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CAUT Bulletin Archives

May 2012

Council Guests Barred Entry to Canada

CAUT has written to the Citizenship and Immigration Minister to protest repeated denials of travel visas for two guests invited to CAUT’s April Council meeting in Ottawa.

President Christian Addai-Poku and vice-president Eric Agbe-Carbonu of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) in Ghana were scheduled to address Council delegates, but were barred from entering Canada.

Their applications for visas to Canada were first refused because, according to immigration authorities, the officials from NAGRAT did not “demonstrate sufficient ties to Ghana” and could be at risk of overstaying in the country.

Second applications were submitted that included detailed informa­tion about their employment status, assets and family ties in addition to CAUT’s formal invitation and supporting letters from the Ghanaian Education Service and the Ghanaian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Agbe-Carbonu was denied a visa a second time because his income was low and he did not appear to be able to afford a trip to Canada despite a letter from CAUT guaranteeing that all travel and living costs would be covered.

Addai-Poku was denied entry because an immigration officer found it “suspicious” he was arriving in Canada after the Council meeting was set to begin. Council began Thursday, April 26 and ended Sunday April 29. To accommodate their teaching hours, Agbe-Carbonu and Addai-Poku were scheduled to arrive Friday and address Council the next day.

“We were stunned when we learned their visa efforts were unsuccessful,” said CAUT president Wayne Peters. “The reasons given for denying their applications a second time were arbitrary, and in one case factually wrong.

“The sad irony is that Addai-Poku visited Canada in 2010 and complied with all visa requirements at that time, while Agbe-Carbonu has relatives in the United States with whom he visits regularly without ever experiencing difficulty obtaining a U.S. travel visa”

Peters says the incident is cause for concern.

“As an organization that is building new international ties, CAUT needs assurances that visitor visas will be processed in a timely, transparent and fair manner.”

Last November, Council delegates approved an international cooperation project between CAUT and NAGRAT aimed at developing the Ghanaian group’s leadership and organizing capacity.