Canada’s immigration minister says 10,000 Syrian refugees will be “certified as Canadian permanent residents” by the end of this year, but there’s no guarantee that all of them will actually be in the country by then.
John McCallum said Wednesday he is “very confident” that a total of 25,000 refugees will be here before the end of February.
McCallum, who just returned from a trip to Jordan and Lebanon, said that 10,000 Syrian refugees will be processed for Canadian permanent residency by Dec. 31.
“The issue is whether all of those 10,000 Syrian refugees will have arrived in Canada, will have their feet on Canadian soil by Dec. 31,” McCallum told a news conference in Ottawa.
“I am convinced that by the end of the year, 10,000 or more Syrian refugees will be confirmed, certified as Canadian permanent residents.”
During the election campaign that brought him to power, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised that a Liberal government would bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada before the end of 2015.
That deadline was pushed back to the end of February last month.
McCallum said that he was “very confident” the government’s goal of resettling 25,000 Syrians in Canada before the end of February would be met.
McCallum also announced a government investment of $15 million to help local groups working on refugee resettlement efforts in Canada.
He said a flight carrying 298 Syrian refugees was “in the air” and will arrive in Montreal at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
He said the capacity at Montreal’s Trudeau Airport was two flights per day bringing in refugees, while Toronto’s Pearson Airport could handle three flights per day.
“I think Canadians are very much on side with our plan to bring in 25,000 refugees,” McCallum said. “We're taking the extra two months in order to make sure that we do it right.”
A first flight of privately sponsored Syrian refugees arrived in Toronto on Dec. 10.
Of the 1,869 Syrian refugees that have arrived in Canada since Nov. 4, 339 are government-assisted, 1,297 are privately sponsored and 233 are part of a blended VISA program, Dawn Edlund of the ministry said at the news conference.
Most of the 298 refugees on the Montreal-bound flight are privately sponsored and destined for resettlement in Quebec, Edlund added.
Another flight-load of refugees will be leaving the Middle East on Christmas Day and arriving in Canada on Dec. 26.
As of Dec. 21, 2,393 refugees held finalized applications but had not yet travelled to Canada, while 19,510 applications were in process, a government website read.