How generous is Canada towards refugees?

We like to think that Canada is quite generous in its treatment towards refugees.

But are we?

  • Canada welcomes only a tiny percentage of the world’s refugees

    Canada offered a permanent home to less than 1% of the total number of new refugees forced to flee their countries in 2014.

    The UNHCR reports that there were 2.9 million new refugees in 2014 (UNHCR Global Trends 2014 ).

    Canada only accepted 22,220 new refugees in 2014 (representing less than 1% of the total number of new refugees worldwide).

    According to the UNHCR statistics, Canada resettled 12,277 refugees and granted status to 9,943 refugees in Canada.

  • Canada: home to just 1% of world's refugees

    Canada hosts about 1% of the world’s refugees, according to the UNHCR.

    There were 15,097,633 refugees in world in mid-2015, according to UNHCR statistics. 

    The UNHCR estimates that there were 149,163 refugees in Canada.*


    * The number for Canada is probably too high. The UNHCR estimates the number of refugees hosted by Canada based on the number accepted over 10 years, but many of these refugees would have become Canadian citizens during the 10 years and shouldn’t still count as refugees.

  • Most refugees are in the Global South

    The vast majority of the world’s refugees are in the Global South. Only a tiny minority of refugees are found in Canada and the rest of the wealthiest countries.

    55% of refugees are in Asia, 31% are in Africa. Just 3% are in Northern America (USA, Canada and Bermuda).

  • Canada compared to some other countries

    Many countries  such as Pakistan, Iran and Turkey, host far more refugees than Canada.

    Turkey is home to 12 times as many refugees as Canada.

    The numbers shown in the chart are only for refugees – there are also over 34 million internally displaced people.




  • Canada has fewer refugees per capita than many other countries

    Canada has just about 4 refugees per 1,000 population, compared to more than 20 refugees per 1,000 in Jordan, Chad, Lebanon, Nauru, Turkey and South Sudan.

    Lebanon has 208 per 1,000!

    Other countries ahead of Canada include Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Malta and Austria. 

    Source: UNHCR, Mid-Year Trends, June 2015: Excel Annex tables, Table 14