Ottawa won't say how many privately-sponsored Syrian refugees Canada will take

OTTAWA -- Through pub nights, crowd funding websites, church suppers and craft bazaars, thousands of Canadians are currently trying to raise money to sponsor a Syrian refugee.

See Full Article

But it remains an open question just how many privately sponsored Syrian refugees Canada will end up accepting.

The ongoing Liberal refugee resettlement program aims to bring 25,000 Syrians to Canada by the end of next month, with original plans for about 10,000 of them to be privately sponsored.

But newly released government information shows that by the middle of last December, the government didn't even have that many private applications in hand.

Data tabled in the House of Commons in response to a question from the NDP shows that between January 1, 2015, and Dec. 15, 2015, applications were submitted to sponsor 8,214 people.

There was a spike of 551 applications last October -- one month after a photograph of a dead Syrian child shone a spotlight on the plight of the 4.6 million people seeking refugee from the violence in Syria.

The ensuing national debate on whether Canada was doing enough shone drew many Canadians to the government's private sponsorship program, among them Devon Klaas of Toronto.

Through Facebook, Klaas found seven others willing to band together to sponsor a refugee. They've raised the money and now they're working to find a family to support.

"It could be months from now, but it could also be next week," she said.

According to the data, processing times for privately sponsored applications averaged about 10 months last year.

While the Liberals say they remain committed to bringing in 25,000 government assisted refugees by the end of this year, they've not actually set a firm number for how many privately sponsored ones they will accept.

"The final number of privately sponsored Syrian refugees that will be resettled to Canada will depend in part on the number of private sponsors that express an interest in sponsoring, and on the 2016 Immigration Levels Plan that is expected to be tabled in the coming weeks," the Citizenship and Immigration department said.

NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan, who asked the government for the data released this week, said part of the issue is how the privately sponsored program is structured.

Rather than relying on UN lists or cases identified by private groups, the government should reach out to the Syrians already here, Kwan said.

"If the families could make applications here and say, 'This is the family, this is where they are,' and for that to be a match, that would assist the government to reach their numbers."

The Liberals did unveil a similar program this week that seeks to pair Syrians in Canada with sponsorship groups seeking people to help.

For groups like the one organized by Klaas, the waiting game is hard.

"It has been discouraging for us because we've been ready to go for a few months. We want to help," she said. "But we still meet, we're still constantly talking to each other."

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne suggested this week that private sponsors could take in government-assisted refugees already in Canada, but still waiting for permanent housing, leaving them stuck in hotels.

As of Jan. 26, 14,003 Syrians have arrived in Canada since Nov. 4. Of that, 8,004 government assisted, 5,112 privately sponsored and 887 as part of a program that blends the two. A further 5,886 Syrians have been approved to come to Canada, but have not yet arrived.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Firefighters make progress against California wildfire as wind threatens to stoke flames

    World News CBC News
    Firefighters battling a blaze in a Southern California canyon made some progress toward containment but were up against more high winds and low humidity on Friday, which threatened to stoke the flames that forced thousands to evacuate. Source
  • India accuses Trudeau of encouraging 'extremist activities' with his remarks on farmers' protests

    World News CBC News
    India has accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of inciting "extremist activities" and warns that his remarks about farmers' protests could harm relations between the two countries. In a statement issued by the office of India's minister of external affairs today, the Indian government said the Canadian high commissioner was summoned and told that comments by Trudeau, some of his cabinet ministers and MPs raising concerns about New Delhi's response to protesting Indian farmers "constitute an…
  • Palestinians: West Bank teen wounded by Israeli gunfire dies

    World News CTV News
    RAMALLAH, PALESTINIAN TERRITORY -- A 13-year-old Palestinian died on Friday after being shot by Israeli troops during clashes with a stone-throwing crowd in the occupied West Bank, the official Palestinian news agency reported. The Palestinian Health Ministry said Ali Abu Alia was hit in the stomach and died later at a hospital. Source
  • Reports: Mayor of U.K.'s Liverpool arrested in fraud probe

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- The mayor of the English city of Liverpool was arrested Friday over allegations of fraud in building and development contracts, local media said. The Liverpool Echo reported that Joe Anderson was one of five men arrested by detectives as part of an ongoing investigation. Source
  • Toronto, Peel Region toughen COVID-19 rules that would force students to stay home

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Toronto and Peel Region have made a major change to the list of COVID-19 symptoms that would force children to stay home from school and child-care. Starting Dec. 7, Toronto Public Health and Peel Public Health will require that all students with one or more symptoms of COVID-19 stay home and get tested for the disease. Source
  • 'They don't give a damn about us': Quebecers with disabilities say they can't get a basic COVID-19 service

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Quebec public health authorities are facing a troubling accusation—that they haven't made it possible for a huge number of citizens to get the most basic COVID-19 care, a test. The province's critics are also furious that it hasn't answered for itself, despite repeated requests, since March. Source
  • Ontario moving three regions into new COVID-19 level, forcing tougher restrictions

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Ontario is moving three regions into new COVID-19 levels starting on Monday, forcing tougher restrictions on businesses and residents in parts of the province. Middlesex-London Health Unit and Thunder Bay District Health Unit will move to Orange-Restrict while Halliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit are moving to Yellow-Protect on Dec. Source
  • Bahrain now 2nd nation to grant Pfizer shot emergency use

    World News CTV News
    DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES -- The island kingdom of Bahrain said Friday it has become the second nation in the world to grant an emergency-use authorization for the coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech. Source
  • NHL considering mid-January start, 56-game season: reports

    Canada News CBC News
    The NHL is now considering a mid-January start date for an abbreviated 56-game regular season, multiple outlets reported Friday. The league and NHL Players' Association discussed multiple options for the upcoming campaign Thursday night. The Jan. Source
  • NHL now focusing on mid-January season start date: reports

    Canada News CBC News
    The NHL is now considering a mid-January start date for an abbreviated 56-game regular season, multiple outlets reported Friday. The league and NHL Players' Association discussed multiple options for the upcoming campaign Thursday night. The Jan. Source