Meetings co-hosted by the Government of Canada
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
The terms “meeting” and “hosted” are not defined in the Regulations and, thus, CIC adopts a flexible approach as to what precisely constitutes a meeting.
What is a “meeting”?
In the past, the term has been extended to include conferences, seminars, summits, congresses, assemblies, training sessions etc. The decision to extend the fee exemption to a particular meeting is determined by the nature of the event itself as described by the hosting organization. This determination is made by the Cost Recovery section at Headquarters based on the criteria outlined below. This decision is conveyed back to the requester through Special Events who receive the request directly from the hosting organization.
There are certain events that are never considered meetings in the context of R296(2)(e)(i), such as sports events and religious gatherings. Other mechanisms are available for establishing fee exemptions for these events on a case-by-case basis, where necessary.
What does “hosted” mean?
The phrase “hosted by the Government of Canada” is not interpreted with an equal degree of flexibility. As a rule, a Government of Canada body is considered one where its enabling legislation reflects its status as a federal government department and its employees are considered federal public servants. In addition, CIC includes organizations such as agencies (i.e., the RCMP) which report to Parliament by way of a minister.
Currently, meetings hosted by an organization entirely outside of the Government of Canada can not benefit from the R296(2)(e)(i) fee exemption. However, there are other circumstances where a meeting is hosted by a third party and the federal government is highly involved, to the extent that the Government of Canada may be perceived as co-hosting the meeting. In these circumstances, the event may warrant an application of a fee exemption under R296(2)(e)(i). A primary example of this was the 2006 AIDS Conference, organized by the International AIDS Society. The meeting was organized by a third party but had widespread participation by several federal government departments, including Health Canada and DFAIT.
Co-hosting is differentiated from simple support or participation in an event. Furthermore, funding for an event, whether it is for individual participants, the organization or the event itself, is not a sole measure of determining whether the federal government is co-hosting the event. Registration of federal officials as participants in the event is also not sufficient.
The following criteria should be considered in determining whether a TRV fee exemption could be extended in a co-hosting situation.
- Federal government participation must be integral to the organization, function and/or reporting of the meeting.
- The federal government department should be involved in activities such as co-chairing, contributing substantially to the organization of the meeting, providing administrative support or training, or producing the final report or protocol.
- The federal government's role as co-host should be evident in the relevant documentation for the event, as well as any public or promotional materials.
The Special Events Division is responsible for facilitating international events occurring in Canada by providing information to the event organizers on the temporary resident process and providing event information to mission and POE officers via Connexion. The division, which is housed in the Operations Management Branch, receives external requests for information on fee exemptions and coordinates the information with Finance (Cost Recovery) and International Region.
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