Jim Metcalfe – Director of Immigration: The goal posts have moved a bit on the timeline of bringing Syrian refugees to Canada. John McCallum, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Refugees, has announced that Canada will still take in at least 25,000 refugees. However, the December 31st, 2015, deadline is off the table:
The Liberal government says Canada will complete the resettlement of 25,000 Syrian refugees two months later than anticipated, conceding that such a massive program could not be carried out with 37 days left until the end of the year.
The government announced on Tuesday it will identify all 25,000 refugees by its self-imposed deadline of Dec. 31, 2015, but only 10,000 will arrive by year’s end. The rest will arrive by March 2016.
“They will include a mix of privately sponsored and government assisted refugees,” said Health Minister Jane Philpott in Ottawa on Tuesday.
Although down from the 25,000 refugees by December that the Liberals promised during their election campaign, I believe this is a very good amendment to a very complex situation.
Moving even 10,000 people to Canada at the start of winter is a daunting task. I don’t think anybody should criticize the government for taking a much more measured approach to the situation.
Private Sponsorship of Refugees
It should be noted that most of the initial refugees will not be government-sponsored refugees. Rather, they will be sponsored by the private sector, meaning individuals and groups will be taking on the responsibility to house and settle them. The ensuing wave in 2016 will mostly be government-sponsored refugees. In this regard, the government plans to move 15,000 people by the end of February, 2016, to Canada.
We will post more developments as they happen.