Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announces action on Syrian refugee crisis

News Release

November 9, 2015 – Ottawa, ON – Office of the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

The Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today announced the creation of a new Cabinet ad hoc committee to help bring Syrian refugees to Canada.

An Ad Hoc Committee on Refugees will be a driving force in delivering on the government’s commitment to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of 2015.

The ad hoc committee will include the following members:

  • The Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, Chair;
  • The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Vice-Chair;
  • The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness;
  • The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs;
  • The Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship;
  • The Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board;
  • The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie ;
  • The Honourable Harjit Singh Sajjan, Minister of National Defence; and
  • The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions.

The ad hoc committee will hold its first meeting on November 10, 2015.

The Government of Canada has made the following commitments related to refugees:

  • expand Canada’s intake of refugees from Syria by 25,000 through immediate government sponsorship, and also work with private sponsors to accept even more;
  • fully restore the Interim Federal Health Program that provides limited and temporary health benefits to refugees and refugee claimants;
  • invest at least an additional $100 million this fiscal year to increase – without reducing standards – refugee processing as well as sponsorship and settlement services capacity in Canada; and,
  • provide an immediate, new $100 million contribution to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to support the critical relief activities in Syria and the surrounding area.


“Canadians can and must do more to help Syrian refugees who are desperately seeking safety. The new Cabinet ad hoc committee is our first step towards Canada providing more Syrian refugees with the safe haven they so desperately need. This is about showing leadership and doing what is right as Canadians.”

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

“We have a responsibility to significantly expand our refugee targets and give more victims of war a safe haven in Canada. People from coast to coast to coast and representatives from all orders of government have stepped up to help address the Syrian refugee crisis. We will be looking for close collaboration in the days to come to help make a home for the victims of this tragedy.”

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

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