Canada Offers Leadership on the Syrian Refugee Crisis

News Release

November 24, 2015 – Ottawa, ON – The Government of Canada is taking immediate action to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada as quickly as possible, through a five-phase national plan. Canada can and will do more to help Syrian refugees who are desperately seeking safety, by offering them a new home.

The five phases are identifying Syrian refugees to come to Canada, selecting and processing Syrian refugees overseas, transportation to Canada, arrival and welcoming in Canada, and settlement and community integration. Protecting the safety, security, and health of Canadians and refugees is a key factor in guiding the Government of Canada’s actions throughout this initiative.

The government will identify all 25,000 refugees to come to Canada by December 31, 2015. Of those selected, the target is to have 10,000 Syrian refugees arrive in Canada by the end of this year, and the remainder to arrive by the end of February 2016.

We will ensure we are prepared to welcome these refugees properly in our communities, by continuing to work with provincial, territorial, municipal, and other partners. This timeframe will also allow for the completion of the immigration process overseas.

It is important that Canada respond and demonstrate clear action. To meet this commitment, the government will work with the governments of Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, along with international and Canadian partners.

Canada will be working closely with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to identify registered Syrian refugees who can be resettled. Canada’s focus will be on identifying vulnerable refugees who are a lower security risk. Robust health and security screening will be completed overseas. This will include the collection of biographic information and biometric screening of all refugees, verified against databases.

The government also has several thousand applications in processing for privately sponsored refugees (PSRs) under way, and these will be included as part of the commitment. The majority of these will be finalized in the coming weeks. These refugees will be admitted into Canada, in either Montreal or Toronto, and then continue directly on to their destination community.

Resettling 25,000 refugees to Canada is a national effort that will require significant coordination and support. The Government of Canada is working with other orders of government, non-governmental organizations, partners and Canadians across the country to help ensure successful integration of Syrian refugees into their new host communities, where they will begin to build their new lives in Canada.

The government’s commitment to bringing in Syrian refugees will continue in 2016. Given the current initiative includes privately sponsored refugees, this will include taking in more government-assisted refugees (GARs) to reach a total target of 25,000 GARs.

Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, Canada has contributed more than $800 million to support stabilization efforts, provide development assistance, contribute to humanitarian efforts, and enhance security.


“Canadians can and must do more to help Syrian refugees who are desperately seeking safety. This is about showing leadership and doing what is right as Canadians and we are doing the right thing by immediately helping 25,000 Syrian refugees. Canada will make a difference, and we encourage all Canadians to do what they can to help.”

- Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

“We have a responsibility to significantly expand our refugee targets and give more victims of war a safe haven in Canada. The resettling of vulnerable refugees is a clear demonstration of this. While our plan is ambitious, it reflects Canada’s commitment to share responsibility and offer protection to those who need it. Canada must once again be regarded as the compassionate, generous country we’ve always been.”

- Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

"Canada has fostered a long and proud tradition of humanitarian leadership on the global stage. Canadians have always done what we can, when and where we can. We are ready to welcome these people who have suffered so much, with a plan that will both address the health of refugees while continuing to protect and maintain the good health of all Canadians."

- Hon. Jane Philpott, Minister of Health and Chair, Ad Hoc Committee on Refugees

“We are a nation of diverse people – with roots in every part of the globe – living peacefully together. It is part of what makes us Canadian, and it is a strength that must be reflected in the way we approach the world. As countries like Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey are hosting ever-increasing numbers of refugees, the government will work with Canadians, non-governmental organizations, private sponsors, provinces, territories, and local governments to welcome these refugees and give them an opportunity to build a new life for themselves, free from conflict.”

- Hon. John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“Across the country, Canadians have been saying that we should do more to help Syrian refugees. We must do more and we are. All Canadians will need to join together in welcoming and lending their support to this community in need.”

- Hon. John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Quick facts

  • There are more than four million Syrian refugees.
  • The 25,000 refugees to be settled, including privately sponsored refugees (PSRs) and government-assisted refugees (GARs), are in addition to the 3,089 Syrian refugees who have already arrived in Canada from January 1, 2014, to November 3, 2015.
  • The Government of Canada will invest up to $678 million over six years toward expediting the resettlement and ensuring integration support for these Syrian refugees.

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Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Building a stronger Canada: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada strengthens Canada’s economic, social and cultural prosperity, helping ensure Canadian safety and security while managing one of the largest and most generous immigration programs in the world.

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