citizens in the area.

Citizens or residents from countries other than Haiti who are normally served by the office in Port-au-Prince should submit applications to the office in Port of Spain with the exception of citizens or persons lawfully admitted to the Dominican Republic, who should submit their applications to the office in Santo Domingo.

To support the visa posts and our consular colleagues, CPC-Sydney has implemented direct access email for verification of Canadian citizenship status and/or permanent resident status. This also includes photo verification from previous records.

The issuance of facilitation travel documents for persons physically present in Haiti will be considered as required, and fees associated with these documents will be waived. This policy will be reviewed regularly and further instructions will follow.


Temporary Residents of Haitian citizenship already in Canada may apply to extend their temporary resident status according to normal procedures, which may require an IME to be completed. These applications will be considered on an expedited basis and the fees associated with these applications will be waived. This does not include those individuals who are failed Refugee claimants or in the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment process. Those who can demonstrate that they are unable to support themselves may also apply for a WP.

As per R183(5), persons who have already submitted an application to extend their temporary resident status will benefit from implied status until a decision is made and they are notified.

For existing in-Canada applications, clients may contact the Call Centre either via phone or email. The Call Centre will notify CPC-Vegreville and these applications will then be processed on a priority basis.


New sponsorship applications should have “Haiti” prominently written on the mailing envelope. All new sponsorship applications should continue to be sent by the client to CPC-Mississauga.

CPC-Mississauga is requested to take the file out of queue for priority processing. Given the current situation, files are not to be forwarded to Port-au-Prince; new cases are to be sent to Montreal.


Priority processing will be available for existing applications for citizenship certificates (proofs of citizenship) for persons who are of Haitian origin. This will enable persons to obtain travel documents and services. New applications for citizenship certificates should have “Haiti” prominently written on the mailing envelope. Applicants should explain why urgent processing is required and provide supporting documentation where possible. CPC-Sydney will assess the circumstances on a case-by-case basis, and determine if priority processing is warranted.

Given the current situation, new applications for citizenship for persons adopted by a Canadian citizen are not to be forwarded to Port-au-Prince. As services resume, CIC will provide further instructions.

Fee exemptions

Pursuant to subsection 25(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), the Minister has granted a fee exemption for the following:

  1. Foreign nationals and permanent residents who are directly affected by the humanitarian crisis in Haiti, for temporary resident visas, temporary resident permits, permanent resident travel documents, or authorizations to return to Canada received overseas;
  2. Foreign nationals arriving at a Canadian POE after January 12, 2010 who have been evacuated from Haiti and are issued a temporary resident permit to overcome an inadmissibility for non-compliance due to the lack of a prescribed travel document;
  3. Permanent residents who were evacuated from Haiti and are seeking replacement Permanent Resident Cards from within Canada; and 
  4. Foreign nationals who are directly affected by the humanitarian crisis in Haiti making an application, after January 12, 2010 for an extension of temporary resident status within Canada, or to change temporary status. 

Please note that the following officers have been delegated to exempt fees:

International Region
Immigration Officer
Locally Engaged Staff 
Program Specific Analyst 
Non Immigrant Officer (NIO)
Immigration Program Officer (IPO)
Designated Immigration Officer (DIO)

Centralized Processing Region
Service Delivery Clerk, PRC
Client Services Officer, PRC
Support Services Clerk, FSW
Service Delivery Agent, FSW
Program Support Specialist, FSW

Service Delivery Agent
Service Delivery Specialist

Service Delivery Agent
Service Delivery Specialist

Strategic Analyst Officer

Domestic Regions
C&I Counselor Assistant (CR 5)
Immigration Advisor
C&I Officer
Expertise Officer
Settlement Officer
Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) Officer

Border Services Officer (BSO)
Migration Integrity Officer (MIO)

Officers should use the cost recovery code HSM for these cases.

Special Program Coding

It is important that officers use the special program code HSM when inputting a category code in FOSS, CAIPS or CPC systems.

Within CAIPS there are two fields that allow cross referencing of files. Officers are requested to use X-ref 1 to note the office that is processing a case, as follows:

  • PAP:  Port au Prince;
  • SD:    Santo Domingo;
  • OTT:  Ottawa processing office located in the Situation Centre;
  • MTL:  CIC Montreal, which will process all new Family Class cases.

Officers are requested to use X-ref 2 to note the purpose of the counterfoil issued using the TRV file within CAIPS as follows:

  • CC: Counterfoil issued to a Canadian citizen to assist in the evacuation (the officer is satisfied that the person is a CC but there is no documentary proof);
  • PR: Counterfoil issued to a Permanent Resident to assist in evacuation (the officer is satisfied that the person is a PR but there is no proof);
  • TRP: Counterfoil issued to a person who would normally be issued a TRP, early admission to Canada based on H&C grounds;
  • TRV: Counterfoil issued to a person who is determined to be a temporary resident.

When processing an adoption, X-ref 2 should also include the word adoption after TRP to allow for tracking of adoption cases.

Expiry of initiative

This initiative will be reviewed six months from its publication date.

Please Note:  It is expected that offices will track and log all Haiti cases for reporting purposes.


As of January 14, 2010 applications made under IRPA by foreign nationals who are directly responding to, or affected by, the humanitarian crisis in Haiti and who are seeking to transit through Canada as a passenger on a non-commercial aircraft stopping in Canada for the sole purpose of refuelling and/or a technical stop are exempt from the requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa.

This temporary policy refers specifically to foreign nationals directly responding or destined to or returning from Haiti as well as evacuees from Haiti destined to a country other than Canada carried on a non-commercial aircraft. This temporary policy will be suspended once the immediate need has diminished.

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