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Ontario Support Available for Refugees

Archived Backgrounder

Ontario Support Available for Refugees

Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration

In the past year, Ontario has welcomed 14,000 Syrian refugees and more are continuing to arrive. The province is collaborating with the federal government, municipal governments, community partners to support the settlement and integration of all refugees.

Ontario has and continues to welcome and settle refugees, including:  

Provincewide Coordination 

Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration 

  • Allocated over $10 million to enhance sponsorship supports and resettlement services in communities across Ontario.    
  • Contributed $2 million to humanitarian efforts to assist refugees overseas.
  • Worked with the federal government, Newcomer Settlement Program agencies, school boards and municipalities to scale up settlement services and ensure readiness and local service coordination.
  • Worked with community partners to develop refugee orientation resources and refugee mental health training for settlement workers.
  • Offered tuition-free English and French language training to refugees. Opened over 55 new language classes at literacy and beginner levels in response to refugee needs. 

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care 

  • Developed the toll-free, multi-lingual Refugee HealthLine to connect refugees to health care providers.
  • Developed and distributed a Health System Action Plan: Syrian Refugees to provide guidance to the health system to support seamless and coordinated operations.
  • Worked with stakeholders to ensure that refugees have access to appropriate health services, such as urgent medical assistance and immunizations. 

Ministry of Education 

  • Working with school boards on settlement plans for students, and the development of resources, the needs of the boards and various training opportunities available to board staff.
  • Trained a group of educators who are ready to support district school boards with the assessment of Syrian newcomer children and youth in literacy and math to ensure appropriate school placement.
  • Working with School Mental Health ASSIST to support school boards in their efforts to promote mental health and respond to any social emotional needs of refugee students and their families. 

Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development  

  • Increased funding to the World University Service of Canada Student Refugee Program. The program engages students, faculty and staff at colleges and universities and helps sponsored refugee students with postsecondary academic expenses such as tuition, books and school supplies, as well as other expenses such as accommodations, meals and clothing.
  • Employment Ontario service providers are working to improve service coordination and capacity to deliver effective and appropriate service to Syrian newcomers. Projects involve language assessment for newcomers, workplace mentorship, foreign credential assessment, occupation-specific language training, and others. 

Ministry of Children and Youth Services 



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