November 24, 2015 – Ottawa, ON – The Government of Canada is taking immediate action to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada as quickly as possible, through a five-phase national plan. Canada can and will do more to help Syrian refugees who are desperately seeking safety, by offering them a new home.
The five phases are identifying Syrian refugees to come to Canada, selecting and processing Syrian refugees overseas, transportation to Canada, arrival and welcoming in Canada, and settlement and community integration. Protecting the safety, security, and health of Canadians and refugees is a key factor in guiding the Government of Canada’s actions throughout this initiative.
The government will identify all 25,000 refugees to come to Canada by December 31, 2015. Of those selected, the target is to have 10,000 Syrian refugees arrive in Canada by the end of this year, and the remainder to arrive by the end of February 2016.
We will ensure we are prepared to welcome these refugees properly in our communities, by continuing to work with provincial, territorial, municipal, and other partners. This timeframe will also allow for the completion of the immigration process overseas.
It is important that Canada respond and demonstrate clear action. To meet this commitment, the government will work with the governments of Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, along with international and Canadian partners.
Canada will be working closely with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to identify registered Syrian refugees who can be resettled. Canada’s focus will be on identifying vulnerable refugees who are a lower security risk. Robust health and security screening will be completed overseas. This will include the collection of biographic information and biometric screening of all refugees, verified against databases.
The government also has several thousand applications in processing for privately sponsored refugees (PSRs) under way, and these will be included as part of the commitment. The majority of these will be finalized in the coming weeks. These refugees will be admitted into Canada, in either Montreal or Toronto, and then continue directly on to their destination community.
Resettling 25,000 refugees to Canada is a national effort that will require significant coordination and support. The Government of Canada is working with other orders of government, non-governmental organizations, partners and Canadians across the country to help ensure successful integration of Syrian refugees into their new host communities, where they will begin to build their new lives in Canada.
The government’s commitment to bringing in Syrian refugees will continue in 2016. Given the current initiative includes privately sponsored refugees, this will include taking in more government-assisted refugees (GARs) to reach a total target of 25,000 GARs.
Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, Canada has contributed more than $800 million to support stabilization efforts, provide development assistance, contribute to humanitarian efforts, and enhance security.