Why Canada’s Snowbirds May Not Make it Over the Border
Increasing the Cost of Living as a Snowbird
The Canadian government has implemented a new program that promises to make it a lot more difficult for snowbirds to enjoy their cross-border lifestyle. In an effort to save hundreds of millions of dollars over the next five years, the government plans to track the activities of snowbirds to ascertain whether or not they qualify for social benefits.
As a result, those who spend the majority of their time in the United States may be forced to cut back on U.S. travel, to avoid losing much-needed income.
Tracking the Flight of Snowbirds
The Canadian government will be implementing a flight tracking system that will show how much time people spend living outside of Canada, which determines payment from social benefit programs. Similar to the United States, Canada will be demanding flight data from planes exiting the border, allowing government personnel to share information that proves eligibility for benefits.
While the Canada Border Services Agency remains mum on the issue, especially regarding privacy concerns, the office of the federal privacy commissioner promises to keep tabs on data collection. Spokeswoman Valerie Lawton said that “we’ve emphasized that each institution will need to demonstrate that the proposed collection and sharing is necessary and effective, undertaken in the least privacy-invasive manner possible and designed so that any loss of privacy is proportionate to societal benefits.”
As a result of these changes, snowbirds who’ve been spending lots of time living across the border can expect to lose social and retirement benefits that help support their lifestyle.
Grounded By Financial Concerns
Most people know that Canadians may spend up to half a year as a visitor to the United States as long as they don’t plan on working or permanently living in the U.S. This used to be one of the most significant hurdles that snowbirds had to deal with, especially when extending their stay.
Now, the main threat to the snowbird lifestyle is disappearing income due to the Canadian government tracking international flights with the express purpose of denying payment of social programs. The government may be saving more than a half-million dollars in the process, but their savings are enabled by your loss.
Protect Your Rights, Protect Your Benefits
Considering the amount of work that it took to create the snowbird lifestyle that you now enjoy, it’s vital to protect the benefits you’ve earned against new government regulations.
VisaPlace helps snowbirds deal with cross-border issues of all kinds by lending considerable experience and expertise in defense of your interests.
About Michael Niren
Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more
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