CCR decries dramatic drop in refugees resettled to Canada

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Canadian Council for Refugees
Media Release

    For immediate release
7 March 2013

CCR decries dramatic drop in refugees resettled to Canada

The Canadian Council for Refugees today expressed its deep disappointment at the dramatic decrease in the number of refugees resettled to Canada in 2012. Contrary to recent government promises to resettle more refugees, it is the second lowest number resettled in over 30 years.

“We very much regret that the Minister has not been able to keep his promise to increase the numbers, and that in fact last year fewer people were able to find safety in Canada in this way,” said Loly Rico, President. “Canadians are proud to protect refugees through resettlement to Canada – but unfortunately the government has been closing the door on refugees.”

In December 2011, at a meeting commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Refugee Convention, in Geneva, Switzerland, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration announced: “We pledge to increase the number of refugees we resettle by 20%.”

In fact, 26% fewer refugees were resettled in 2012 than in 2011, or than were planned for 2012.

Resettled refugees come in two streams: Government-Assisted Refugees and Privately Sponsored Refugees. Arrivals in both categories decreased dramatically in 2012. Only 5,412 Government-Assisted Refugees were resettled – the lowest number since at least the 1970s, and over 2,000 short of the target for 2012 of 7,500.

At 4,212, arrivals of Privately Sponsored Refugees were well below the target for 2012 of 5,500. Private sponsors had been promised this target in return for the imposition of limits on the numbers of new applications they could submit.

Rose Dekker, of World Renew, a Sponsorship Agreement Holder, expressed her deep disappointment with the low number of arrivals of privately sponsored refugees. "Through our sponsorships refugees are received and settled in Canada at no cost to the government. All private sponsors were drastically limited in the number of new refugee applications we were allowed to submit in 2012, but the government promised that would result in processing many more refugees for arrival in Canada. Instead of 5500 privately sponsored refugees, as was promised, only 4,212 privately sponsored refugees arrived in 2012, fewer even than in 2011. Sponsorship agreement holders abided by the new regulations. The government did not keep its promise to us."

One of the challenges in 2012 was that Canada had planned to resettle a significant proportion of refugees through the Damascus office, which was forced to close in January 2012 due to the conflict in Syria. This highlights the problems with concentrating the resettlement program too much in one region. The CCR urges the government to take a more global approach and resettle refugees in need from anywhere in the world.

However, this problem could only account for part of the shortfall, and the government had most of the year to shift its focus elsewhere. The UNHCR has identified many refugees around the world in need of resettlement, many of them on an urgent basis. The CCR urges the government to keep its commitments and to work to make its resettlement program able to resettle refugees more quickly, especially when they have urgent protection needs.

 

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2012 target

Government-assisted refugees

7,295

7,425

7,264

7,364

5,412

7,500

Privately sponsored refugees

3,512

5,036

4,833

5,583

4,212

5,500

Resettled refugees total

10,807

12,461

12,097

12,947

9,624

13,000

 

Contact

Colleen French, Communication and Networking Coordinator, cfrench@ccrweb.ca, 514-277-7223, ext. 1, (514) 602-2098 (cell)

Background information

CCR, Important changes in Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program, http://ccrweb.ca/en/changes-private-sponsorship-refugees

CIC, 2012 Preliminary Numbers, Permanent Residents, http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/statistics/facts2012-preliminary/01.asp

Speech by Minister Kenney, at the ministerial event commemorating the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention, December 2011
http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/speeches/2011/2011-12-07.asp

CIC, Planned levels for 2012
http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/notices/notice-levels2012.asp

CIC, Targets by mission for 2012
http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/ips/non-economic.asp

 

Resettlement to Canada since 1979

 

Gov't Assisted Refugees

Priv. Sponsored Refugees

Total resettled

1979

13,671

13,893

27,564

1980

19,027

21,244

40,271

1981

10,209

4,405

14,614

1982

10,431

5,863

16,294

1983

9,284

4,161

13,445

1984

10,614

3,976

14,590

1985

11,762

3,881

15,643

1986

12,468

5,222

17,690

1987

12,645

7,437

20,082

1988

13,678

12,387

26,065

1989

13,808

21,631

35,439

1990

12,735

19,154

31,889

1991

7,678

17,368

25,046

1992

6,126

8,960

15,086

1993

6,794

4,768

11,562

1994

7,585

2,822

10,407

1995

8,179

3,244

11,423

1996

7,856

3,063

10,919

1997

7,661

2,580

10,241

1998

7,387

2,140

9,527

1999

7,443

2,330

9,773

2000

10,671

2,922

13,593

2001

8,697

3,571

12,268

2002

7,505

3,036

10,541

2003

7,505

3,251

10,756

2004

7,411

3,115

10,526

2005

7,424

2,976

10,400

2006

7,326

3,337

10,663

2007

7,573

3,588

11,161

2008

7,295

3,512

10,807

2009

7,425

5,036

12,461

2010

7,264

4,833

12,097

2011

7,364

5,583

12,947

2012

5,412

4,212

9,624

Statistics compiled from various reports and publications of Citizenship and Immigration Canada