In response to the loss of life and property in the Philippines in the wake of the recent Typhoon Haiyan, Canada’s government and charities partnered in a matching donation program resulting in more than $20 million in government donations.
From November 9 to December 23, 2013, the Canadian government established a mechanism to match the donations made by individual Canadians to registered Canadian charities responding to the impact of Typhoon Haiyan. During that time, the government set aside one dollar for the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund for every eligible dollar donated by individuals.
As of early January, registered Canadian charities and other organizations had raised in excess of $35 million for Typhoon Haiyan disaster relief.
In addition to the financial help, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced plans to prioritize the processing of applications of Philippine residents affected by the typhoon. Those affected by the typhoon wanting their cases to be considered a ‘priority’ were directed to contact the Canadian embassy in Manila. Applicants from directly affected areas are being given top priority.
The CIC said these relief funds are being used to provide emergency relief activities that include the provision of emergency shelter, food, water, livelihood support, and other essential services.
Canada has a long history of immigration from the Philippines. In recognition of that fact–in the wake of the typhoon–the CIC announced it was undertaking several specific measures to help ensure expedited Filipino immigration of those directly affected. These ongoing steps include:
- A pledge to assess requests “with compassion and flexibility” from Filipino citizens already in Canada wishing to extend their stay
- Establishing specific contact emails and phone lines (firstname.lastname@example.org and the CIC’s Call Centre at 1-888-242-2100) to respond to requests from applicants and their families
- Additional efforts in the Philippines, designed to address and expedite Canadian immigration issues; these ongoing efforts are centered at the Canadian embassy in Manila, as well as the CIC Visa Application Centers in Manila and Cebu.