McCallum 'confident' 25,000 Syrian refugees in Canada before March

Nearly 15,700 Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada since Nov. 4, still short of the 25,000 goal the federal government has set for the end of February.

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But Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum said Wednesday that the government is “confident” that 25,000 refugees will still arrive by Feb. 29.

According to the latest figures, 15,685 Syrian refugees have landed on Canadian soil as of Tuesday. Another 6,059 have had their applications approved, but have yet to travel to Canada. As of Jan. 31, there have been 57 government-organized flights to bring the refugees here.

McCallum also announced a new program, Syrian Family Links, which seeks to match Canadian families seeking to bring over relatives affected by the war in Syria with other Canadians who are willing to sponsor them.

The program has been up and running for a week. So far, the government has identified 157 families seeking reunification and only five private sponsors, McCallum said.

“Obviously there is an imbalance at this time,” he said, but added that publicizing the program should encourage more sponsors to come forward.



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