Ontario wants Ottawa to connect gov't refugees with private sponsors

TORONTO -- Ontario is suggesting that a backlog of refugees in temporary housing could be cleared by pairing them up with private sponsors who have yet to receive families.

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Premier Kathleen Wynne says her government has advocated to Ottawa for "making connections" between the government-assisted refugees and sponsors who are "ready and willing" to accept them.

The influx of Syrian refugee arrivals has forced agencies in three cities to request a break in the action to hire extra staff and find permanent homes for those who have already arrived before any more are cleared to come to Canada.

The federal government says the flow will not be slowing down, but refugees who were bound for Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa will now remain in hotels for a few extra days.

Wynne says there are private sponsors and groups ready to take refugees but who haven't had people identified for them, and at the same time there are refugees sitting in hotels without access to housing and supports, so those connections should be made.

As of Jan. 19, 11,866 Syrians in total have arrived in Canada, of which 6,456 are government-assisted, 4,664 privately sponsored and 746 a blend of the two programs.



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