A Canada Day-inspired campaign for Canadians to register with the Canadian consulate has the Canadian Consulate here in Cayman appealing to expatriates.
‘There are maybe 5,000 Canadians on-Island including work permit holders, permanent residents and their families,’ said Honorary Consul Jeff Boucher, a long-time Cayman Islands resident.
But, he noted, only 500 or so are registered with the Consulate.
There may be a range of reasons expatriate Canadians haven’t registered, but one reason seems to prevail.
‘Registration is voluntary, and personal information is protected and used in accordance with the Privacy Act,’ said Mr. Boucher.
‘That means, Revenue Canada has no access to it.’
At the Canada Day event held at Aqua Beach, Consular Assistant Guylaine Pomerleau was happy to report at least 100 new additions to the list, but thousands remain.
‘Our registration service known as ROCA is for Canadians living abroad,’ said Ms Pomerleau.
‘This service is provided so that we can contact and assist you in an emergency, such as a hurricane, or inform you of a family emergency back home.’
The Consulate of Canada provides information including a range of leaflets and forms on citizenship, passport, immigration and other areas.
All processing of passport, citizenship and immigration applications is done at the high commission of Canada in Jamaica (Canada doesn’t have an Embassy because Jamaica is part of the Commonwealth).
The George Town office is open Monday-Thursday 10am to 1pm, on the second floor of the Barnett Music Centre, next to the Red Cross building. For those unable to visit at those times, the most popular forms are available on a stand in the hallway outside the office.
Registration can also be done online, at www.voyage.gc.ca, a convenient option for those with access to computers.
Another useful service the Consulate offers is passport renewals. Online forms are available at www.pptc.gc.ca and paper forms can be picked up at the office. The processing is in Kingston, and takes 15 to 20 business days.
The Consulate urges Canadians to check all travel documents are up to date, and to consider renewal if they are due to expire during hurricane season.
‘We can help you review your application before you send it to Kingston,’ said Ms. Pomerleau.
‘We also can assist with citizenship certificates for both newborns and adults before they are sent off to Jamaica.’
But patience is required, as processing time is nine to 12 months.
Consular services are also open to assist with visas for non-Canadians wishing to work or travel in Canada.
‘We hope that we can get more people to register with us, it’s easy and it is worth it,’ said Mr. Boucher.