Canada is offering short-term financial support to families of Flight 752 victims who were Canadian citizens or permanent residents but said it ultimately expects formal compensation from Iran which shot down the civilian airliner last week.
The Globe and Mail reported that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will offer $25,000 per victim to families of Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada who lost their lives in the tragedy.
This will be to assist with financial costs including funeral arrangements and travel and reflects the unique situation families find themselves in dealing with a country such as Iran which is under international sanctions, the Prime Minister said.
‘I want to be clear: we expect Iran to compensate these families,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters in an Ottawa briefing.
“I have met them and they can’t wait weeks. They need support now.”
Ukraine Airlines Flight 752 was shot down hours after Iran had fired several volleys of ballistic missiles at U.S. military targets in Iraq, in response to the U.S. assassination of a senior Iranian commander. All 176 people on board died, including 57 Canadians and 29 foreigners who were permanent residents of Canada.
Mr. Trudeau first mentioned the 29 permanent residents of Canada in his Friday briefing.
After days of denying it was responsible, Iran last Saturday admitted it had brought down the plane but said this tragedy was due to human error.
Iran’s Civil Aviation Authority recorded the dead differently from Canada in a preliminary January 9 report, saying 146 Iranian citizens, 11 Ukrainians 10 Afghans, five Canadians and 4 Swedes. They based this on the passports used by passengers and crew at border controls upon departure.
Mr. Trudeau told reporters he expects remains of Canadians killed in the Flight 752 disaster will begin returning to Canada “in the coming days.”
Asked how Canada decided on the amount of $25,000, he said this stemmed from meetings with victims’ families in recent days about the financial pressure burdening them right now. The money is for “the needs they are facing: everything from bills that are coming in to credit cards that are maxed out to real questions about how to get back to Iran to support their families … at a time when air travel is increasingly limited in the region – and expensive.”
He said this does not make up for the compensation that Iran must give to these families “in due course.”
Mr. Trudeau suggested Canada does not expect Iran to reimburse Ottawa for these $25,000 payouts. “I can assure you that any money from Iran to the [families of the] victims would go straight to them. It wouldn’t be to reimburse the Canadian government.”