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Canadians Call to Evacuate Gazans with Family Ties to Canada

Urgent Call to Action and Family Reunification in Response to the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Re: Urgent Call to Action and Family Reunification in Response to the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

Dear Prime Minister and Ministers,

The Gaza Family Reunification Project  (“GFRP”) is an ad hoc collective of Canadian immigration and refugee lawyers. We are writing to you to express our grave concern about Canada’s failure to implement measures to assist Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada, and their families, as well as other residents of Gaza with close ties to Canada to leave as soon as possible and come to Canada on a temporary or permanent basis.

Following Hamas' October 7, 2023 attacks on Israel, the Israeli military has responded with airstrikes, a total blockade on Gaza, and a ground offensive. Gaza is now in a state of humanitarian crisis, with more than 1.8 million people displaced from their homes and significant limitations on humanitarian relief.  The healthcare system in Gaza is on the verge of collapse.

Despite the extreme violence and humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza, no special immigration measures have been put in place to assist those who have been displaced by the conflict and who have close ties to Canada to reach safety. Canada has refused to expand the evacuation criteria beyond partners and dependent children. This stands in stark contrast to previous Canadian government responses to the Taliban seizing power in Afghanistan, the war in Ukraine, the conflict in Sudan, and the earthquakes in Syria and Türkiye.

We are calling on the Government of Canada to immediately implement the following interim special measures:

  1. Expand evacuation criteria to include extended family members, such as parents, adult children, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and de facto dependents in Gaza with family ties to Canada and those pre-authorized travel to Canada.

  2. Expedite processing of Temporary Resident Visas (TRVs) for Gazans with family ties to Canada.

  3. Waive all fees associated with applications for TRVs and TRPs

  4. Commit to a flexible approach to evaluating TRV requirements to recognize the practical limitations caused by the situation in Gaza.

  5. Postpone biometric and medical requirements until individuals reach Canada

  6. Expedite processing of all immigration applications in process for Gazans in Canada to facilitate family reunification, including applications for permanent residence under refugee family reunification programs and family sponsorships.

  7. Expedite processing of all immigration applications in process for residents of Gaza.

The Gaza Family Reunification Project has disseminated a TRV Toolkit ( that many Canadian families are using to file applications on behalf of their Gazan family members. Canada should expedite applications received using this Toolkit and also all other Gazan TRV applications.

We echo the Open Letters from the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, the Canadian Council for Refugees, and over 550 Palestinian Canadian Families who call on Canada to adopt an immigration framework responsive to the urgent situation in Gaza.

Prime Minister and Ministers: the current situation demands an urgent response. We are keen to assist you in crafting policies that will protect Gazans with family ties to Canada. Should you need our assistance, you can contact us at

You must act decisively to ensure that these families are not overlooked in their time of need.


Gaza Family Reunification Project

Yameena Ansari, Ansari Immigration LawRandall Cohn, Edelmann & Co. Law OfficesConnie Campbell, Edelmann & Co. Law OfficesDamey Lee, Marku & Lee Immigration & Refugee LawyersHana Marku, Marku & Lee Immigration & Refugee LawyersDebbie Rachlis, Debbie Rachlis Law

For more information contact

Gaza Family Reunification Project

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