Ottawa fast-tracking travel visas for AIDS conference amid sharp criticism

The federal government says it is now prioritizing temporary travel visas for people seeking to attend the International AIDS Conference in Montreal at the end of July.

The move comes as the head of the African Alliance health rights organization slams Canada for bidding to host the conference and spending millions of dollars on it without making sure all attendees would be given a visa to attend.

Founder Tian Johnson says it is “truly vile”¬†that thousands of people from the Global South are still waiting to find out if they’ll get a visa, leaving the conference to be only “white, privileged and academic.”

The African Alliance is one of 250 Canadian and international humanitarian groups that signed a letter to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser in June asking him to intervene.

The letter warns there is a real risk the voices of people living in countries most affected by AIDS will be missing from the conversation.

A spokesman for Fraser says visa offices have now been sent lists of conference invitees and are being told to prioritize their temporary travel visa applications.

Back To Top