Cash-strapped and stranded overseas, a whole bunch of Canadians are ready for an emergency mortgage from the federal authorities as a result of they want cash to pay for motels or guide flights.

The Canadian authorities has paid out $1.eight million in loans to 525 recipients by the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad. It is at present processing one other 800 mortgage functions, in response to Global Affairs Canada.

The repayable mortgage of as much as $5,000 is meant to cowl flights again to Canada, or primary bills, similar to motels and meals, till residents can return dwelling. There are at present 391,451 Canadians signed as much as the Registration of Canadians Abroad. 

Kimberley Bradley, 50, of Pembroke, Ont., says she wants the emergency mortgage to cowl her lodge invoice in Varadero, Cuba. She’s been compelled into quarantine with a whole bunch of different travellers and solely has sufficient money to cowl 4 extra nights, she mentioned.

“People have run out out of money. They’re waiting on emergency loans, begging the hotels to wait,” she mentioned. “I have no room left on my credit card.”

Bradley mentioned she has booked three completely different industrial flights out of Cuba prior to now 10 days, every paid for on her credit card, however they’ve all been cancelled. Each time, she acquired credit for future journey however no refund.

Travelling on a decent price range

Bradley began the mortgage software course of eight days in the past. She acquired an e-mail from Canada’s emergency response centre at this time that mentioned, “Due to a high volume of requests, we will not be able to give updates on the status of individual loan applications.” The most up-to-date communication warned the method might take every week.

In an announcement launched Tuesday, Global Affairs Canada mentioned it’s working “around the clock” to make sure it’s “providing emergency assistance and consular services to Canadians abroad who need it.”

Bradley says she’s luckier than loads of travellers as a result of the Cuban authorities has positioned foreigners in a pleasant all-inclusive lodge the place employees are treating them effectively. (Westjet Vacations)

Bradley, who has an autoimmune illness that’s exacerbated by the chilly, arrived in Cuba in early January. She rented an house in a fishing village for six months, she mentioned.

When COVID-19 considerations escalated in early March, she weighed her choices. She says she did not have a spot to quarantine in Ontario as a result of she lives together with her daughter, who’s an important service employee. Bradley additionally survives on a incapacity pension and had pre-paid six months’ lease in Cuba.

So, she determined that she would self-isolate in her non-public house in Cuba till the tip of June.

That plan fell aside final Tuesday, when Cuban immigration officers determined to power all foreigners into quarantine in motels to attempt to management the fast-spreading virus.

“A lot of people missed opportunities to take flights because they thought they were just going to wait things out here,” Bradley mentioned.

Nonetheless, she would not blame Cuban officers for taking steps to comprise the virus, she mentioned.

Now, she’s compelled to pay $50 an evening on the Barcelo Solymar lodge, which she mentioned is gorgeous, with variety employees, however far past her tight price range.

Bradley, seen right here in Cuba, the place she’s been dwelling since January, was a on tight price range earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic compelled her right into a Cuban lodge she could not afford, she says. (Submitted by Kimberley Bradley)

There are not any industrial flights in or out of Cuba, however Bradley was knowledgeable late Wednesday that the Canadian authorities is chartering a flight out on Sunday. She cannot afford the ticket except she receives the mortgage in time, she mentioned.

Loan software denied

Toronto resident Alexandra Acosta helped her 62-year-old father apply for a $1,000 emergency mortgage final week to go towards a airplane ticket dwelling from Lima, Peru.

Given the financial uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and her personal circumstances, Acosta could not afford to mortgage him cash herself, she mentioned.

“I have enough money to last me for my groceries. My husband’s not working. I’m not working. You can only use your credit card so much,” she mentioned.

Her father, Juan Acosta, simply acquired an e-mail from the Canadian Embassy in Lima that he was denied the mortgage. The rejection e-mail did not specify why, however mentioned: “This program is intended to provide assistance to Canadian citizens who plan to return to Canada, have been prevented from doing so because of COVID-19, and have no other source of funds.”

The federal authorities has organized three flights to deliver Canadians dwelling from Peru this week. 

Acosta mentioned she is devastated.

“If he was here with me, he would be … in this house, so I could make sure he is OK,” she mentioned. “You gotta take care of your parents because they took care of you.” 

Employees of the Pariwana Hostel in Cusco, Peru, inform company of two confirmed constructive COVID-19 outcomes on March 25. (Submitted by William Fafard)

Acosta mentioned she searched for a industrial flight out of Peru for her father final month after the Canadian authorities warned travellers that they need to return dwelling whereas they nonetheless can. She wasn’t profitable.

She mentioned her father moved from Canada to Peru two years in the past to pursue a enterprise alternative and care for his aged father. Acosta concedes that Peru is her father’s main residence lately, however she says he is a Canadian citizen and she or he desires him dwelling.

The eligibility standards to qualify for an emergency mortgage from the federal authorities embody:

  • You are eligible if you’re a Canadian citizen impacted by COVID-19 who plans to return to Canada and who has no different supply of funds.
  • Global Affairs will contemplate that you simply plan to return to Canada in the event you:
    • Had a return flight booked and your flight was cancelled or delayed.
    • Attempted to guide a flight, however can not as a result of journey restrictions or exorbitant pricing.
  • You have to be a Canadian citizen.
  • You have to be a everlasting resident travelling with an instantaneous member of the family who’s a Canadian citizen, or dealing with a menace to life or different grievous hurt.
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