Canada provides more support to refugees and those who host them


The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, made and endorsed a number of pledges at the 2023 Global Refugee Forum.

These pledges are aimed at better supporting refugees and sharing responsibility with those who host them.

Resettling the world's most vulnerable people

Over the next three years, Canada is aiming to welcome 51,615 refugees who are most in need of protection through the Government-Assisted Refugees program. This includes resettlement efforts for religious and ethnic minorities, women and girls in precarious situations, survivors of torture and human trafficking, LGBTQI+ individuals, Rohingya refugees and human rights defenders.

In June 2023, Canada doubled the number of dedicated resettlement spaces for human rights defenders and is now resettling up to 500 defenders and their family members each year.

In July 2023, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced a new partnership with Rainbow Railroad to protect and welcome more at-risk LGBTQI+ individuals and their families to Canada. In addition to this new partnership, Canada has a longstanding partnership—the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Partnership—to help Canadians and permanent residents privately sponsor LGBTQI+ refugees fleeing violence and persecution. These are in addition to ongoing efforts by the Government of Canada to welcome at-risk LGBTQI+ people from around the world who are referred to Canada by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and other referral organizations.

Canada sets multi-year resettlement commitments to help allocate resettlement spaces under the Government-Assisted Refugees program. For 2022–2023, Canada is on track to resettle 10,000 refugees from Africa and 8,000 refugees from the Middle East by the end of the year.

Canada had previously committed to resettling up to 4,000 refugees from the Americas by 2028. This commitment complements Canada's announcement to welcome 15,000 migrants on a humanitarian basis from the Western Hemisphere.

Supporting the international growth of community sponsorship programs

Since 1979, Canadians have helped resettle over 390,000 refugees through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees program. This program has inspired 15 countries to develop their own community sponsorship programs through the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative (GRSI). According to the GRSI, over 700,000 refugees have been welcomed and supported by communities worldwide through these sponsorship programs since 2021.

Canada is a GRSI partner and, at a side event, reaffirmed its commitment to work with other partners to help more countries design and launch their own community sponsorship programs. To advance this goal, we welcome the multi-stakeholder pledge by GRSI partners to establish a global sponsorship fund to help support the growth of sponsorship initiatives worldwide, including in the Americas and Asia.

Championing the growth of refugee labour mobility pathways worldwide

Expanding refugees' access to third-country solutions beyond traditional resettlement programs is vital to addressing the global refugee crisis. This is why we continue to expand our refugee labour mobility pathway, the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot, including by committing to making it a permanent economic immigration program by 2025.

In addition, as Chair of the Global Task Force on Refugee Labour Mobility, Canada is sharing best practices and working with international partners, stakeholders and people with lived experiences to promote the growth of these pathways worldwide.

Helping Central Asia and Pakistan respond to needs and movements of Afghan refugees

Following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) issued an appeal for funding of the Comprehensive Action Plan for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries (PDF). The Action Plan requested financial support to address the humanitarian and protection needs of affected populations in the region, strengthen the resilience of Afghans and host communities to reduce displacement risks, and help people and communities transition and recover.

The Government of Canada has committed to providing CAN$21 million in grant funding over three years (from 2022–2023 to 2024–2025) to support the IOM's Comprehensive Action Plan. This funding advances Canada's commitment to support displaced Afghans. Activities funded to date focus on helping government and local organizations respond to the protection, health and integration needs of Afghan refugees in their communities in five countries neighbouring Afghanistan: Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Addressing the impact of climate change on human mobility through knowledge

Canada recognizes that climate change is increasingly compelling people to move within and across borders. We are committed to providing humanitarian assistance to help those displaced and working with global partners on longer-term solutions.

At the forum, we announced financial support for the IOM to support the Government of Mexico in addressing the connections between human mobility, disasters, the adverse effects of climate change and environmental degradation. The funding will be used to assist Mexico in developing tools to collect data on the impacts of climate change on human mobility, followed by a pilot in Southern Mexico, to help inform potential policy decisions by local and state governments.

Through the International Development Research Centre, Canada also pledged to invest $4.2 million in research on the governance of climate-induced displacement in countries that are highly vulnerable to climate change. This research will identify strategies to ensure the participation of vulnerable groups in developing responses to climate displacement, with a focus on relocation and resettlement programs.

Strengthening asylum capacity and protection initiatives in the Americas

The Americas are seeing unprecedented numbers of people on the move. In response, Canada is increasing its assistance for capacity-building efforts in the Americas by investing $75 million over six years for projects across Latin America and the Caribbean. This funding will help strengthen asylum capacity and better integrate migrants and refugees into local communities and labour markets.

Canada reaffirmed its continued leadership, engagement and support for the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework Support Platform. This includes pledging to continue supporting asylum capacity in Central America and Mexico.

Canada also announced $1.39 million for the UNHCR over two years for the second phase of a project to help Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras process asylum claims in a timely manner. In addition, Canada announced an additional $908,000 over 18 months for an ongoing project with the IOM aimed at helping migrants integrate into local communities and labour markets. This includes programs to regularize status and a new pathway for migrants to temporarily work in Costa Rica, helping to relieve pressure on asylum and protection systems in the region.

During a side event on access to protection, Canada also pledged to continue leading the "Investing in Asylum" Action Package under the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection. Working with the United States, Costa Rica and Haiti, we are advancing efforts to support fair and fast decisions on asylum claims across the Americas. For example, having completed an assessment of regional asylum system needs, we will now be using this information to help improve the targeting of assistance efforts. We will also be supporting the sharing of best practices across the region.

Canada also pledged to continue capacity-building efforts to help Mexico process a growing number of asylum claims. We will explore with our international partners the potential to develop similar initiatives to strengthen asylum systems in Central America.

Improving refugees' access to education

As part of our commitment to expand the range and number of complementary pathways, we are exploring the development of an education complementary pathway for refugees and displaced students so they can continue their studies in safety in Canada.

Canada also invests in refugee education globally through bilateral and multilateral programming (with a focus on girls, refugees, and other children and youth affected by forced displacement). This includes ongoing projects under the "Education for Refugee and Displaced Children and Youth in Sub-Saharan Africa" call, designed to increase access to education for refugees and displaced children and youth.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada partners with the World University Service of Canada (WUSC), a student sponsorship program in Canada that builds sustainable solutions for refugees through youth-led, peer-to-peer education support. The Student Refugee Program operates under the Private Sponsorship of Refugees program and enables WUSC to select refugee students, recognized by the UNHCR, in their country of asylum and match them with sponsoring WUSC Local Committees at post-secondary institutions in Canada.

Canada is proud to have led the creation of Together for Learning, an international three­year campaign launched in 2021 to promote quality education and lifelong learning for children and youth who are refugees, forcibly displaced and living in host communities. A key initiative of the campaign was the establishment of the Refugee Education Council, a group of young leaders with lived experience in displacement from around the world, who have provided thoughtful advice and guidance based on their knowledge and experience. This campaign wrapped up at the Global Refugee Forum.

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