Canada welcomed its first 10,000 Syrian refugees, according to a statement by Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship John McCallum. Canada is expected to welcome 15,000 more refugees by the end of February.
Originally, the left-centre government pledged to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees in Canada, by the end of 2015 but later on the government changed its goals saying that 10,000 people in need will arrive in Canada by the end of the year and another 15,000 by the end of February. Today, McCallum said that the government reached the “significant milestone,” as “Canada has now welcomed more than 10,000 Syrian refugees.”
“Many people have worked day and night to bring these refugees to Canada – and Canadians have opened their communities and their hearts to welcome them,” McCallum said and added. “Canada continues to set an international example with its response to the worst refugee crisis of our time.”
McCallum and Health Minister Jane Philpott stressed that the government will promote integration programs which will help the new Canadian citizens, to properly integrate in the Canadian society.
However, Canadian The Globe and Mail reported that two weeks after arriving in Canada, some of the Syrian refugees are still stuck in limbo. Two weeks after arriving in Canada, some families continue to live in hotels and still await for an appointment with immigration officials to tell them where their new life is about to start.
Jenny Kwan, the New Democratic Party immigration critic, said the authorities need to ensure the resources are in place to make the integration process work. “They (Syrian refugees) are grateful to be here and they are eager to settle, to look for work and get their kids in school. But they are in limbo,” Kwan said.
McCallum said that the goal of the Canadian government is to move the new refugees into permanent housing as quickly as possible but “there may be some who stay longer than planned [in temporary housing].”
The Minister said that overall the resettlements plan “is going well, but the numbers are due to increase quite dramatically in coming weeks, and this will certainly be a challenge.”