When Did This Happen?

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Woke up this morning, logged into my e-mail, and found a note from my father linking to this article:

On December 31, 2003, the permanent resident card (PR card) will be mandatory for permanent residents wishing to re-enter Canada aboard any commercial carrier (airplane, boat, train or bus). A permanent resident is someone who has been allowed to enter Canada as an immigrant but who has not become a Canadian citizen.

The PR card replaces the paper IMM 1000 Record of Landing document and will be the official proof-of-status document for permanent residents. The fraud-resistant card provides cardholders with secure, convenient proof of their permanent resident status when re-entering Canada. Because it is highly resistant to tampering and illegal duplication, and offers transportation officials a more effective means of identifying people with permanent resident status in Canada, the PR card will help combat illegal entry into Canada.

Existing permanent residents must be in Canada to apply for the PR card. Application and information kits are available on Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Web site at www.cic.gc.ca.

Canadian permanent residents presently located outside Canada, who do not have a PR card and who will be returning to Canada on or after December 31, 2003, should visit a Canadian visa office to obtain a limited-use travel document at a cost of $50. To determine the location of the nearest Canadian visa office, visit www.cic.gc.ca/english/offices/apply-where.html.

This story seems to have slipped under the radar, for although my father heard something on CBC about it this morning, and the problems it was causing for people who will need this card, I’ve not been able to find an article online at the CBC website. This was all that I was able to come up with.

The permanent resident card was announced back in June, but it clearly didn’t get much airplay, as it easily escaped the notice of dozens of permanent residents in Canada, including my wife, and a number of executives of Canadian companies, and others more than willing to talk to reporters. It’s coming as shocking news to learn that landed immigrants who do not have the permanent resident card after January 1, 2004, and who leave Canada, must apply for a limited visa at a Canadian consulate in order to be allowed back into the country.

Well, this basically ruins any plans we had to spend some of our Christmas time in the States.

You know, Immigration Canada has the address of every landed immigrant in the country. Erin is obliged to keep her address up to date as she moves around. How much trouble would it have been to simply slap together a letter announcing the changes and the approaching deadline and send it out? Why the heck is it only now, some two months after the application deadline and just one month before Big Trouble at the Border begins that we’re hearing this on a gosh darn news story?

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