CANADA has now welcomed more than 25,000 Syrian refugees as part of the #WelcomeRefugees initiative.
John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said on Monday: “We have reached a significant milestone, but the work continues as we begin to integrate Syrian refugees into our communities. Canadians from coast to coast to coast will have a hand in welcoming, integrating and contributing to the success of our newest community members.”
The plan to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of February 2016 has met the commitments of a quick and successful resettlement effort while not compromising security or health requirements, the government said.
Jane Philpott, Minister of Health and Chair, Ad Hoc Committee on Refugees, said: “One can only be amazed at how much work went into making this happen. I would like to recognize and thank our Canadian officials and public servants, our international partners, the United Nations Refugee Agency, the International Organization for Migration, the Red Cross, as well as the refugee host countries of Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. I would also like to thank the provinces and territories for all their work as they have been instrumental in providing the health services to Syrians refugees once they arrived in Canada. Corporate Canada has also been and will continue to be a key partner in this resettlement initiative and I would like to thank them for their generous donations and ongoing support.”
Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions and Member, Ad Hoc Committee on Refugees, said: “Welcoming 25,000 refugees in such a short period of time is a shining example of the welcoming spirit of Canadians who have taken on this initiative with open arms and open hearts. Throughout the country, we have seen communities – large and small – embrace newcomers as only Canadians could. This is making a tangible difference in the lives of so many.”
The government said that with the arrival of these refugees, attention now turns to helping them successfully integrate into Canadian society. Syrian refugees have gone to communities where there are settlement supports in place, with consideration given to whether they have family members in Canada, as well as the availability of schools, and housing. Privately sponsored refugees have gone to the community where their sponsor lives. In both cases, Syrian refugees will begin to access settlement services over the next few months including language classes; employment services such as help finding jobs; professional mentorship programs and workshops that focus on the requirements for building a successful life in Canada and fully integrating into Canadian society.
This significant achievement was made possible by the efforts of multiple organizations including federal departments and agencies, the United Nations Refugee Agency, the International Organization for Migration, other international partners, the governments of Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, provincial and municipal governments, private sponsors, service provider organizations, donations from Corporate Canada and with broad support and generosity from Canadians.
The government’s commitment to resettling Syrian refugees to Canada will continue in 2016 as both government-supported and privately sponsored Syrian refugees will continue to arrive on commercial flights in the months ahead. Approximately 8,500 more government-supported refugees are expected to arrive this year.