His Holiness the Dalai Lama meeting with Project Tibet Society members

The Government of Canada is facilitating the immigration of up to 1,000 Tibetans living in the state of Arunachal Pradesh in India, at the request of the Canada Tibet Committee and Canada’s Tibetan community, following an appeal by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Prime Minister of Canada in 2007.

From May 2009 to August 2009, the Canada Tibet Committee, in consultation with the Tibetan Cultural Associations in Canada and the Office of Tibet in New York (OTNY), prepared a formal proposal to follow up on the appeal by His Holiness that was presented to the Hon. Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, on September 16th, 2009.

The plan was presented by Tashi Phuntsok from the Tibetan Association of Alberta, Norbu Tsering from the Canadian Tibetan Association of Ontario, Representative Lobsang Nyandak (OTNY), and Dermod Travis on behalf of the CTC.

The Tibetan Association of Alberta, the Canadian Tibetan Association of Ontario, and the Tibetan Cultural Association of Quebec provided the Canada Tibet Committee with formal letters in support of the plan.


Public policy

On March 17th, 2011, following his announcement on December 18th, 2010, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration established the following temporary public policy under section 25.2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA):

Up to 1,000 displaced Tibetans, including principal applicants and their eligible family members, may be accepted under this public policy. Principal applicants and their eligible family members, whether they  accompany the principal applicant or not, will be counted towards this total.

As of March 17, 2011, applications for permanent residence made under the IRPA by persons who are displaced Tibetans living in the state of Arunachal Pradesh in India who have been matched with an approved sponsor in Canada shall be assessed along with their family members by delegated officers to determine whether permanent residence status in Canada could be granted to them on the basis of the criteria that are set out below.

To read more: www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/laws-policy/tibet.asp


Project Tibet Society

As part of this public policy, the Canada Tibet Committee was required by the Government of Canada to incorporate Project Tibet Society to oversee the implementation of this program.

Representatives of the Society had begun discussions with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) in January 2011, and signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the department in June 2011, following a logistical visit by Project Tibet Society to Arunachal Pradesh in May. A copy of that MOU can be consulted here

Project Tibet Society then began discussions with the Home Department of the Central Tibetan Administration  to oversee the preliminary stages of the application process in compliance with Canada’s Public Policy. A copy of the MOU with the Home Department can be consulted  here

Both of North America’s Chitues to the Tibetan Parliament, Dicki Chhoyang from Montreal and Norbu Tsering from Toronto, were briefed on Canada’s public policy and the next steps of the program following their swearing-in in May 2011.

Since its incorporation, Project Tibet Society has held orientation meetings across Canada with supporters and Tibetan Cultural Associations. It is now establishing local committees across Canada to oversee the five-year program.