25,000 Syrian refugees have landed, now for Phase 2, says John McCallum

Immigration Minister John McCallum offers praise and congratulations to everyone inside Canada and out who helped the federal government bring in 25,0...

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syrian-refugees

Immigration Minister John McCallum offers praise and congratulations to everyone inside Canada and out who helped the federal government bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees, but warns there is much more to be done.

“We are not having a massive celebration about this, because it’s only a victory for Phase 1,” McCallum told reporters gathered at Toronto Pearson International Airport today.

The effort now will shift to Phase 2: helping settled refugees find permanent living arrangements, jobs and to get them enrolled into language training for either French or English.

The government has managed to bring the 25,000 Syrian refugees into Canada “at a cost of a little over $700 million, and I can tell you we are under the budget that we set,” McCallum said. “We did not spend the reserves that we had established.”

The minister did say, however, that the federal government would likely need additional funds to pay for the costs of language training, because many of the new arrivals do not speak French or English.

This past weekend the government reached the 25,000 figure for settled refugees from Syria. That number included both government-sponsored and privately sponsored refugees. As of Feb. 27, private sponsors had brought in 8,527 Syrian refugees since the Liberals came to office.

In order to meet the Liberal government’s campaign promise of bringing in 25,000 government-sponsored refugees, McCallum said, the federal government will have to settle another 10,000 Syrian refugees, plus some additional private refugees, before the end of the year.

By Peter Zimonjic, CBC News

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