Overseas operations shrinking for Syrian refugee resettlement as deadline nears

OTTAWA -- Overseas operations launched last year as part of the Liberal government's Syrian refugee resettlement program are winding down as the target date nears for the resettlement of 25,000 people.

See Full Article

The processing centre for security, health and identification checks in Turkey has now closed, one in Lebanon closes this week and the one in Jordan is not far behind as officials expect 25,000 Syrians to be in Canada by Monday.

"The last few months have been something unique and totally different from anything the government has ever done," Immigration Minister John McCallum said Wednesday.

"And so now it will be more, after the end of the month, still a very quick pace but nothing like the speed of what we've done."

However, the Immigration Department has not yet officially told the Canadian military to take down the preparations they've made to potentially house thousands of refugees at bases in Quebec and Ontario while they await permanent housing.

"We continue to stand by, if needed," said Evan Koronewski, a spokesperson for the Department of National Defence.

Finding both temporary and permanent housing for the 23,000 Syrians who have landed in Canada as of late Tuesday has been the most immediate challenge for the Liberals' resettlement program.

The potential that some would be housed briefly at military bases was part of the program when it was rolled out last fall, and six were designated at sites for that purpose.

While just a few weeks ago, officials had been near-certain they'd have to use at least two, they stepped up efforts to find enough hotels rather than have to use the bases.

Over the weekend, hundreds of people were moved out of hotels in Toronto and Montreal where they'd been staying for weeks as the federal government managed to find space in their eventual destination cities.

More cities have also been designated as reception centres for government-assisted refugees.

On Wednesday, the government announced Leamington, Ont., Peterborough, Ont., and Brooks, Alta. will all now receive government funding in order to assist Syrians to settle in those three centres, bringing the total number of cities taking in government-assisted refugees to 27.

About 52 per cent of the refugees who've arrived to date in total have found permanent housing.

"It's normal that it doesn't happen overnight," McCallum said of the move into permanent homes, adding he is "almost certain" military bases will not end up being used.

One benefit of not needing to use them is that it will save money, McCallum said. The government has budgeted $678 million for the resettlement program.

Follow ?åòStephanieLevitz on Twitter



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Deaths of doctors, nurses highlight virus risks they run

    World News CTV News
    ROME -- Air raid sirens sounded across China and flags flew at half staff in a tribute Saturday to victims of the coronavirus pandemic including the health care "martyrs" who have died while fighting to save others. Source
  • Trump fires watchdog who handled complaint that triggered impeachment

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump has fired the intelligence watchdog who handled the complaint that triggered his impeachment. Trump informed the Senate intelligence committee Friday of his decision to fire Michael Atkinson, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press. Source
  • Trump fires watchdog who handled whistleblower complaint that triggered impeachment

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump has fired the intelligence watchdog who handled the complaint that triggered his impeachment. Trump informed the Senate intelligence committee Friday of his decision to fire Michael Atkinson, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press. Source
  • Another member of fire panel resigns, criticizes PG&E plan

    World News CTV News
    BERKELEY, CALIF. -- The former chief financial officer for a Northern California city destroyed in a 2018 wildfire caused by Pacific Gas & Electric equipment is trying to upend the utility's plan for getting out of bankruptcy because she believes the company is shortchanging the people devastated by its misconduct. Source
  • Alberta health minister used confidential information to call protesting doctors

    Canada News CBC News
    When Dr. John Julyan-Gudgeon went to a hospital event to protest health-care cuts, he didn't expect it to lead to an after-hours phone call on his personal cellphone from the health minister. But that's exactly what happened. The doctor attended a provincial funding announcement at the Red Deer Regional Hospital on Feb. Source
  • Judge demands FBI provide new details about its surveillance

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The chief judge of a secretive national security court demanded Friday that the FBI provide him with details about some of its investigations after the Justice Department inspector general identified problems with more than two dozen wiretap applications. Source
  • Major credit card companies raise tap limit to $250 to help cut spread of COVID-19

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Major credit card companies have increased their tap limit to $250 to help customers who want to make less physical contact while shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic. MasterCard and Visa raised the tap limits from $100 to $250 and the Retail Council of Canada is hoping that Interac will soon follow. Source
  • 'Always new expenses': Lawsuits filed as anniversary of Broncos bus crash nears

    Canada News CBC News
    It's been almost two years since the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash in Saskatchewan and with the solemn anniversary comes a closing legal window that has seen several lawsuits filed in court. Sixteen people died and 13 others were injured after a transport truck barrelled through a stop sign and into the path of the bus carrying the junior hockey team on April 6, 2018. Source
  • Ontario premier slams Donald Trump's decision to cease exports of N95 masks to Canada

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Ontario Premier Doug Ford has slammed United States President Donald Trump's decision to cease exports of manufacturing giant 3M's N95 face masks to Canada. "I just can't stress how disappointed I am at President Trump for making this decision," Ford said at Queen’s Park on Friday. Source
  • Relatives of the Kennedy family reported missing after canoe ride in Maryland

    World News CTV News
    Authorities were searching Friday for the daughter and a grandson of former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend after a canoe they were paddling in the Chesapeake Bay didn't return to shore. Gov. Larry Hogan identified the missing relatives as Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, and McKean's 8-year-old son, Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean. Source