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Statement from Minister Michael Chan on the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Archived Statement

Statement from Minister Michael Chan on the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration

With the Syrian refugee crisis escalating and tragedies mounting, Canadian leaders need to coordinate at all levels of government to help more Syrians enter Canada as refugees.

Ontario is ready and willing to accept more Syrian refugees and help them resettle here. This is why we provided funding to Lifeline Syria in April. Last Friday, were able to increase our support for the critical work it is doing by contributing an additional $300,000 in funding.

Additionally, the Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade will work to identify near-term actions we can take to support organizations and individuals who want to sponsor Syrian refugees and to best support refugees when they arrive here.

We are exploring ways to provide support to organizations who want to sponsor Syrian refugees as private sponsors. While Ontario cannot directly sponsor refugees, we will work with partners to identify how best to support those groups who are trying to bring Syrian refugees to Ontario, including a potential provincial fund to contribute to the costs. We expect to have more details on this in the near term.

We will play a leadership role in promoting multi-lateral partnership to address the Syrian refugee crisis. As Provincial Co-Chair of the Federal-Provincial Forum for Ministers Responsible for Immigration, we are requesting an emergency call this week to identify how provinces can work with the federal government to deliver on the goal of bringing 10,000 Syrian refugees to Canada and our call to bring 5,000 to Canada by the end of the year. Ontario is offering to accept and resettle 2,500 of these refugees.

We know that the challenges don't end when refugees settle in Ontario. I am working closely with my colleagues and stakeholders responsible for programs that support resettlement to make sure barriers are removed so Syrian families have access to the provincial supports that make their transition easier.

People come to Canada because they see our country as a beacon of hope and peace. In Ontario, we celebrate diversity and foster an environment of inclusion. A coordinated, compassionate and proactive response to the escalating Syrian refugee crisis reflects the values that make us proud to be Ontarian.

We want to do everything we can in Ontario to help more Syrian refugees get to Canada.

This is the right thing to do and it is the Canadian thing to do.

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