Entering Gay-Friendly Canada is a simple affair!
Montréal 2006 authorises use and/or reproduction of this monthly in whole or in part. If appropriate, the author can also be quoted.
Sixty thousand people are expected for the opening ceremonies of the Montréal Outgames in July 2006. Among them, 16,000 participants will be competing or taking part in the various activities planned for the games. These Outgames, of Olympic proportions, will set new standards for international LGBT sporting competitions and raise expectations for their organisers thereafter. Canadians and visitors alike will participate in the making of history and do so in a city, province and country unparalleled in its ability to welcome visitors.
A Leader in LGBT Rights
Victory for Same-Sex Marriage
If you are planning to attend the Outgames in Montréal, you can come with your partner and marry anywhere in Canada. “What an event that would be,” said Louise Duguay, Co-President of Montréal 2006. “This laws enactment and the hosting of the Montréal Outgames make Canada the gay and lesbian travel destination of choice in 2006.”
Visitors to Montréal and elsewhere in the province of Québec should note, however, that currently there is a civil code requirement for couples to publicly announce their intention to marry. At the moment, the law requires Québec marriages to be announced three weeks prior to the actual marriage date. Elsewhere in Canada, this requirement is not needed. Montréal 2006 will be providing a wedding chapel at its main gathering place during the Outages. For those who wish to tie the knot, it only requires that you make plans to be here three weeks prior or during the games to make your dream come true!
Rounding out LGBT rights in Québec, it is worth noting that gays and lesbians in the province also have the right to adopt and to parent the child of their same-sex partner. In fact, since 2001, the provincial legislature – the Québec National Assembly – unanimously adopted legislation creating civil unions for same-sex couples and providing adoption rights.
to Gay-Friendly Canada
of Identity Documents
from the United States? No Visa Needed
Although it is always preferable to present a passport upon entering Canada, American citizens can substitute the passport with a driver’s license, birth certificate or any other photo ID capable of confirming ones identity and nationality.
Needs a Visa? Where Do I Get One?
Citizens from the following countries do not need a Visa to enter Canada:
about Health Issues?
Little Bit of Context
Ongoing discussions and collaboration between a number of governmental agencies and NGO’s have since produced a significant change in federal policies. As Toronto will be hosting the World AIDS Conference in August 2006, organizers and other Canadian HIV/AIDS organizations successfully lobbied the government to have these questions clarified. Since the original purpose of the question was not to inquire about HIV status the question was amended. These days, if you need to apply for a temporary visa, you’ll note that you are not required to disclose a known HIV infection on the application form. For more information about the change, check out the extensive briefing on the matter at the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.
is Canada’s Official Position on Medical Testing and HIV/AIDS?
The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network notes that the departmental instructions given to visa officers state that ‘it would be rare that a visa applicant living with HIV/AIDS might need to be referred for an immigration medical examination and rarer still that the person would be assessed as medically inadmissible.
For rare and exceptional cases where a tourist’s health condition is such that they are likely to require health and social services while in Canada, there may be medical testing required. This, however, is a standard applied to all short-term visitors and understands that, to obtain entry approval, they will not impose undue demand on Canada’s public health care system.
ill to Canada
It is important to remember that Canada Customs and Immigration rules are not meant to restrict access to Canada for visitors. The primary purpose of the medical exam is to assess if ones condition will cause an undue burden onto the Canadian public health care system.
More information regarding health issues for visitors to Canada can be obtained by contacting your nearest Canadian Embassy or consulting the above-indicated web sites address.
More general information is also available through your local Canadian consulate or embassy, through the Québec Government offices abroad, through Montréal 2006’s official travel partners abroad, and its local partner, Tourisme Montréal.
If I’m Entering Canada from the United States?
The US government considers travellers connecting through the US to be first traveling to the United States. The US government has imposed a number of measures designed to protect and ensure the safety of U.S. citizens and, consequently, are taking steps to identify potential security threats, even for tourists simply in transit.
On May 14, 2002, President George Bush signed the national Border Security and Visa Entry Reform and the changes to entry policy began. The new United States Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative has begun to be enforced as well, further seeking to ‘Secure Borders and Open Doors.’ In an effort to guarantee safety, the government of the United States has begun to verify the identity of all applicants and visitors, as well as ensure that you intend to re-enter your home country. Consequently, travellers are likely to find the entry policies and procedures complicated, as they require quite a bit of effort to accommodate. The initiative is far-reaching and affects all travellers to and from the Americas, the Caribbean and Bermuda, who soon will be required to have a passport and/or a visa that establishes the bearer’s identity and nationality when entering the United States. If you’re a citizen of a foreign country, in most cases you’ll need to hold a Nonimmigrant Visa (visa) to enter the United States.
You should know that the visa itself does not permit entry into the U.S. But, rather, it simply indicates that you have filed an application, that an officer at an American embassy or consulate has reviewed it and that you have been declared eligible to enter the country for a specific purpose. Essentially, you are allowed to travel to the United States but only as far as your entry point. There you ask the immigration officer for permission to enter and it is only the border officer who has the authority to allow you to continue on further. He or she will then decide how long you can stay for any particular visit.
a U.S. Visa
Upon arrival into the United States, customs agents will review your visa, documentation and verify your length of stay. The agent will also take your fingerprints again and a digital photo will be shot and added to your file.
In some cases, before leaving your country, your US visa officer may inform you that you will be subject to special clearance procedures. Some travellers may be directed to private workstations in the arrival halls where a more in-depth registration is undergone. This includes more interviews, photos and verification processes. In these cases, be sure to leave even more time between your connections.
Pertaining to Your Health
Unfortunately, in being honest, you may not be allowed to enter the United States, so bear that in mind. It is important to note that people who are found to be HIV positive by US Customs Agents will be turned back and permanently denied entry into the United States. Although this information is not immediately found on US government websites, several American and US specialized travel agents confirmed this information but refused to be quoted on it.
to Gay-Friendly Montréal: Its as Easy as 1-2-3
All that’s left to be said is: Bon voyage!
I’ll be there with bells and
whistles waiting to wish you a very warm Bienvenue!