SEATTLE — More than 27,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada since November 2015. The Government of Canada has resettled 25,000 of those refugees between November 2015 and 2016. Canada has committed almost $1 billion in humanitarian, development and security assistance in response to the Syria crisis.
In September 2015, the Government of Canada launched the Syria Emergency Relief Fund to support humanitarian relief efforts. Every dollar donated by individual Canadians between September 2015 and February 2016 was set aside in the fund. In total, Canadians donated $31.8 million.
The Government of Canada not only provides protection for Syrian refugees but also protects the health and safety of Canadians. The federal government has given close to $700 million to resettle the refugees in a five-phase process.
Working with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Canada identified Syrian refugees and scheduled them for processing at visa offices in Amman and Beirut. Starting in December 2015, refugees flew to Canada on government-chartered aircraft and commercial flights. When they arrived in Canada, Border Service Officers verified refugee identities, processed and admitted them to Canada. Refugees were also screened and treated for illnesses.
Three corporations, Manulife, CN and General Motors, are contributing $750,000 to a new pilot program called the Welcome Fund for Syrian Refugees that will help the 25,000 government-sponsored Syrian refugees pay for the rental units they have found in Toronto, Canada.
The Community Foundations of Canada said the funds will help refugees stay in permanent housing and will bridge the gap between the amount they receive from the government and the actual cost for rent. The money will help Syrian refugees for six to 12 months.
For more than 35 years, the World University of Canada (WUSC) has been helping young men and women in refugee camps resettle in Canada to attend universities and colleges through its Student Refugee Program (SRP). The SRP provides hope, resources and access to education. With the help of 65 campus partners, WUSC has placed 86 refugee students, 10 of whom are from Syria, to campuses across Canada.
In 2015, three Syrian-Canadians launched the Refugee Career Jumpstart Project (RCJP) to bridge the gap between Syrian refugee arrival and employment. It is a non-profit organization focused on helping newly settled Syrian refugees start new careers in Canada. Organizers partnered with private language academies to compile job-skill profiles for refugees. Thus far, three language academies have offered 40 scholarships worth $400,000 to refugees.
Setting the bar high for refugee aid, Canada is providing Syrian refugees with essential services and long-term support to ensure that they settle and integrate successfully into Canadian society.
– Jackie Venuti