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Monday, November 23, 2015

Canada, Syrian and other refugees

While a much larger country to the south struggles with every aspect of immigration policy, in Canada, the foundations that have been laid of the years are far clearer. We are a country that embraces immigration (though the implementation may be slower than many would wish, and the Harper years were actually an anti-immigration period for the country in terms of policy).

There is a crisis in Syria and Europe and the world is being asked to play a role in helping those desperately in need of a new home.

The Government of Canada has made the following commitments related to refugees from Syria and all refugees in general:

  • expand Canada’s intake of refugees from Syria by 25,000 through immediate government sponsorship, and also work with private sponsors to accept even more;
  • fully restore the Interim Federal Health Program that provides limited and temporary health benefits to refugees and refugee claimants;
  • invest at least an additional $100 million this fiscal year to increase – without reducing standards – refugee processing as well as sponsorship and settlement services capacity in Canada; and,
  • provide an immediate, new $100 million contribution to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to support the critical relief activities in Syria and the surrounding area.
I am looking forward to seeing how well they implement these lofty goals. I am pleased to say we have ended the Harper era of anti-immigration policy.

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