Canada marks 20,000 Afghan arrivals with help from partners at home and abroad
September 22, 2022—Ottawa – The Government of Canada continues to work hard to resettle at least 40,000 Afghan nationals as quickly and safely as possible, which is one of the largest commitments of its kind in the world. Welcoming refugees to Canada is an integral part of our country’s long-standing and proud humanitarian tradition.
The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today announced that Canada welcomed its 20,000th Afghan refugee since August 2021. The latest newcomers arrived in Toronto, Ontario, on a charter flight from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Approximately 337 government-assisted refugees were on board, and will settle in communities across Canada, including Abbotsford (BC), Calgary (AB), and Windsor (ON).
Resettling at least 40,000 Afghan nationals is a complex and unprecedented initiative that requires a whole-of-government approach, as well as strong domestic and international partnerships. This milestone would not be possible without the support of provinces and territories, resettlement service providers, and Canadians who have sponsored Afghan refugees, donated their goods and time, and helped newcomers settle in their communities.
We also value the ongoing collaboration of key international partners including the United States (US), the UAE and Pakistan, and the tireless work of international organizations and referral partners including the International Organization for Migration, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Frontline Defenders and ProtectDefenders.eu.
Despite the ongoing challenges, and the difficult work ahead of us, we remain on track to reach our commitment to resettle at least 40,000 vulnerable Afghans to Canada by the end of 2023.
The Government of Canada, with the support of settlement service providers, is also working here at home to support Afghan newcomers as they build their new lives across Canada – and they are already making meaningful contributions in their communities:
- Maryam Masoomi arrived in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in October 2021. In Afghanistan, Maryam attended Marefat High School, a school that championed education for women. Since coming to Canada, she has won an award for her leadership skills, has met with His Majesty King Charles III, and began hosting a local radio show and working with newcomer youth.
- Najibullah Sorosh dedicated more than 20 years to educating children, including girls, and helped to establish two high schools that had close to gender parity. After fleeing Kabul, he landed in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, in September 2021, and works with refugees and immigrants.
- Sheila Qayumi advocated for peace and women’s rights from her home in Afghanistan. Since settling in Calgary in September 2021, she has found meaningful work as an interpreter and counselor helping other Afghan women integrate into Canadian society.
- Ghousuddin Frotan, an Afghan journalist, arrived in Canada earlier this year with his family, leaving behind the English school and non-profit organization he founded in Kandahar. From their new home in Windsor, Ontario, the Frotan children have embraced their new school, and Ghousuddin resumed his journalism career, winning a fellowship from the University of Toronto.
Together with our partners across the country and around the globe, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is making a difference in the lives of Afghan newcomers and their families, and providing support to those who need it most. Individuals and businesses looking to get involved through volunteering, donating, sponsoring or supporting the wider resettlement efforts can learn more about how Canadians can help.
Photos of today’s arrival are available in Dropbox for use by the media. You can also monitor Canada’s progress on welcoming Afghan refugees to Canada.
“Today, I am proud to mark this important milestone as we pass the halfway mark in our commitment. While we are on the right track toward reaching our goal, there is still much to be done. Every one of the 20,000 Afghans welcomed to Canada is a life transformed. These newcomers will enrich the communities that have embraced them. The situation in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries remains very challenging, and we truly appreciate all that our partners at home and abroad have done to bring Afghan refugees to safety in Canada.”
– The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
"The safe and dignified resettlement of refugees globally has been a central part of the work of the International Organization for Migration for decades. We continue to work closely with the Government of Canada and others to ensure thousands of vulnerable Afghans are provided the opportunity to restart their lives in a secure and welcoming environment."
– António Vitorino, Director General, International Organization for Migration
Canada’s resettlement capacity is distributed across more than 137 communities. Detailed information about the destination communities welcoming Afghans is available on our website.
While many newcomers arrive in Canada’s largest cities, smaller communities offer welcoming, safe places with settlement services, employment opportunities, affordable housing options and a lower cost of living. Today’s flight marks the largest contingent to date arriving in Southwestern Ontario.
Afghan refugees become permanent residents upon arrival in Canada. They receive at least 12 months of income support under the Resettlement Assistance Program and will have access to settlement services, including language training and as well as the Interim Federal Health Program for medical coverage. We work closely with service provider organizations in Canada to deliver services to newcomers and make sure they can successfully integrate.
Today’s arrivals were referred to Canada by the US as part of our humanitarian program, and arrive as government-assisted refugees. The humanitarian program resettles vulnerable Afghans including women leaders, human rights defenders, persecuted religious or ethnic minorities, 2SLGBTQI+ individuals, journalists and those who supported Canadian journalists
The International Organization for Migration has conducted health assessments, presented pre-departure orientation sessions and secured transportation for thousands of Afghans seeking safety in Canada.
Contacts for media only
Minister’s Office, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
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