Ottawa to accept 1,000 applications from Canadians’ relatives seeking way out of Gaza

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Published January 2, 2024 at 4:16 pm

The federal government says a maximum of 1,000 Palestinian relatives of Canadian citizens will be able to apply to escape the Gaza Strip with Canada’s help.

The special extended family program for people in Gaza is set to launch next week, after Palestinian Canadians pleaded for months to get help from the government to rescue their loved ones as the Israel-Hamas war continues.

The policy details released last week says the program will stop taking applications either after it receives 1,000 requests, or after a year has elapsed.

The program would offer Palestinians visas allowing them to take refuge in Canada for three years if their families are willing to financially support them during that time.

But the immigration minister says Canada cannot guarantee safe passage out of the Palestinian territory, and Ottawa has no control over who can cross the tightly controlled border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt on any given day.

A spokesman for the National Council of Canadian Muslims says the group has been in contact with well over a thousand people who hope to get their families out of Gaza, and says there should be no cap on the number of applications.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 2, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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