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Affected by the Iran plane crash? Here’s what government support is available

Trudeau says discussion of Iran compensating families needs to be ‘part of the mix’
Trudeau says discussion of Iran compensating families needs to be ‘part of the mix’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday the government is taking steps to support Canadian families affected by the deadly Tehran plane crash.

During a press conference on Saturday, Trudeau told reporters consular and immigration officials have been dispatched across the country so they can be in direct contact with families affected by the crash.

The Iranian government is working with Global Affairs Canada to grant visas to those with family members or loved ones who were on Flight PS752.

“We’re working with our partners who are facilitating the process by which visas are granted. Currently, the Iranians are cooperating and granting visas,” Trudeau said.

Three consular officials landed in Tehran Saturday afternoon. A government official said they are part of Global Affairs’ Standing Rapid Deployment team and hope to be followed by more in the coming days.

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Trudeau says Iran must take ‘full responsibility’ for Ukrainian jetliner crash
Trudeau says Iran must take ‘full responsibility’ for Ukrainian jetliner crash

Earlier on Saturday, Iran admitted that its military “unintentionally” shot down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing all 176 aboard, including 57 Canadians, after repeatedly denying it was responsible.

The plane crash, which occurred Wednesday, happened moments after Iran launched a ballistic missile strike at an Iraqi military base that was housing U.S. troops.

Should Canadians affected by the crash need to travel to Iran, Trudeau said Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino set up an emergency line to ensure that officials from Immigration Canada are available to help with any visa issues.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada also announced Friday they were putting special measures in place to help family members of the victims of the crash that will include Canadians, permanent residents and those holding temporary status in Canada.

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“Assistance will be provided to those who need to travel to Iran, who need travel documents on an urgent basis or those who may need to remain in Canada temporarily. Assistance will also be provided to family members who may need to travel to Canada for funerals or to handle personal affairs of victims, and need a visa on an urgent basis,” they said in a statement.

Families of victims of the crash in Canada or the U.S. can call 1-833-864-2831. From anywhere else in the world, those in need of assistance can call 1-438-843-2029. The IRCC can also be reached at operationPS752@cic.gc.ca.

Global Affairs Canada said on its website that Canadians in need of consular assistance can reach them either at 1-800-387-3124 or sos@international.gc.ca.

An emergency task force set up by Clerk of the Privy Council Ian Shugart to ensure that loved ones and family members of the victims have the support they need convened on Saturday, Trudeau said.

READ MORE: ‘Furious’ Trudeau says Iran must take full responsibility for shooting down plane

The International Co-ordination and Response Group, another task force aimed at investigating the cause of the crash, also convened Saturday through a call led by the foreign affairs minister.

The group is made up of representatives from countries whose citizens were passengers on the plane, including the United Kingdom, Sweden, Ukraine, Canada and Afghanistan. Iran also had citizens on the plane but it will not be part of the working group.

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Meanwhile, three visas have been approved for Canadian investigators who are expected to arrive in Tehran Saturday evening to establish a presence on the ground to support Canadian families affected by the crash.

Currently, there are no formal diplomatic ties between Canada and Iran and no Iranian embassy in the country, which has made obtaining visas for Canadians difficult. As a result, Global Affairs representatives are stationed in Ankara while they wait on visa approvals, where the Embassy of Canada to Turkey has consular responsibility for Iran.

“We need answers for families, but I noted that many more steps must be taken. A fully and complete investigation must be conducted,” said Trudeau. “We need full clarity on how such a horrific tragedy could have occurred. Families are seeking justice and accountability. They deserve closure.”