The federal Liberal government will consider reforming a loan program that requires refugees to cover the hefty cost of their flights to Canada, Immigration Minister John McCallum said Friday.
Both the United Nations and Red Cross say they were caught somewhat off-guard by the news Tuesday that the original year-end deadline for the program has been tossed aside, along with a plan to process refugees both overseas and in Canada.
A day after his government revealed its hotly debated plans for bringing 25,000 refugees to Canada from the devastating, years-long civil war in Syria, Trudeau made an impassioned and highly political appeal that plumbed numerous themes of the October election that vaulted his Liberals to power. The bulk of refugees are expected to come from Jordan and Lebanon, with Canada agreeing to take refugees of all faiths.
Among them, they have 3.9 million Syrian refugees now living in camps, informal settlements, on the streets and in crowded apartments, with the governments of each country straining under the demands.
The government will now bring in 10,000 Syrian refugees by December 31 and an additional 15,000 by the end of February. With over four million Syrian refugees in the region, I hope more countries will follow Canada’s example, and not only help us address the enormous needs in the neighbouring states but provide more opportunities for refugees to find safety elsewhere.
Canada’s funding announcement coincides with its humanitarian programme to transfer of 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of February 2016 for which UNHCR has also expressed strong support.
The Canadian government is set to spend $450 million settling in the refugees, says the Wall Street Journal.
Canadians wishing to support families as they transition to their new lives in Canada are encouraged to make a financial donation to the Syrian Refugee Arrival Appeal.
The government is also giving the United Nations in those countries, as well as in Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Europe, money to help deal more broadly with the effect of the refugee crisis in those countries.
Bibeau said that since the Syrian crisis began, Canada had committed over C$969 million in funds for humanitarian assistance, development projects and security and stability initiatives.
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