The Senate Committee on Human Rights has issued a report on the federal government’s refugee resettlement program. The report, Finding Refuge in Canada: A Syrian resettlement story, makes recommendations that the government should take to give Syrian refugees the greatest chance for success in Canada.
Read the Report
Canada has welcomed more than 30,000 Syrian refugees since November 2015 but they face challenges in their new home.
Many have been in Canada for a year, which means the end of federal government support programs. Provincial and municipal governments will begin to bear financial responsibility for refugees — who remain in need of strong support:
Language barriers prevent many otherwise qualified Syrians from getting jobs.
Lack of childcare prevents many refugees — particularly women — from taking language classes.
Mental health issues may arise from the trauma that refugees experienced in Syria.
Financial worries add to their stress and threaten to affect their mental well-being. Some refugees received travel loans from the federal government to get to Canada, which must be repaid — and with interest.
Watch: Senate Human Rights committee hears from Syrian Refugees in Toronto
Key recommendations to address these concerns include:
- Funding for language classes that include childcare facilities so all refugees can learn English or French.
- Develop a comprehensive plan to deliver mental health services to Syria refugees.
- Eliminate or reduce debts that some refugees have to the Canadian government by converting travel loans in to grants or introducing debt forgiveness mechanisms.
Supporting Canada’s Syrian refugees is a moral imperative. The federal government has an obligation to ensure they have the same opportunity to thrive in Canada as any Canadian. The committee’s recommendations will increase their chances of success.