Veteran Liberal M.P. John McCallum was named Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new cabinet Wednesday. One of his challenges is to follow through on the government’s promise to re-settle 25000 Syrian Refugees by the end of 2015.
The Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance (CISSA) is helping its member agencies to prepare for it by engaging I activities such as:
- putting in place regional refugee readiness planning sessions to develop coordinated response systems with key actors including school superintendents, health authorities, city governments, housing authorities;
- arranging an in-person meeting in Toronto Nov 28-29 with representatives of refugee reception centres and sponsorship agreement holders across Canada to assess current capacity in key areas — long term housing needs, language class and daycare wait-lists, communication mechanisms, etc;
- putting in place on going public education events on refugees and their settlement process to garnish ways that the public can be actively involved;
- setting up communication structures eg. telephone help lines, designated websites and systems that will ensure enhanced local and regional coordination on the ground as well as across Canada;
“We are now on stand-by putting in place significantly enhanced reception services to welcome an expedited increase of Syrian refugees, as we have undertaken in previous large refugee resettlement relocation movements,” CISSA Chair Chris Friesen said. Canada resettled over 50 thousand Vietnamese between 1975-80.