Canadian Council for Refugees
2 November 2017
For immediate release
Multi-year immigration levels welcomed, but government commitment to refugees falls short
The Canadian Council for Refugees welcomed the federal government’s announcement of multi-year levels, including a gradual increase in overall immigration levels. However, the levels for refugees, particularly for Government-Assisted Refugees and for accepted refugee claimants, fall far short of what Canada can and should be doing.
“We are very disappointed to see Government-Assisted Refugee numbers remain stuck at the disappointing level of 7,500 in 2018, and only rising to 10,000 in 2020,” said Loly Rico, CCR President. “We welcome the increased numbers for Privately Sponsored Refugees, to address the backlog and to open the door for civil society to do more to respond to refugees. But Canada’s commitment to refugees must not be privatized: the government needs to take the lead by resettling more refugees than private citizens do. We are very concerned to see that the government is intending to resettle only half the number of Privately Sponsored refugees, especially as Government-Assisted Refugees are those identified by the UNHCR as the most vulnerable.”
The CCR is also very concerned to see that there is only a small increase in the levels for granting permanent residence to accepted refugee claimants and their family overseas. Given the increased numbers of claimants in recent months, the low levels mean that accepted refugees may face long delays before they can become permanent residents and reunite with their family members.
While the overall increase in levels is welcome, the CCR would like to see even higher targets. The CCR calls for levels of at least 1% of the population per year (i.e. at least 360,000).
For Canada to fully benefit from the many contributions that newcomers can make, integration support is crucial, including settlement services. The CCR urges the government to give access to federal settlement services to refugee claimants and Temporary Foreign Workers, who are among the most vulnerable. Most refugee claimants are accepted and settle in Canada, yet their integration is made more difficult because they are denied access to services in the crucial early days of their life in Canada.
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Colleen French, Communication Coordinator, 514-277-7223, ext.1, 514-602-2098 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org