GUELPH — A major effort is underway to bring 50 Syrian refugee families to Guelph in the coming weeks, a community-wide operation involving several faith groups, businesses, and social agencies. The entire effort is being backed financially by one Guelph entrepreneur.
Jim Estill, president and chief executive officer of Danby, is donating the cash to support those 50 families in their first year of settlement. Sponsors of Syrian refugee families are required to have $25,000 to $30,000 per family ready to provide life essentials for an entire year. By this formula, Estill’s donation could total $1.5 million.
He confirmed his sponsorship on Tuesday, and said that supporting Syrian refugees is simply the right thing to do.
Thu, Nov 26: The Al Arid family arrived in Canada six months ago. They’re working hard as a family to adjust to their new life, after fleeing the civil war in Syria. But, they face some challenges in settling in. Robin Gill has their story.
Canada to contribute $100M to Syria, neighbouring countries for urgent humanitarian needs
Where they will go after arriving in Toronto or Montreal is linked to where there are organizations which can provide settlement services through contracts with the federal government.
Here is a list of destination communities provided by the Immigration Department:
St. John’s, N.L., Halifax, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, Saint John, N.B.
Quebec City, Trois-Rivieres, Victoriaville, Drummondville, Sherbrooke, Montreal, Gatineau, Laval, Saint-Jerome, Joliette, Sainte-Hyacinthe, Brossard, Granby.
Windsor, Ottawa, London, Toronto, Kitchener, Hamilton
Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Edmonton, Medicine Hat, Calgary, Red Deer, Lethbridge.
The Lower Mainland (No further details available).
© The Canadian Press, 2015
Concern about who Canada lets in as part of its commitment to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees here by year’s end rose after one of the terrorists in last week’s attacks in Paris apparently had a fake Syrian passport that he used to enter Europe.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and other federal Conservatives have called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to suspend his plan.
No one wants to import terrorists, probably least of all the nascent Liberal government. So it is reasonable to wonder whether Canada is doing, or will do, enough to ensure that.
But what Canada is proposing is different from the situation imposed on Western European countries with 700,000 Syrians and others flooding their borders to escape both armed conflict and horrible economies in their homelands.
What’s been muddled ever since Alan Kurdi’s tiny body was photographed on a Turkish beach is that there are two distinct groups of people that Canada (and other countries) accept. There are refugees and asylum-seekers, two very different categories created by the 1951 United Nations’ Refugee Convention.
A refugee is someone who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”
As of Nov. 3, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees had registered 4,287,293 Syrians who meet that definition.
The original goal had been to begin the airlift by Thursday of this week, but as no charter aircraft have been booked yet, it would now be at least one more week before flights got underway, one of the officials said. When the flights reach their peak next month, about 1,000 refugees will be arriving in Canada every day.
The officials did not want to be identified because diplomats and immigration officers have been told by Ottawa not to speak about the matter, with all requests referred to the government.
“Unfortunately I have nothing to say to you at the moment,” Immigration Canada spokesman Jean-Bruno Villeneuve said in an email from Ottawa, adding that he was unable to confirm any details about the resettlement program.
Community groups in B.C. cities such as Kelowna and Kamloops say they are ready to take in Syrian newcomers, but the man in charge of settling the province’s government-assisted refugees says any push to send too many new arrivals outside Metro Vancouver could backfire.
There is already a Syrian family living in Kelowna and another in Summerland, said Marilyn Perry, chair of the Central Okanagan Refugee Committee, based out of Kelowna’s First United Church. The group is applying to sponsor a second family.
“Kelowna is a good spot because we have a mosque here, and 90 per cent of the people in Syria are Muslims,” Perry said. “We have good ESL here. The folks at the mosque, because their worship is in Arabic, they can provide us with translators and they’ve done that, and that’s been a good connection in many different ways.”