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The Canadian government published its guidance about the special immigration measures to support those affected by the crisis in Gaza and who are currently in Canada.

The Canadian government’s program delivery instructions (PDIs) share further information about the measures and how they operate, including eligibility for the program. The special measures apply to certain family members of Canadians and permanent residents who left Israel or the Palestinian territories after October 7, 2023, as well as Israeli nationals or Palestinian passport holders who are in Canada with temporary resident status.

The special measures expire on June 12, 2024.

Measures To Support Temporary Residents Fleeing The Crisis in Gaza

The Canadian government’s response is designed to aid those affected by the Israel-Hamas war to temporarily live and support themselves in Canada.

The specific measures offered include:

  • Fee-exempt change in conditions for eligible temporary residents, allowing for the issuance of study permits and open work permits valid for up to three years.
  • Access to temporary Interim Federal Health Program coverage for certain permanent residents of Canada, and their immediate family members.
  • Priority processing of in-Canada applications for study permits and open work permits. This reduces the wait time for the application to be processed, so these temporary residents can access the labour market and start supporting themselves sooner.

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Fee-Free Study and Open Work Permits for Those Fleeing the Crisis in Gaza

Two categories of people may be eligible for a fee-exempt study permit or work permit:

  1. Israeli nationals and Palestinian passport holders already in Canada with a valid temporary resident status, regardless of their date of arrival; and
  2. Immediate family members of Canadian citizens or permanent residents who left Israel or the Palestinian Territories on or after October 7, 2023 and who are in Canada with valid temporary resident status, regardless of citizenship. Immediate family members include a spouse or common-law partner, dependent children, and the dependent children of a dependent child.

This change in conditions allows the above categories of people in Canada to support themselves until they are able to return to their home country.

Any person applying under these special measures and who has not completed a medical examination is not allowed to work in child care, primary or secondary schools, or health services field occupations.

General eligibility and admissibility requirements still apply.

Length of Study or Open Work Permit

Individuals applying under these special measures may receive a study or open work permit valid for up to three years.

The PDI notes that the length of validity of the study permits issued pursuant to these special measures should be tied to the specified period of study and passport validity.

Similarly, applicants for an open work permit may receive a permit of up to three years or until their passport expires. The length of validity for the open work permit is at the officer’s discretion.

Access to Interim Health Program Coverage

Canada’s federal government may grant temporary Interim Federal Health Program coverage to permanent residents of Canada who are subject to a waiting period or administrative delay for provincial or territorial health care coverage.

Temporary residents who arrived as part of the assisted departures, are the family member of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and are not able to get public or private health coverage may also be eligible for this coverage.

This temporary coverage provides certain groups of people with access to limited health care services for 90 days from the date of entry to Canada, including:

  • In-patient and out-patient hospital services.
  • Services from medical doctors, registered nurses, and other licensed health care professionals.
  • Laboratory, diagnostic, and ambulance services.
  • Limited vision and urgent dental care.
  • Home care and long-term care.
  • Services from allied health-care practitioners.
  • Certain assistive devices, medical supplies and equipment.
  • Select prescription medications.
  • Coverage for one Immigration Medical Exam.

How To Apply For a Change in Status or Medical Coverage

To assess your eligibility, use the Government of Canada’s eligibility tool.

If the tool shows that you are eligible to change the conditions on your temporary permit, you should apply for a work permit inside Canada via the online portal.

If you or your representative are unable to apply online due to a disability or an issue with the online application, you can apply on paper. 

If you’re eligible for Interim Federal Health Program Coverage, find more information about how to apply

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