OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that his government will offer payments to relatives of the dozens of Canadian citizens and permanent residents killed when a Ukrainian airliner was downed by missiles launched by Iranian forces.
At a news conference on Friday, Mr. Trudeau said the payments are an interim measure and that Canada will not abandon its efforts to make Iran provide substantial compensation to the families of the victims.
He said that Iran bears full responsibility for the incident.
“I want to be clear: we expect Iran to compensate these families,” Mr. Trudeau said. “But I have met them, they can’t wait weeks. They need support now.”
Canada will provide each of the families with 25,000 Canadian dollars, about $19,000, to cover the cost of funerals and travel. The prime minister said that 57 of the victims were Canadian citizens and another 29 were permanent residents of the country.
Canada does not have diplomatic relations with Iran and relies on Italy as its representative there. Members of Canada’s Transportation Safety Board are participating in the investigation that Iran is leading into the downing.
For three days, Iran claimed that the airplane, Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752, had crashed due to mechanical problems, despite the findings of various intelligence services that the plane was shot down. Iran then reversed its denial, admitting that a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps — a powerful, hard-line military force — mistook the plane for a cruise missile.
Videos verified by The New York Times indicate that two missiles struck the airliner before it crashed.
In the week since the disaster, Mr. Trudeau and several senior members of his cabinet have been crisscrossing the country to meet with relatives of the victims and attend public vigils.
The prime minister has stayed out of a growing debate within the country over whether President Trump shares some of the responsibility for the deaths by creating a volatile situation in Iran that some argue led to the downing.
Canada expects the first remains of victims to arrive soon, Mr. Trudeau said. He also urged Iran to send the damaged cockpit voice and flight data recorders from the airliner to France for downloading and analysis.