Minister McCallum addresses UN conference on Syrian refugees

Immigration Minister John McCallum leaves after briefing journalists at the Welcome Centre in Toronto's Pearson Airport on Thursday, December 31, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Today, at the High Level Meeting on Pathways for Admission of Syrian Refugees in Geneva, Canada pledged to continue to resettle refugees from Syria throughout 2016 and beyond. Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship John McCallum also expressed support for the UN Refugee Agency’s efforts to secure the participation of member countries.

IRC Minister John McCallum
IRC Minister John McCallum

Since the UN’s first call to resettlement countries in June 2013, Canada has welcomed more than 29,300 Syrian refugees. Canada will continue to resettle both government-supported and privately sponsored Syrian refugees throughout 2016. Our plan this year calls for us to resettle up to 44,800 refugees, the majority of them being Syrian. This level triples the number of refugees Canada has resettled in recent years.

In addition to Syrian refugees, Canada has several multi-year commitments under way including for Congolese, Eritreans and Colombians. The resettlement of individuals from other nationalities identified by the UNHCR and private sponsors in Canada will also continue.

Complementing this commitment, Canada will play a leading role by providing training and technical support to other countries to help increase the number of global resettlement spaces; working with the World University Service of Canada to explore opportunities to expand the Student Refugee Program; and by providing a one-year extension of the relaxation of certain administrative requirements. Taken together, these steps will solidify Canada’s position as a strong and innovative partner in the UN Refugee Agency’s response to one of our generation’s worst humanitarian crises.

During the 2015 federal election the federal Liberals campaigned on a promise to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada.  They reached that goal in February 2016.