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

  • Early agreement reached in dispute over Suez Canal ship

    World News CTV News
    CAIRO -- The owners and insurers of the giant container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week earlier this year have reached an agreement in principle over their dispute with canal authorities, representatives from both sides said Wednesday. Source
  • Canadian women's soccer team wants to climb further up the Olympic podium

    Canada News CBC News
    With the official announcement of the Canadian women's Olympic soccer roster revealed by Canadian coach Bev Priestman Wednesday, the team can now concentrate on a loftier goal. Winners of back-to-back bronze medals, the Canadian players have aspirations of reaching the medal podium for an unprecedented third consecutive time at the Tokyo Olympics. Source
  • Israel's new government OKs first settlement construction

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM -- An Israeli defense ministry body advanced plans for 31 West Bank settlement construction projects Wednesday, the first such move under the country's new government. The plans approved by the Civil Administration include a shopping center, a special needs school and a number of infrastructure projects and zoning changes in existing West Bank settlements, Israeli media reported. Source
  • About 50 people forced from their homes as wildfire west of Edmonton keeps growing

    Canada News CBC News
    A wildfire west of Edmonton that triggered evacuation orders in parts of Yellowhead County on Tuesday continues to burn out of control and is expected to keep growing. "We do expect fire activity to pick up today as temperatures rise," Josee St-Onge, a provincial wildfire information officer said in an interview Wednesday. Source
  • Watchdog calls rate of child sexual abuse in Nunavut a crisis

    Canada News CTV News
    Nunavut's representative for children and youth says the territory's high rate of child sexual abuse amounts to a crisis. Jane Bates testified this week before legislature members to discuss her office's 2019-2020 annual report. Source
  • Nearly $37 million needed to fix ‘critical’ deterioration at 24 Sussex Drive: NCC

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- It will cost $175 million over 10 years to restore Canada’s six official residences to good condition, according to a new report from the National Capital Commission. The homes—including the prime minister’s residence at 24 Sussex Drive—have deteriorated due to years of underfunding. Source
  • Japanese court says married couples must stick to single surname

    World News CBC News
    Japan's Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that laws requiring married couples to have the same surname are constitutional, dismissing a challenge by three couples seeking to keep separate names. The decision to affirm a 2015 Supreme Court ruling was a disappointment for rights activists who say the laws violate the constitution's guarantee of gender equality, since women almost always sacrifice their surnames. Source
  • Airstrike in Ethiopia's Tigray kills more than 50: witnesses

    World News CTV News
    NAIROBI, KENYA -- An airstrike hit a busy market in Ethiopia's northern Tigray village of Togoga on Tuesday and killed at least 51 people, according to health workers who said soldiers blocked medical teams from traveling to the scene. Source
  • 'It was a hoot': Owl with broken wing that was coaxed into a dog kennel set free in B.C. after recovery

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- An owl with a broken wing that was rescued by highway patrol officers last fall has been set free after its recovery. Last September, a BC Highway Patrol officer spotted an injured owl on Highway 7 near Ruby Creek between Agassiz and Hope. Source
  • Nova Scotia reports no new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday; active cases drop to 60

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, as well as 14 recoveries, as the active number of cases in the province drops to 60 - the lowest number of active cases reported in the province since April 18. Source