Refugees' contributions in Canada

Refugees and their families make significant positive contributions to Canadian society, economically and socially, as leaders, artists, community workers and elders.

“Refugees that are actually employed, their incomes were on a par with economic immigrants, very much contradicting this notion that refugees are coming and acting as a drain for taxpayers and a drain on the Canadian economy” - Sharry Aiken, Professor of refugee law at Queen’s University

Many Canadians who came as refugees decades ago and who are now active members of society are eager to see Canada welcome Syrian refugees, as they were welcomed in the past:

"Canada’s generous and practical policy toward my family has been paid back many times over. My parents bought a house and became tax-paying, law-abiding citizens. My brother runs a high-tech company downtown Toronto and employs 20 people. And, yes, my dad paid back the loan for the airplane tickets." – Hamida Ghafour, former Toronto Star reporter

"A total of 11 of my parents' siblings were granted refugee status in Canada, the U.S. and Australia. And the children of these families have thrived, becoming doctors, teachers, ministers, engineers, pharmacists, urban designers, stock brokers and journalists. There isn't a closet Communist among them." – Judy Trinh, reporter with CBC Ottawa

“The Ugandan refugees that we brought in 1972, the Vietnamese boat people, the Czechoslovakian refugees in the late 1960s have all contributed immeasurably to the wealth, to the prosperity and to the community here in Canada.” - Naheed Nenshi, mayor of Calgary

Have you heard rumours that refugees in Canada receive greater assistance from the government than pensioners?

For several years, a persistent chain email has been circulating claiming that refugees receive significantly more money in income assistance than Canadians collecting a pension.  The information, which is based on a letter published in the Toronto Star, is false. The record has been set straight by the federal government and the Canadian Council for Refugees.

Refugees come to Canada in different ways, but no matter the category, refugees receive very limited income assistance from the government.


For more on refugees’ contributions in Canada, see:

Refugee crisis: Our compassion repairs their souls. Their passion remakes our country

Flight and Freedom: Stories of escape to Canada, Ratna Omidvar and Dana Wagner, 2015.

Refugees pay more income tax than millionaire investor immigrants, March 2015.