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Canada Plus - January and February

Your bimonthly newsletter from the High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom Subscribe now to Canada Plus

Canada Plus

A Message from the High Commissioner

Photo - Janice Charette

Happy New Year to you all! 2020 was truly a uniquely challenging year. Tougher restrictions introduced just before the holiday period following the discovery of a new variant of COVID-19 caused many to rethink long-awaited festive plans. I hope that you were able to celebrate the holidays in your own way and get some rest and relaxation at the end of the year.

With the announcement last week of a third national lockdown in England, it looks as though we will be living with the impacts of this global crisis – on our health, on our families, on society and the economy – for quite some time to come.

And yet, there is hope in the darkness. Two vaccines have been approved for use in the UK, and nationwide roll-out has already begun. I certainly feel more optimistic knowing that the tools to control this pandemic are being made available, and that we will - at some point - gradually be able to move forward and build back our work and personal lives in the post-COVID era. Life is unlikely to be exactly like it was before this virus, but there is hope that it could be better as well as different. 

In the meantime, I cannot stress enough the importance of continuing to adhere to government and scientific guidance, including international travel rules and restrictions. Now is not the time for non-essential travel. Those who do choose to travel may face increased exposure to COVID-19, sudden restrictions on movement and changes in border requirements, difficulties obtaining essential goods and services, and access to only limited consular services and health insurance coverage, just to name a few of the risks.

Travel to Canada remains quite restricted. Although the flight ban has now been lifted, those planning to go to Canada who meet the current travel exemption criteria must nonetheless abide by the 14-day mandatory quarantine requirement upon arrival. Passengers arriving from the United Kingdom will face added entry and screening measures, including the requirement to present a negative COVID test, as well as increased scrutiny of quarantine plans. Failure to comply with the mandatory quarantine requirements could result in a large fine or even a prison sentence.

We are working hard to make sure that you have access to the most current information and advice on travel restrictions and guidance – please consult our message to Canadians and monitor our website and social media sites to see the latest news.  Remember, we can all help keep our loved ones, our communities and ourselves safe by following the guidance and limiting any discretionary travel at this time. 

In news beyond the pandemic, as of December 31, 2020 the United Kingdom has now completed its long-anticipated departure from the European Union. With the end of the transition period, the UK is building its new international platform and priorities. I believe that this new era offers an opportunity to broaden the our deep and abiding partnership between Canada and our British friends. At the end of last year, we struck a new Trade Continuity Agreement with the UK, which will provide stability and predictability to Canadian businesses, workers, exporters and investors. This agreement will support our ambitions for further expanding the trade relationship between Canada and the UK, and we will turn later in this year to securing a comprehensive new bilateral free trade agreement between our great countries. 

I know how hard the past year was for so many Canadians in the UK. For 2021, I send you all my best wishes for a healthy, safe and prosperous new year. I hope that this year will be a brighter, happier and more hopeful one for us all. In the meanwhile, let us all do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Until we can meet again in person, enjoy catching up on all the latest Canadian news, culture and virtual events in this newsletter and on our social media channels.

Warm wishes,

 Signature - Janice Charette
Janice Charette

Consular Corner

Prepare for the year ahead

Do you have plans for essential travel to Canada? Please be aware that there are new mandatory requirements for travelling to Canada.

In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, as of January 7, 2021, all travellers to Canada aged 5+ are required to:

Failure to follow these requirements will result in a denial of boarding.

For a list of COVID-19 test suppliers in the United Kingdom, please read our message to Canadians.

Consular services & emergency contacts

Canadians in the UK in need of emergency assistance can contact the High Commission on 020 7004 6000 or You can also check our COVID-19 FAQs page, visit the Government of Canada’s official coronavirus advice page or check our Travel Advice and Advisories for the latest guidance.

If you have a question for us, please email: with the subject line “Consular Corner”.

IRCC Information

Q: I am considering applying for immigration to Canada. Would you be able to recommend a good consultant at an affordable price?

A: Please be advised that there is no requirement to hire a company, a representative, a consultant or a lawyer to help you with your application for immigration to Canada. All forms are available on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website and hiring a representative will not get your application special attention nor guarantee that it will be approved. Should you decide that you wish to hire a representative, please make sure that the person or company you are hiring is duly licensed and authorized to provide advice. You can find out if a representative is authorized on the Government of Canada's official website. Always make sure that you do your research on anyone you choose to hire to avoid any disappointment or financial loss.  You can find information on immigration scams on the Immigration and Citizenship Help Centre page.

Did you know?

The lowest temperature ever recorded in Canada and North America was in the village of Snag, Yukon, which registered -63ºC on February 3, 1947. More recently, the lowest sub-zero temperature recorded was -41.2ºC in Sherbrooke, Quebec, on January 15, 2004. Whatever the province or territory you are going to, remember to dress warm in winter! Don’t forget your tuque (a warm knitted hat popular in Canada)!

(Source: Canadian Geographic, a magazine of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society.)

Hello from our Honorary Consuls

Starting January 2021, each bimonthly edition of Canada Plus will include an update from some of our Honorary Consuls. They are based in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh and serve as a representative of the Government of Canada and local point of contact for Canadians living outside of London.

Mary Duncan – Scotland

2020 was a year spent at my desk answering calls and emails from worried Canadians trying to get home. The latter part of the year saw relatives using the new government directives to visit their families in Canada. There was no meeting up with our colleagues in the Consular Corps in Edinburgh – we missed that, but many events “happened” online. In November 2020, I wrote to Jane Ewart-Evans celebrating her 100th birthday in Perthshire. Jane is a Canadian war veteran who was an Enigma code breaker at Bletchley Park in WWII.

Photo, Jane Ewart-Evans
Jane Ewart-Evans

I sent her poppies and the memorial badge of Ottawa. I laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in Blairgowrie, poppies at the new War Memorial in Perth and “attended” a Christmas reception with Edinburgh colleagues. In January, I sent a letter and card to a couple residing in Edinburgh who were celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary – what a milestone! In 2021, I am looking forward to the many cultural activities that Scotland is known for, the wonderful venues, the gatherings, Clan and otherwise, and a long overdue visit to Canada House.

Ken Brundle - Northern Ireland

In Ulster, we have experienced two lockdowns and, while the supermarkets are very busy, the town centres are empty and many shops will never reopen. Consular activity has been very limited. Most Canadians in Northern Ireland seem to have hunkered down until travel is easier but there is always a trickle of requests for support with emergency travel. Most of the enquiries I’ve received concerned citizenship, emigration or pensions.

I was able to lay a Remembrance Wreath at Belfast City Hall on Remembrance Sunday, but there were very few people attending and no service. I did lay a Remembrance wreath at a County Down Church which had many parishioners in the Canadian Contingent in the First World War. Many local young men who went to Canada from Northern Ireland before WW1 returned as members of the Canadian Contingent, including a few recipients of the Victoria Cross. In November, I also visited the Ulster Aviation Society which has many Canadian members. One of their members is Fred Jennings aged 97 who was presented a Dutch medal for his work with Dutch squadrons during WW2.

The Canadian business footprint in Northern Ireland reduced significantly at the end of October, when Bombardier sold its Belfast operations to Spirit Aerosystems of the USA.

December is usually a busy month for consular events in Northern Ireland, with government receptions and business events. Virtually all of this was cancelled this year. It was always nice to catch up with other country’s representatives, local politicians and indeed the business community. This will have to wait until better times.

Once lockdown is lifted, I expect it will take several months before consular activity returns to normal. Happy New Year to you all and stay safe!

Business Brief

Your Business & Brexit

Recognizing that Canadian companies doing business in or with the United Kingdom may be affected by the UK’s departure from the European Union, the Government of Canada has prepared Brexit: Information for Canadian Companies, which provides useful information regarding Brexit and its potential impact on Canadian firms. This site will be regularly updated as new information becomes available.

One of the changes is that as the UK is now no longer part of the EU, the Canada-UK trade relationship is no longer governed by the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). However, in December 2020, Canada and the UK agreed to a Trade Continuity Agreement (Canada-UK Trade Continuity Agreement, or Canada-UK TCA) which will, once ratified, provide continuity, predictability and stability for trade between Canada and the United Kingdom. It preserves the main benefits of CETA and Canada’s competitive advantage in the UK market. This includes the elimination of tariffs on 98% of products exported to the UK.

Canada and the UK have put in place temporary measures that ensure continued preferential tariff treatment for goods shipped between Canada and the United Kingdom until the Canada-UK TCA is ratified and implemented.

Looking back on November and December

Introducing our new Deputy High Commissioner

Photo - Deputy High Commissioner! Stefanie Beckyou heard? Canada House has a new Deputy High Commissioner! Stefanie Beck has previously held a number of senior roles across the Government of Canada, across three departments in particular that have a strong connection to the work we do in London. These include her most recent role as Assistant Secretary to Cabinet, Priorities and Planning at the Privy Council Office, Assistant Deputy Minister for Europe, Arctic, Middle East and Maghreb, Senior Departmental Adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs at Global Affairs Canada, and Assistant Deputy Minister of Corporate Services at Immigration and Citizenship Canada. Stefanie grew up on several continents, attended high school in Singapore and St Catharines, ON, and has a BA in German and Italian from McGill University. Join us in giving Stefanie a warm welcome to Canada House and London. If you are interested in all things Canada-UK, give Stefanie a follow on Twitter!

Veterans Week and Remembrance Day 2020

Canada House rEmembersCanada House RemembersThis year, Veterans Week and Remembrance Day commemorations took a different form than in previous years, due to COVID-19. As a way of honouring the past and present Canadian Armed Forces members for their courage, valour and sacrifice in defence of our freedom in times of war, military conflict and peace, Canada House marked the occasion of Remembrance Day on November 11 with a virtual moment of silence accompanied by a special commemorative video.

The video features images from the Imperial War Museum and Canadian War Museum, as well as Canadian composer Justin Tokke’s moving musical rendition of the poem In Flanders Fields. In addition, a few of the UK-based Canadian Armed Forces members held a small and socially-distanced Remembrance Day service at the Brookwood Cemetery, where our High Commissioner Janice Charette laid a wreath for those who served, those we’ve lost and those who continue to defend our freedom around the world.

What’s Coming Up?

Until February: Position As Desired: Exploring Black Canadian and Black British identity | Photographs from the Wedge Collection

Collage - Position As Desired

L-R: Jalani Morgan, Black Lives They Matter Here, 2014 | Sandra Brewster, Blur 14, 2019 | Dawit Petros, Sign, 2003

In celebration of Black History Month in the UK (October 2020) and running until Black History Month in Canada (February 2021), the High Commission of Canada is proud to partner with the Wedge Collection (Toronto) to bring you a virtual preview of ‘Position As Desired: Exploring Black Canadian and Black British identity | Photographs from the Wedge Collection’, set to launch physically at the Canada Gallery next summer. In anticipation of the physical presentation, this exclusive, newly-curated online arrangement provides a discourse between the work of Black Canadian and Black British lens-based artists, exploring parallels in artistic practices and lived experiences, shared histories and important differences. Discover it now on Culture Canada. You can also view a selection of the works on display on the Pall Mall side of Canada House, if you’re in the neighbourhood!

Canada Goes DigitalUntil the spring: Cape Dorset Video Initiative
As part of our #CanadaGoesDigital campaign, the High Commission of Canada in the UK is collaborating with the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative in Kinngait and Dorset Fine Arts to bring you a series of eight short videos exploring the Inuit Art of Kinngait. Addressing themes such as the environment, history and culture, a series of these videos will be shared on our social media channels and the Culture Canada website.

October 22 – February 21, 2021: British Museum exhibition - Arctic: culture and climate
The British Museum celebrates the ingenuity and resilience of Arctic Peoples throughout history in a major new exhibition which tells the powerful story of respectful relationships with icy worlds and how Arctic Peoples have harnessed the weather and climate to thrive. The exhibition is accompanied by a series of online lectures and discussions on the themes of climate change, COVID-19 and cultural diversity.

Meet upJanuary 6 – February 23, 2021: Weekly online get-together
Starting Wednesday, January 6, join the Canadian Expat Meetup Group for a weekly virtual social gathering with fellow members. Please note that weekly events alternate between Tuesday and Wednesday, please visit the website for specific details on dates.

Canada Goes DigitalJanuary 15, 2021 – January 14, 2022: Shimmering Horizons
The High Commission of Canada is proud to partner with the Or Gallery (Vancouver) to bring you Shimmering Horizons, a new online exhibition featuring the work of a group of Canadian female artists, curated by Laurie White. Shimmering Horizons brings together works by five Canadian artists that offer visions of future life-ways on Earth. The exhibition puts the idea of “shimmer” - a concept described by writer and anthropologist Deborah Bird Rose as the aesthetic experience of ecological complexity and ancestral power - into productive alignment with the image of the horizon, a potent metaphor for the future.

 Asinnajaq, Three Thousand, 2017

Asinnajaq, Three Thousand, 2017

In these works, horizons shimmer both literally and figuratively: the glimmer of stars and the aurora borealis make palpable the potency of ancestral and ecological inheritance - the future enfolded by the past. Through a range of media, including basketry, video, painting, and digital collage, the artists in Shimmering Horizons offer alternative visions of the future that prioritize continuity, adaptation, and resilience. The project will include a panel discussion in March 2021. More information will be made available on our Culture Canada website.

Follow us on social media!

With the current pandemic changing the way we work and interact, we are creating more and more original interactive online content for you to enjoy. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, both in English and French, for all the latest on Canadian news and culture in the UK!

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