Canada reaffirms strong leadership role in refugee protection at Global Refugee Forum

News release

December 17, 2019 - Geneva, Switzerland

Millions of people worldwide have been forced to flee their homes and their countries due to conflict and persecution. As unresolved refugee and humanitarian crises continue, nations must work together to help advance solutions. Canada will continue to lead by example. 

On behalf of the Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, the Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today announced $50.4 million over the next 4 years for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). This flexible and predictable multi-year funding will help the UNHCR respond to the critical humanitarian and protection needs of refugees around the world. The announcement was made at the inaugural Global Refugee Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, in Minister Mendicino’s capacity as head of the Canadian delegation.

At the forum, Minister Mendicino pledged Canada’s ongoing commitment to build community refugee sponsorship programs globally, through the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative.

Minister Mendicino announced a commitment to expanding complementary pathways for refugees, including launching the second phase of the Economic Mobility Pathways Project, which helps qualified refugees connect to Canadian labour market needs through Canada’s immigration programs. He also pledged that Canada will introduce a dedicated refugee stream to provide safe haven for human rights advocates, journalists and humanitarian workers at risk.

The Minister also had the opportunity to share that Canada will establish new multi-year resettlement commitments in 2021 and will continue to support the resettlement of women and girls who face heightened protection risks due to their gender.


“Canada has a proud and long-standing tradition of responding to the needs of vulnerable people. We are at the forefront of working with partners to advance innovative solutions for those who’ve been forced to flee their homes. I was pleased to lead the Canadian delegation at the inaugural Global Refugee Forum and commit to renewed support for refugees.”

- Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“People who have had to flee their homes and countries are often highly vulnerable and require humanitarian assistance. This multi-year funding to the UNHCR will provide life-saving assistance and protection services and will support durable solutions for refugees.”

- Karina Gould, Minister of International Development

Quick facts

  • Refugee situations have increased in scope, scale and complexity. There are very high numbers of forcibly displaced people, including 25.9 million refugees worldwide in 2018.

  • In 2018, UNHCR and its partners responded to the assistance and protection needs of some 74.8 million people worldwide, including refugees and asylum seekers.

  • In 2018, United Nations member states adopted the Global Compact on Refugees, which aims to address the need for more predictable and equitable responsibility-sharing for the world’s refugees.

  • As part of the Global Compact on Refugees, states agreed to meet every 4 years at the ministerial level at the Global Refugee Forum to review progress in implementing the objectives of the compact.

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