Is Canada Doing Enough?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rode into office atop many promises, including one to bring an additional 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada’s population by the end of the year. Already, within a month, this has changed.

The government has now said they will identify all 25,000 refugees who are coming into Canada by the end of December, but only 10,000 will enter the country by the original deadline. The remaining 15, 000 refugees are expected to arrive by the end of February, 2016.

Dealing with such a large population of refugees has become a massive group effort by many countries to relocate over 4 million people. Germany is currently the largest recipient of asylum applicants and is providing residence to more than 243,721 Syrian citizens as of October 2015. Germany hopes to welcome 800, 000 asylum applicants by the end of the year.

Proportionally, including the 346 refugees that Canada has already invited into the country, by the end of the year, Canada will have taken in approximately 0.0004% of its 35 million population. In comparison, Sweden, with a population of 9.5 million and its total of 78,000 refugees, is proportionally taking on approximately 11 times more refugees than Canada.

Of course there are issues that arise when taking in such large numbers of refugees. There needs to be a system in place to properly support the large influx of people. It is important that there is a stable infrastructure and system to help newcomers settle, as they have no home, job, and sometimes family.

Canada currently has refugee resettlement programs that encompass basic necessities for living. This program is called Canada’s Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP). Once individuals and families are selected and have arrived in Canada, RAP will provide them with basic income for basic needs such as food and housing. Other services are also provided to help the new immigrants integrate with society: basic language training, job searches, and information on federal programs.

Local efforts throughout Canada are raising money to sponsor individual families. These efforts are in addition to government programs to sponsor refugees. WCI is currently involved in a local effort to sponsor a refugee family and is in the process of trying to raise money towards a goal of $30,000.