The Liberal government has said that Canada will be able to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees, less than half than the number promised earlier, by the end of this year.
Previously, the government had committed to bring over 25,000 refugees by the end of the year. However, it said that such a large program cannot be carried out within the given timeframe. It further said that another 15,000 refugees will be brought by February next year.
The majority of refugees coming to Canada by the end of the year will be privately sponsored, government officials said. “[The refugees] will include a mix of privately sponsored and government assisted refugees,” Health Minister, Jane Philpott, said. “The remaining 15,000 — mostly government-assisted refugees — it is our goal that they be resettled in Canada in January and February of 2016. Full medical exams and security screening will be completed overseas prior to arriving in Canada.
“Further screening for communicable diseases will be done upon arrival, as is the usual process for all travellers to Canada,” she added.
BBC reports that “robust” health and security screenings that will be done overseas were promised by government officials. Assistance in the transportation of refugees to Canada will be lent by military and private aircraft. Thirty six “destination” cities are where the refugees will resettle; 12 of these are in Quebec. Refugees coming to Canada will be from camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
According to Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Minister, John McCallum, the government’s decision to lower the intake of refugees this year has not been affected by the Paris attacks that killed 129 people and wounded hundreds of others.
The screening and processing of refugees before they arrive in Canada will be carried out by the Department of Defence and immigration officials. “We will be assisting with medical screening and with the processing of applications including assistance with the collection of biometrics,” Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said. Refugees will be interviewed and their identities against Canada and U.S. databases will be checked, as reported by CBC News.
Public Safety Minister, Ralph Goodale, said, “Before anyone gets on a plane to come to Canada, the security screening will be … fully completed overseas. If there is any doubt about an application or an interview or any of the data, the file will simply be put aside and held for further consideration at a later time.”
A budget of $678 million has been estimated for the resettlement program and integration support over a period of six years. This comes in addition to the budget of $250 million the Liberals proposed in their election platform.