Canada welcomes Syrian refugees
DIPLOMATIC POUCH - Neil Reeder (The Philippine Star) - January 13, 2016 - 9:00am

Both Canada and the Philippines share a long history of opening our doors to refugees seeking asylum and extending humanitarian efforts to receive them. Canada has been deeply appreciative of the Philippines’ efforts to assist refugees in the regional context, and indeed some of the refugees that have settled in Canada in the past, came through the Philippines.

And just like the Philippines, resettling refugees is a proud and important part of Canada’s humanitarian tradition. It reflects our shared commitment to the world, that both our countries have a responsibility to reach out and help those who are displaced and persecuted.

As millions of Syrians continue to be displaced due to conflict in their country, the Government of Canada is welcoming 25,000 Syrian refugees to our country through a five-phase national plan. This includes identifying Syrian refugees to come to Canada, selecting and processing them overseas, transportation to Canada, arrival and welcoming in Canada, and settlement and community integration.

At the same time, protecting the safety, security, and health of Canadians and the refugees is a key factor in guiding the Government of Canada’s actions throughout this initiative. 

We continue to work with our partners to meet this commitment – the governments of Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, along with international organizations.  Canada is working closely with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to identify registered Syrian refugees who can be resettled.  Canada’s focus is on identifying vulnerable refugees who are a lower security risk.  This includes the collection of biographic information and biometric screening of all refugees, verified against databases.

Resettling 25,000 refugees is a national effort that requires significant coordination and support. Our federal government is working with our provincial and municipal governments, non-governmental organizations, and Canadians across the country to help ensure successful integration of Syrian refugees into some 85 host communities, where they will begin to build their new lives.    

Welcoming people who want nothing more than to build better lives for themselves and their families also offers significant long-term economic opportunities to Canada. These refugees will over time contribute to our nation’s prosperity, as Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said while in Manila for the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in November. 

Canada is helping the international community deal with this traumatic humanitarian crisis in other ways – since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, we have contributed more than Cad$900 million to support stabilization efforts, provide development and humanitarian assistance, and enhance security.  Our most recent announcement was the provision of Cad$100 million to the UNHCR  to provide shelter, protection, education and health for those affected.  This will also help alleviate some of the pressure on neighbouring countries in dealing with the tremendous influx of refugees.

Our government has also launched the Syria Emergency Relief Fund.  For every eligible dollar donated by individual Canadians to registered Canadian charities, the government will match these contributions by providing support to experienced international humanitarian organizations working on the ground in Syria using effective and established channels.  The success of this initiative is the work of the combined effort of individual Canadians and the generosity of Canadian businesses.

*      *      *

Neil Reeder is Canada’s ambassador to the Philippines.

 

ACIRC BOTH CANADA AND THE PHILIPPINES CANADA ECONOMIC LEADERS MEETING GOVERNMENT OF CANADA NBSP NEIL REEDER PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU REFUGEES SYRIA EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND UNITED NATIONS REFUGEE AGENCY
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