The Liberal federal government has plans to allow 10,000 more government-assisted Syrian refugees into Canada by the end of 2016, in addition to the 25,000 refugees that entered the country as of February 28.
Today’s federal budget reveals that $245 million will be spent over the next five years to help cover the costs of processing, transporting, and resettling the refugee intake target for the remainder of the year.
With the latest announcement, total spending on Syrian refugees could reach $1 billion – an increase from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s fall 2016 commitment of $678 million for the cost to bring in and accommodate the first 25,000 refugees.
By the end of the year, Canada will have as many as 35,000 Syrian refugees, a figure that does not include non-Syrian refugees from conflict zones elsewhere in the world. As of this week, 26,202 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the country.
The budget also established a new immigration target of 300,000 new permanent residents in 2016, representing a 7% increase over the previous year. To support this target, $56 million will be spent over three years to process new permanent residents and increase settlement programming. This is nearly double the $30 million cost of the same program in 2015.
Other areas of the government’s international engagement programs saw spending boosts as well. This includes $1.2 billion for development, stabilization, and humanitarian efforts in war-torn Iraq and Syria and $256 million for the International Assistance Envelope (IAE) over two years, pushing total assistance levels to over $5 billion annually by the 2017-18 budget.
Additionally, $585.5 million in unused funds from the IAE program will be diverted to support global peace and security programs.