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Canada Plus - March and April

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

Canada Plus

A Message from Mrs. Janice Charette

Photo - Janice Charette

All good things must come to an end, they say. Sadly, this will be my last contribution to Canada Plus. As some of you may have heard, I have left my post as High Commissioner to return to Canada. I am taking on the role of interim Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet for the Government of Canada, while the incumbent – my colleague and friend Ian Shugart – seeks medical treatment. As I re-enter the last of a cold Ottawa winter, I already miss the lovely early spring that many of you across the UK are already enjoying. 

I arrived in London in September 2016. I could never have predicted the nature of the challenges, adventures and opportunities that lay ahead. It has been a huge honour to represent Canada abroad. I have been well supported by the entire Canada House team from the day of my arrival, and I am grateful to all of them for their hard work, dedication and commitment. 

There is a strong foundation for the historic friendship between Canada and the United Kingdom. We are partners, allies and friends. I have enjoyed the opportunity to travel across the UK during my assignment, to be able to visit Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland as well as a variety of locations across England. The UK has so many wonderful communities, with a broad range of business, social and political connections to Canada. I am proud of the work that we have done together to advance Canada's interests here and to build our bilateral relationship. Now that the UK has left the EU, and is embarking on a new course as Global Britain, there are opportunities to broaden and deepen the Canada-UK relationship, particularly in a busy year of international meetings to be hosted here in the UK. 

I am leaving more quickly than I might have hoped, and without the opportunity to say goodbye in person. Another missed opportunity due to the coronavirus. This has been a really difficult year for so many – particularly for those who have been ill with the virus or lost family members or friends to this terrible pandemic, or to those who have been impacted by the economic ramifications. I am hopeful that the worst will soon be over. There is a growing sense of hope and optimism that with the widespread take-up of the vaccine, life in the UK will be able to return to something closer to normal. Where families and friends can gather again. Where the wonders of London and the surrounding areas can be enjoyed again. 

The year ahead is going to be an exciting one, with the upcoming G7 and climate change gatherings. These will also provide important moments to advance our bilateral relationship. I look forward to watching these developments with great personal interest from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, and perhaps nudging them along in my new role.

I leave here with wonderful memories – particularly of events that we hosted in the beautiful Canada House, and opportunities to meet with Canadians in the UK and Canada-philes who are our great friends and supporters here. It is hard to leave behind friends and colleagues, but I hope this is “au revoir” and not goodbye. 

For now, let me wish you and your families all the very best for good health. Thank you for your support and enthusiasm for these messages and for all things Canada-UK related. I hope that 2021 will be the year when we put the bad news behind us and begin to “build back better” the world we all share.

Warm wishes,

 Signature - Janice Charette
Janice Charette

Consular Corner

Q: How do I apply for my child’s Canadian citizenship and can I apply online?

A: At present, our office only accepts paper applications. Online applications are on the horizon, however they remain in the soft launch phase at present. You should mail your application to us. We recommend sending them via special delivery, tracked mail. Please see here for full instructions.

Q: How long does it take to obtain proof of citizenship?

A: Our standard processing time of 9 months has been severely affected due to the pandemic. Most applications from the UK are now taking around 15 months to process. If you are moving to Canada in the near future, or have an urgent requirement for your document, please visit the IRCC website for advice on URGENT processing and include the necessary supporting documentation with your application.

Q: I’ve just had a baby in the UK and have obtained a British passport for them. We are moving back to Canada. Is it OK for my child to use their UK passport to return to Canada?

A: The British passport should not be used, as Canadian citizens are required to enter using a Canadian passport when flying to Canada. Please contact for information on obtaining a Canadian passport.

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 a Canadian citizen living in the UK. My partner and I have been living together for several years and I would like to move back to Canada with my partner. We are not married. How do we proceed?

A: You may be eligible to sponsor your partner as a common-law spouse if you can provide evidence that you have lived with your partner in a common-law relationship for at least 12 months. Items that can be used as proof of a common-law relationship include: shared ownership of residential property or joint leases/rental agreements, bills for shared utility accounts, important documents for both of you showing the same address, such as driver’s licenses or insurance policies, etc. We may consider other proof as well. Please see our website to find out what to submit with your application. As you are currently living in the UK, it will also be important to demonstrate that you plan to live in Canada permanently once your partner becomes a permanent resident.

Did you know?

Many adults now choose to live in a common-law relationship before marriage. According to the 2017 Canadian General Society Survey (GSS), nearly 40% of married people between the age of 25 and 64 had lived in a common-law relationship with their current spouse before tying the knot. This was up from 25% in 2006. Those who had lived in a common-law relationship with their spouse had done so for an average of 3.6 years before marrying, up from 2.5 years in 2006.

Source: Statistics Canada

Hello from our Honorary Consuls

Each edition of Canada Plus now includes an update from our Honorary Consuls around the UK. They are based in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh and serve as a regional representative of the Government of Canada and local point of contact for Canadians living outside of London.

Mary Duncan – Scotland

Community larderGroundhog Day on February 2 dawned sunny and as a true Canuck, I went out to check the weather. Lots of shadows here, so we won't see spring until mid-March.

Lockdown 2021 is different from 2020. Icy pavements are curtailing daily walks and the level of camaraderie is not quite the same. There are worries about the requirements for quarantine and COVID testing for returnees.

I have “attended” some virtual meetings, with an excellent one on “Indigenous Languages – Thriving in a Digital Age” featuring, Scots, Gaelic, Scandinavian/Russian Sami and our own Aluki Kotierk, President of Nunavut Tunngavik, Inc.

There were several entertaining online Burns’ Night Events, featuring poetry and song.

The good news is that Tim Horton’s now supplies goods on Amazon! Having received some items, I have donated them to our Community Larder for those struggling during the pandemic.

Ken Brundle – Northern Ireland

2021 in Belfast started with a continuation of our lockdown. Schools and travel are severely limited, as are social venues. After the post-Christmas peak in new COVID-19 cases, the situation is now slowly improving and the vaccination roll-out is going well. Few people are travelling, so things on the consular front are very quiet.

The topic that dominates public debate here, however, is Brexit and specifically the Northern Ireland protocol. There has been disruption in freight traffic between NI and the rest of UK. Many suppliers are opting out of supplying to NI. Deliveries have slowed down and there are shortages in construction materials. 

Some of this may be down to teething problems but locals are concerned. But Northern Irish folk are very resilient and are mostly compliant with COVID guidelines. Still, we are all looking forward to seeing the sun, meeting with family and friends and having a drink in the hopefully none-too-distant future.

Lana Zylich – Wales

As the first anniversary of our adapted way of living is upon us, I appreciate how much the provision of information and assistance to Canadians in Wales has been made possible, easy and quick with the Internet – one must not forget the newness of this technology! Where face-to-face consular assistance was needed, elaborate outdoor table and chair arrangements providing excellent physical distancing was quite good fun to organise and, I hope, brought a smile to all.

Meanwhile, the lengthy Welsh lockdown finds me yet again putting on my hiking boots, this time yomping the distance to my computer, cup of tea in hand, in preparation for a virtual ramble to the north Wales village of Bedelwyddan to reflect upon the lost lives of Canadian servicemen and women caught up in the pandemic of 1918-19 and post-WW1 repatriation.

Looking back on January, February and March

Opening of our new virtual Canada Gallery exhibition: Shimmering Horizons

On January 15, we opened our newest virtual Canada Gallery exhibition, Shimmering Horizons.

This unique exhibition brings together works by five Canadian artists that offer visions of future life-ways on Earth. Unbound by the inhibiting narratives of apocalypse and dystopia, and wary of the false promise of technological salvation, these artists instead draw on the rich traditions of creative science fiction explored in the fields of Indigenous Futurisms and settler-feminist posthumanism.

View this email in your browserTogether, they ask: “Can sci-fi do more for us than simply confirm our worst fears, or offer escapist fantasies? Can new stories address the violence of the past, recognize the urgency of the present, and still offer compelling images of the future?”.

Join us and the Or Gallery (Vancouver) on a journey to uncover different - shimmering - visions of the future. Featuring Asinnajaq, Marina Roy, Elizabeth Zvonar, Meagan Musseau & Tania Willard. Stay tuned for more information on an online panel discussion taking place on March 10 at 18:00 GMT! Click here to access the exhibition

Tania Willard, Gut Instincts, 2018, Digital mural. Courtesy of the artist.

Black History Month in Canada

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 Black History Month in Canada (February 2021), we partnered with the Wedge Collection (Toronto) to showcase 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 provided 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. Click here to access the exhibition.

Canada House launches a Diversity, Anti-racism and Equity (DARE) Committee

logo - DAREWe would like to introduce you to the Canada House Diversity, Anti-Racism and Equity (DARE) Committee, formed in August 2020. Pictured you can see the Committee’s new logo which incorporates the word DARE in Braille. The Committee is comprised of volunteers from across the mission who are committed to creating a respectful, inclusive workplace that values, protects and promotes diversity, anti-racism and equity. The DARE Committee’s work is divided into three strands, led by voluntary “Co-Leads” from across the mission: Advocate, Educate and Celebrate. For Black History Month 2021, the Celebrate team put together a fantastic video montage of incredible Black Canadian trailblazers. Stay tuned for more updates on the Committee’s work.

International Women’s Day: #BuildBackFeminist

Build Back Feminist

On Wednesday, 3 March, Canada House kicked off celebrations for International Women’s Day with a signature online event called ‘Build Back Feminist, Pathways to Post-COVID Equality: A Canadian Perspective’. This powerful celebration of inclusion, diversity & feminism (in the best sense of the word), looked at how we can build a better, safer, greener, and more inclusive world for everyone post-COVID.

Hosted by Janice Charette and moderated by Dr. Polly Russell, Head of the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, this special virtual celebration featured remarks, interviews, discussions and music by some truly inspiring Canadian women, including:

  • Carolyn Wilkins - until recently, the most senior woman at the Bank of Canada
  • The Hon. Jean Augustine - Canada’s first Black female parliamentarian
  • Twin activists Maryam and Nivaal Rehman - advocates for climate justice, gender equality and inclusivity through their non-profit, The World with MNR
  • The legendary Canadian author Margaret Atwood
  • Mohawk Two Spirit singer-songwriter & Billboard’s “LGBTQ artist you should know”, Shawnee, and
  • Canada’s very own Minister for International Development, the Hon. Karina Gould.

Thank you to all of you who tuned in to watch. If you missed the event, never fear! You can catch it again here.

What’s Coming Up?

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. The project will include a panel discussion on March 10, 2021, at 18:00 GMT. More information is available on our Culture Canada website.

Asinnajaq, Three Thousand, 2017

Asinnajaq, Three Thousand, 2017

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.

Showroom CanadaFebruary 15, 2021 – March 31, 2021: Showroom Canada
Showroom Canada is the place to discover award-winning, innovative design focused on diversity, sustainability and quality, loved by celebrities, retailers and consumers alike. Featuring 13 exciting designers, including LGBTQ2+, visible minority, youth, and women-owned or led brands, explore Showroom Canada’s top tier Canadian fashion and design talent now on our Culture Canada website.

Meet upMarch 9, 2021 – April 28, 2021: Weekly online get-together
Continuing Tuesday, March 9, 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.

March 8 – 10, 2021: Focus Wales
Four of Wales’ best-loved festivals – Festival of Voice, FOCUS Wales, Other Voices Cardigan and Aberystwyth Comedy Festival – have joined forces in lockdown to create Gŵyl 2021, a free online festival including 3 nights of music from 18 Canadian artists. Artists selected by BreakOut West, M for Montreal, and Nova Scotia Music Week will perform live sessions to be broadcast on Welsh platform AM from March 8-10, 2021. Full line-up and schedule to be announced soon on the Focus Wales website.

Alethea Arnaquq-BarilMarch 14, 2021: Big Freeze Art Festival — Film Night +Director Q&A
Native Spirit Foundation are streaming three Inuit films by Inuk Filmmakers: TUNNIIT with Director Alethea Arnaquq-Baril Q&A; THREE THOUSAND dir. Asinnajaq; and BREATHS with Director Nyla Innuksuk Q&A, as part of the Big Freeze Polar Art Festival, hosted by the Polar Museum at the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, running from March 4-14, 2021. Details and registration here.

Photo credit: Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, director of Tunniit: Retracing The Lines Of Inuit Tattoos

March 17-28, 2021: BFI Flare, London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival
This year’s BFI Flare features a stellar lineup of Canadian content, including: Jump Darling, No Ordinary Man, and Well Rounded. Among the shorts featured are: Girls Shouldn’t Walk Alone at Night and Hello Goodbye. Visit the BFI Flare website for more information.

April 14, 2021: NFB documentary screening of Stateless and Q&A, Bertha DocHouse
In 1937, tens of thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent were exterminated by the Dominican army on the basis of anti-black racism. Fast-forward to 2013: the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court stripped the citizenship of anyone with Haitian parents, retroactive to 1929, rendering more than 200,000 people stateless. Director Michèle Stephenson’s new documentary follows the grassroots campaign of a young attorney named Rosa Iris, as she challenges electoral corruption and fights to protect the right to citizenship of all people. For more information, check the Bertha DocHouse website closer to the event and stay tuned on our social media.

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!

Canada Goes DigitalKeep an eye out for this sign for our #CanadaGoesDigital programme, a series of interactive, educational and fun online events organised in response to the cancellation of live events and the closure of venues during the pandemic.

You can follow us here:

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Archive - Canada Plus

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