Syrian Refugees Flood into Toronto
Welcoming 25,000 Syrian refugees before the February 29th deadline was an undeniably big achievement for everyone involved and for Canada as a whole. The story of the refugees, however, doesn’t end there. What is currently happening to the 10,000 privately sponsored refugees?
Internationally, the pressure is on to welcome as many refugees as possible, as fast as possible. As reported by the Globe and Mail, “Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, is desperate to have countries urgently resettle 480,000 Syrian refugees.”
Since last November, Canada has already welcomed more than the expected 25,000 refugees and had nearly reached just over 26,000 (a mix of privately and publicly sponsored refugees) on March 28th (CBC News). This is thanks to Immigration Minister John McCallum.
However, there is a problem with the government’s current migratory effort. Once the government met the 25,000 refugee goal, offshore processing centres (Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan) quietly closed. These efforts along with charter flights are no longer available for privately sponsored families. Mr. McCallum announced earlier this year that applications submitted after February 29th wouldn’t be seeing their sponsored family before early 2017 (The Globe and Mail).
He later extended the deadline to March 31st due to the fact that many sponsors were unhappy with the current state of migratory efforts. In fact, Thomas Vincent, one of the many Collingwood sponsors, said that “there’s a total lack of transparency” when it comes to private sponsors (CBC News).
Spokeswoman Jennifer Bourque said on behalf of McCallum and the department of immigrations, “We know refugees and sponsors are disappointed that expedited processing is not continuing, but the accelerated pace of recent months could not be sustained indefinitely” (CBC News).