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

UPlan, the Youth Planning Table subcommittee, decorated downtown Maple Ridge in honour of this years grads. (The News files)
Grad parties being planned by parents in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Four COVID-safe events being held at Pitt Meadows Golf Club

Valerie Miller met a small child at the vigil at the Maple Ridge bandstand, and found it an uplifting encounter during a dark time. (Special to The News)
LETTER: Encounter at Maple Ridge’s orange shirt memorial a bright spot

A small child showed the relentless optimism of kids

Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or in writing.
LETTER: Fond memories of a promising student

Former teacher recounts Olympic kayakers other feats as a child

Flyers are being distributed around the Albion area in an effort to protect the young bear.
Young bear in Albion needs help to survive

Maple Ridge Bears asks public to remove attractants

Jackie Brittain demonstrated her artistic talents when conceiving an idea and sketching out an award-winning advertising campaign for Golden Meadows Honey Farm. Her efforts have earned her back-to-back industry accolades, including a gold medal win at the BCYCNA Ma Murray Awards Thursday night.
VIDEO: Honeycomb sketches turn into back-to-back industry accolades for News

A honey ad and a quarterly lifestyle magazine produced by The News were lauded by B.C. news media

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

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

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Most Read