Here is an interesting article on a York U student’s woes with immigration and York University alike.
Kudos to a decision to reimburse the unfortunate would-be student her lost tuition, though I am pretty sure the Toronto Star correspondent’s intervention should be largely credited for the university officials’ change of heart.
But was all this trouble really unavoidable?
Might there have been a much faster and more efficient way to return to Canada once she got her new Chinese passport?
First of all, we in the industry know that there have been constant and persistent delays with the issuance of permanent resident cards, at least for the last year or so, and I would never rely on a timely issuance of a PR card. Time limits posted on the official IRCC (CIC) site are given as a reference only and are not an indicator of real-time processing.
The article mentions that she was flying through Chicago, so it is likely she had a multiple entry visa to the US. With this type of visa, she could have flown to the Buffalo/Niagara airport, crossed the border on foot and continued to Toronto by bus from the Canadian side (or arranged for someone in a private vehicle to pick her up in Buffalo and drive her through the border). A permanent resident card is required only when one travels by commercial carrier and is not mandatory for land border crossings. She could have just proved that she was a Canadian permanent resident — and if she wasn’t prudent enough to have copies of her passport and immigration documents, she could have made a request for copies of all her PR documents and even immigration history under the Access to Information/Privacy Act to IRCC (formerly known as CIC) and gotten copies of all her relevant immigration documents within about a month or so, in time to cross the border into Canada. This would have been time spent wisely while waiting for a new passport.
The officer at a POE (Port of Entry) has to be given sufficient proof that the foreign national is indeed a Canadian PR, so with a police report on a stolen passport, copies of said passport, GCMS notes and copies of her landing papers obtained as a result of Access to Information (ATIP), as well as her Canadian documents — proof of admission from York, a letter from her bank stating that she presented a PR card when she opened her account, a driving licence if she had one, her OHIP card, et cetera — she would have had no trouble crossing into Canada. I have such applicants every year, those who are either waiting for a new card or have an expiring card and need to travel urgently. Sometimes it is a matter of a simple phone call if a situation does not seem straightforward to the non-initiated and does not require going into the particulars of the case or doing extensive research. Going through the US was the least hassle. The other way would have been to apply for an emergency travel document with the Canadian visa office/VAC in Beijing once she got her new passport (or the only way, if she did not have a US visa).
It is not clear why she chose to go the PR Card route — it is always the longest one.
However, this situation does prove that it is indeed worthwhile to consult a professional, especially when in trouble, despite what IRCC would like the public to believe.