Ontario Preparing to Welcome Syrian Refugees
Province Partnering with Federal Government to Settle and Integrate Refugees
Ontario is a welcoming and inclusive society and is working to ensure seamless, co-ordinated and appropriate support for the refugees who will arrive in this province.
Today, the federal government announced its plans to welcome Syrian refugees to Canada. In addition to collaborating with the federal government, Ontario has also been working with municipal governments and across ministries to mobilize and identify provincial resources to support the settlement of refugees:
- The Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management, through the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre, is supporting the province's planning efforts by working closely with its federal and provincial partners, as well as non-governmental organizations like the Red Cross, to ensure the immediate needs of refugees are met when they arrive.
- The Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade is working with settlement and community agencies to scale up settlement services.
- The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is developing a health-system action plan and engaging health stakeholders to ensure that refugees have access to appropriate health services.
- Infrastructure Ontario is identifying provincial facilities that may be considered by the federal government for interim lodging to accommodate refugees.
The newly established Ministers' Ad Hoc Committee on Refugees will meet again this week to oversee the province's preparations. Ontario has also appointed Joan Andrew, former Ontario Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, to serve as Executive Lead to support the Ad Hoc Committee's work in ensuring seamless, co-ordinated and appropriate support for the refugees who will arrive in this province.
The province will continue to work with the federal government and all of its partners in the coming days to finalize emergency response and settlement plans, as well as connect Ontarians with ways they can help.
- Ontario is investing $10.5 million over two years to help deliver both immediate and future support for refugees as well as to help organizations and groups that are privately sponsoring refugees.
- Ontario also provided $330,000 to Lifeline Syria earlier this year to help recruit and train private refugee sponsors in Ontario, and then match them with Syrian refugees approved for settlement by the federal government.
- In 2014, Ontario welcomed more than 11,400 refugees from around the world to start a new life in the province.
- The federal government is responsible for refugee selection, screening and the provision of settlement services, including finding interim lodging.
“Our government has a long and proud history of accepting and supporting refugees. As Ontario prepares to welcome Syrian refugees in the coming weeks, the Ministers’ Ad Hoc Committee on Refugees is taking swift action to ensure we are ready. I am heartened by the outpouring of support from across the province to welcome refugees, and we will continue working with our local and federal partners to coordinate our preparedness efforts.”
“From its earliest days, Ontario has welcomed those fleeing war, famine, persecution and other tragic circumstances to build a new life for themselves and their families. We are committed to supporting the federal government in any way we can.”