Canada to welcome 1200 Yazidi and other survivors of Daesh

News Release

February 21, 2017—Ottawa, ON – Canada plans to welcome approximately 1200 survivors of Daesh this year, including vulnerable Yazidi women and children and their families, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Minister Ahmed Hussen announced today. 

It is expected that nearly 400 government-assisted refugees will have arrived by February 22, 2017, which is 120 days from the date of the motion passed by the House of Commons last fall. 

Canada is working with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), with the cooperation and support of the Iraqi government, to identify vulnerable Yazidi and other survivors of Daesh both inside and outside of Iraq. While neither Canada nor the UNHCR makes selection decisions on the basis of religion or ethnicity alone, it is expected the majority of the 1200 Canada will welcome will be Yazidi. While vulnerable women and children are being identified, the total includes their family members in order to keep families together.

In addition to the 1200 government-assisted refugees Canada will welcome, we are also facilitating the private sponsorship of individuals who fall within this vulnerable group. More Yazidi and other survivors of Daesh will arrive in Canada as privately sponsored refugees.

All individuals will have an immigration and security interview by an experienced visa officer, comprehensive security screening and biometric checks as well as medical exams. As part of the screening process, additional work is being done to identify settlement needs.

These individuals have experienced severe trauma, thus coordination with the settlement community in Canada is underway to ensure that settlement services are available to meet the particularly acute needs of those we are welcoming.

The estimated cost for this initiative is $28 million.


“Our Government is committed to offering protection to survivors of Daesh, and we are committed to taking the necessary time to do this right. Our operation aims to bring to Canada those at the greatest risk, and to give them the support and services they need to make a new home, and to restart their lives here.”

-  The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“Canada and UNHCR are working very closely to identify and resettle some of the most vulnerable survivors of Daesh who are willing to be relocated to Canada from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, where the local authorities and other partners are involved in the process. Canada’s response to the plight of survivors of Daesh, through humanitarian funding for essential services in countries hosting refugees and displaced persons in the region, and through the resettlement of survivors, is commendable.”

- Jean-Nicolas Beuze, UNHCR Representative in Canada

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Camielle Edwards
Minister’s Office
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

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