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Brazilians leaving Canada at Pearson Airport| Photo by OMNI TV

by Camila Garcia and Nandika Ravi

After two months of collecting information from people who really needed to return home, the Brazilian consulate was finally able to repatriate more than 400 Brazilians who had been stranded in Canada by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two flights with 150 passengers each left Toronto at dawn on the 25th and 26th of June. Priority was given to Brazilians who lived in Ontario and British Columbia and needed to head back to their country as soon as possible. These people were selected by the consulates and distributed among these flights.

Another flight left Montreal on the 27th, with around 150 passengers and six pets were also on board. The flights were paid for by the Brazilian government and citizenship councils through donations and collections in the community.

“We signed the contact, the money came in a week later, at least a part of it. After which the airlines started to organize flights,” said Ana Lelia Beltrame, the Brazilian consul general.

Sao Paulo was the final destination of the three flights. Consulate officials, including the consul in Toronto, were present when Brazilians were able to finally depart. The passengers were grateful for the opportunity to return home, but also expressed concern about the current state of the COVID19 pandemic in Brazil.

According to the consulate, allĀ  the people who had requested repatriation were allowed to go back. Those who stayed in Canada were ones who were willing to wait it out.