Ottawa: The Government of Canada and the Anglican Church celebrated a joint agreement under which approximately 50 refugee families have been brought to this country from countries such as Afghanistan, Somalia and Iran.
“Canada has a long and proud tradition of providing a safe haven to those around the world most in need of protection,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.
“Volunteer groups such as the Anglican Church have played an integral role in helping refugees come to and settle in Canada. I strongly encourage groups to come together to sponsor refugees and help provide a new secure beginning for victims of persecution from around the world.”
The agreement has allowed approximately 150 refugees to be brought to Canada by Anglican dioceses that hold sponsorship agreements with the Government.
The families were selected by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and referred to Canada for resettlement. This initiative, which was launched in April 2009, was part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund established by the Anglican Church.
The fund is the Church’s agency for relief, development and supporting refugees, and works with dioceses that sponsor refugee families to come to Canada.
“The Refugees Project, featuring a theme of ‘In Faith, Join Hands, Inspire Hope,’ was one of the most exciting initiatives associated with the 50th anniversary of the Fund,” said Archbishop and Primate Fred Hiltz.
“I thank all those who in faith joined hands to welcome the refugees they sponsored and to support them in their settlement in Canada. I pray that our ongoing commitment to accompany them will inspire hope for their future.”
The refugee families came from a number of different areas around the world: Afghanistan, Burma (Myanmar), Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan.
The Government of Canada is increasing by 20 percent the number of refugees who are resettled from refugee camps and urban slums. The number of refugees resettled through the Government-Assisted Refugees Program will be increased over time by up to 500, and a further 2,000 resettlement places will be added to the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program.
Since 1978, private sponsors have collectively brought more than 200,000 refugees to Canada, over and above the refugees resettled with government funding.