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Ontario Continuing to Welcome and Support Syrian Refugees

News Release

Ontario Continuing to Welcome and Support Syrian Refugees

Government and Communities Supporting Successful Resettlement Efforts

Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration

Ontario is continuing to welcome and support Syrian refugees as they settle and build new lives in the province.

Since the first airplane of refugees from the Syrian conflict touched down in Ontario one year ago this week, more than 14,000 refugees have found safety and a new start in the province, with the support of the provincial government, municipalities, community service providers, sponsors and volunteers. 

Ontario was an early leader in the resettlement effort, receiving more than 40 per cent of refugee arrivals to Canada. Those refugees have been settling into their new lives with the help of language training, employment training, school enrolment and are already giving back to their communities through volunteerism . 

Moving forward, the province continues to support refugee families, through provincially funded refugee service providers. To date: 

  • More than 5,500 adults have received language assessments and are currently participating in free language training.
  • Over 4,600 children have been registered in Ontario schools. The province is working with school boards to ensure refugee students have the resources and supports to succeed.
  • Sponsorship training, volunteer matching and mentoring programs are providing refugees with practical support, social connections and employment leads.
  • A Refugee HealthLine is connecting refugees with local health care providers.
  • A network of community services is supporting at-risk children and youth. 

Helping refugees settle and succeed is part of Ontario's plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario leads the country on private sponsorship, which is a program that allows private citizens to engage in sponsoring refugees and supporting them for their first year in Canada.
  • As of November 20, 2016, over 35,000 Syrian refugees had arrived in Canada.
  • Over 120 Ontario communities have welcomed refugees from the Syrian conflict. Approximately 87 per cent have settled in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Ottawa, London, Waterloo Region and Windsor.
  • In 2016, Ontario expects to receive almost 18,000 resettled refugees from all sources, a figure four times higher than average annual arrivals over the ten-year period from 2005 to 2014.

Background Information

Additional Resources

Quotes

Laura Albanese

“The investments that we are making now will ensure that refugees are in the best position to succeed in the future. I am proud of what our government and our community partners have achieved in such a short time. Together, we are meeting an extraordinary challenge and continuing to prove that Ontario is a welcoming place for those fleeing war and oppression.”

Laura Albanese

Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mitzie Hunter

“I am happy to see partnerships between our school boards and community partners to support integrating newcomers in our communities and their schools. We are committed to continue working with boards to ensure these students, like all students in this great province, have everything they need for the best possible start in life.”

Mitzie Hunter

Minister of Education

Michael Coteau

“Supporting Syrian refugee children, youth and their families so they have access to the right supports and services is critical, and I am proud of our government for stepping up to the challenge. We will continue to work with our community and mental health agencies to meet the evolving needs of refugee families on their settlement journey.”

Michael Coteau

Minister of Children and Youth Services

“We are fortunate to live in a country where so many citizens want to sponsor refugees and where collaboration between agencies serving immigrants and government is possible. We will continue to harness this energy to ensure that we keep providing solutions for refugees and that we keep them on their path to success.”

Debbie Douglas

Executive Director, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants

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