[PSRList] [CCRLIST] article: Quiet changes to Syrian private sponsorship program create confusion

sylvain tibo sylvaintibo at gmail.com
Fri Mar 25 17:44:11 EDT 2016

Bonjour listmate,

What shall we think about this news?

Message envoyé depuis un téléphone intelligent.
---------- Message transféré ----------
De : "Janet Dench" <jdench at ccrweb.ca>
Date : 2016-03-24 21:29
Objet : [CCRLIST] article: Quiet changes to Syrian private sponsorship
program create confusion
À : <CCRLIST at yorku.ca>
Cc :

Quiet changes to Syrian private sponsorship program create confusion
Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, March 24, 2016 3:23PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, March 24, 2016 5:36PM EDT

OTTAWA - Hundreds of Canadians who've come together to sponsor Syrian
refugees are being told it could be next year before their new charges
arrive, after a series of changes to the Liberals' resettlement program.

The original goal of bringing in 25,000 refugees has been met, but the next
step is unclear.

Caps on applications this year, a decrease in staff handling those and the
return of a controversial travel-loan program are all prompting questions
about what is going on with a program that once was priority one for the
Liberal government.

"I think everybody assumed that the government was really interested in
doing something serious about Syrian refugees and the 25,000 was just the
start of it," said former Toronto mayor John Sewell, who is part of a
network of private sponsors which plans to hold an emergency meeting next
week on the situation.

"It's as though the government has just said, oh well, there's the promise,
it's all over."

The changes essentially reverse much of what the previous Conservative
government and then the Liberals did to respond to a surge in demand last
fall for Canada to bring in more Syrians.

Staffing increases in the central processing office in Winnipeg and at
missions overseas was the first step taken by the Tories and increased
further when the Liberals took office, but they have now been cut back.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was pressed on the issue Thursday but
wouldn't directly address the cuts.

"We continue to be engaged with the issue of Syrian refugees, making it a
priority to continue to show that Canada is a strong and welcoming
country," he said.

In the Toronto area alone, upwards of 600 groups have spent months raising
money, finding apartments and gathering supplies.

Some are being told it will be more than eight months before the family
they are sponsoring arrives, while others hear that if they've not yet been
matched with a family it's unlikely they'll see anyone before 2017.

"There is so much conflicting information floating around," said Allison
Murray, who has been working with a group of Toronto residents since the
fall to put together the funds to sponsor a family.

"Our group is trying to be patient."

It's never been clear exactly how many privately sponsored Syrians would be
accepted. There had been no caps on applications under the Conservatives or
in the early part of the Liberal program.

As of March 14, there were 6,641 private cases in the inventory. Groups
have been notified a cap will be placed on the number of applications
accepted - as has been the custom for other refugee populations in recent
years - but aren't sure yet what it is.

Immigration Minister John McCallum said he is aware the enthusiasm to
support Syrians won't last forever

"We want to create the conditions where Canadians are able and as quickly
as possible to sponsor those refugees," he said.

Arrivals of refugees have slowed considerably since the government stopped
running its own flights.

Between Feb. 27 and March 8, 600 new government-assisted refugees and 433
privately sponsored arrived. In the 12 days after, only nine
government-assisted refugees and 16 privately sponsored arrived. Only one
person who is part of a program that blends the two streams arrived in that

While the government is still covering the flight costs for
government-assisted refugees, they've stopped doing so for privately
sponsored ones who've yet to be interviewed. They will now either be forced
to take out a government loan or have their sponsors pay the fare.

The loan program was slammed in a government evaluation for placing an
unfair burden on new arrivals. McCallum had promised it was under review.


Janet Dench
Proud to protect refugees | Fière de protéger les réfugiés
Canadian Council for Refugees
Conseil canadien pour les réfugiés
6839 Drolet #301
Montréal, Québec, H2S 2T1
514-277-7223 (x 2)
jdench at ccrweb.ca

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