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An Update on Canada’s Plan for Syrian Refugees

The province of Quebec has taken on a hugely impressive role in the support of Syrian refugees. John McCallum, Canada’s new immigration minister, has reiterated the Canadian government’s aim to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees to the country by the end of 2015.

While this is an impressionable task to be undertaking, there has been much speculation around what will actually happen when the refugees arrive as far as housing, feeding, clothing, teaching, and even healing (Montreal Gazette). Generally, the governments in Quebec have strongly favoured privately sponsored refugees (i.e. family members or community organizations assume responsibility and expenses) over state-sponsored refugees (a case in which the sate pays). This opinion is mostly supported by the fact that so many refugees will be immigrating; 6,000 refugees alone will be welcomed into the province of Quebec (Montreal Gazette).

Currently, McCallum and his department are working non-stop with many different departmeents including national defense, public safety and health to set forward a plan for transporting the refugees and for what will be set in place once they arrive. Some steps in the plan include determining an overseas selection process, determining who meets the definition of a refugee, and planning security checks. That being said, the biggest concern is providing substantial resources for resettlement in the short amount of time there is until the end of the year. This is due to the fact that housing, education and language training take, on average, about a year. As far as what has been promised for once refugees are settled in Canada, a major goal is to fully restore all health benefits to the refugees (CBC).

While there will be much more work for the Canadian government to do in solidifying a plan for taking in Syrian refugees, they are most surely off to a good start.


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