Airports in Toronto and Montreal ready to welcome the first flights of Syrian refugees to Canada

News Release

December 9, 2015 — Ottawa — Government of Canada flights of Syrian refugees will begin this week, with flights landing in Toronto on December 10, and Montreal on December 12. The first two flights will use military aircraft, but chartered flights are expected to be used for subsequent flights in December.

All flights of Syrian refugees will be destined to either Toronto’s Pearson International Airport or Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. These airports and cities have the necessary facilities and services available to process and temporarily accommodate large volumes of passengers over a short time. Approximately 300 privately sponsored Syrian refugees are expected to land in Canada via these two flights.

Upon arrival, the refugees will be welcomed and undergo the final steps for admission by Canada Border Services Officers (BSO) who will confirm their identity using the documentation the refugees received following their immigration processing overseas. All refugees will also be checked for signs of illness when they arrive in Canada, per the Quarantine Act, and treatment will be available if anyone is ill upon arrival. Prior to boarding their flights refugees will have already undergone security screening and completed immigration medical exams.

Refugees whose travel arrangements are complete will continue travelling the following day toward their destination community. For those being met by their sponsors locally in Toronto or Montreal, the sponsors will receive specific information about when and where to meet the new arrivals.


“I am heartened to see Canadians come together to welcome the Syrian refugees. I have hopes of the greatest success for them and their families as they build their new home in Canada.”

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

”The Canadian Armed Forces has a strong history of supporting humanitarian operations, including, when necessary, the transportation and temporary housing of refugees. I’m proud that the Royal Canadian Air Force will be providing a CC-150 Airbus to help bring Syrian refugees to Canada. The Canadian Armed Forces is prepared to provide additional support, including interim ‎lodging facilities until their communities are ready to receive them.”

Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

“We have worked diligently to ensure we are prepared to efficiently welcome and process Syrian refugees upon landing. When our new arrivals leave the airport, they will do so as permanent residents - a significant step in their Canadian journey.”

Hon. Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness of Canada

Quick facts

  • Between November 4, and December 7, 2015, 416 Syrian refugees arrived in Canada.
  • As of December 7, IRCC has 11,932 refugee resettlement applications in progress.
  • The CC-150 Polaris (Airbus A-310) is a multi-purpose, twin-engine, long-range jet aircraft that can be converted for passenger, freight or medical transport and air-to-air refueling (or any combination of these configurations). Passenger loads range from 28 to 194 people, depending on the particular aircraft tail number and configuration.

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Media Relations
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Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

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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