The federal government announced the Syrian refugee resettlement plan today, and they’ve pushed back the deadline from December to February 2016.
Instead of accepting 25,000 refugees by the end of the year, Canada will now accept 10,000, with the remaining 15,000 to come at the start of next year.
The federal government is working with the governments of Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan to meet their commitment.
The refugees will be distributed through 36 cities across the country and will largely focus on lower-risk, vulnerable individuals. The United Nations Refugee Agency will help identify appropriate candidates through processes that involves “biometric screening” as well as biographical information, verified against databases.
The immigration process will be completed overseas.
The plan will cost up to $678 million over a period of six years. The federal government has already poured $800 million into stabilization and humanitarian efforts in Syria.
“Across the country, Canadians have been saying that we should do more to help Syrian refugees. We must do more and we are. All Canadians will need to join together in welcoming and lending their support to this community in need,” Minister of Immigration John McCallum said in a statement.
Several thousand privately sponsored refugees will be included, the majority of which will be finalized in the coming weeks. They’ll be admitted to Montreal or Toronto and then continue onto their destination within Canada.
Special preference will be given to vulnerable families, women, and LGBT individuals.
More than 3,000 Syrian refugees have already arrived in Canada since January 2014.
Locally, an outpouring of support has come from various communities within Vancouver. Owner of development company Westbank Corp Ian Gillespie has offered up 12 empty apartment units for Syrian refugees to use as temporary housing when they land in the city.
The apartment units will be fully furnished and will be used as temporary two week accommodation until the refugees find permanent housing, at which time another batch will arrive. They’ll be available for use for a minimum of four months.
A Vancouver Synagogue stepped up to the plate as well, raising $40,000 to privately sponsor a Syrian refugee family.