Some refugees coming to Canada are government-assisted and others are privately-sponsored. Support for them can vary greatly.

Some refugees coming to Canada are government-assisted and others are privately-sponsored. Support for them can vary greatly.
Photo Credit: Nathan Denette/Canadian Press

Some Syrian refugees face delays in settling

Some Syrian refugees are upset that they have been housed in hotels for longer than expected and not all are getting the same kinds of support. In Canada, there are asylum-seekers who are the responsibility of the government and others who are sponsored by private individuals, groups or non-profits.

Some services overwhelmed

Those who are privately-sponsored often have a large group of people offering them help to find housing, clothing, schools and to otherwise settle in to life in Canada. Some government-sponsored refugees are not getting the same level of help. Because the previous government cut back on funding for services over the last decade, settlement services are now sometimes overwhelmed.

There are many Canadians who still are offering to help, and there have been suggestions that if the government is unable to keep up, that their refugees should be turned over to private groups who want to help. That is a bad idea, in the view of Janet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees.

‘Important the government take on its commitment’

“The private sponsors are supposed to be additional and supplementary to government-assisted levels. From our perspective it’s very important that the government do take on its commitment and be faithful to it…

“The other concern is that we may lose the additional numbers that private sponsors can take on. Because if the private sponsors take on the government-assisted ones, then maybe they’re not available to bring on additional numbers of refugees,” says Dench.


More help for family members requested

A new program was launched last week to help Syrian refugees who have family already in Canada. The Syrian Family Links initiative is designed to match them with private groups who are looking for refugees to sponsor.

Dench says the program is good, but it would also like to see Syrians who have been accepted in the refugee claim process have the right to include immediate family members in their application. As it now stands they face long delays before they become permanent residents and are able to bring family members to Canada.

Categories: Immigration & Refugees, Society
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