Families and groups across Canada have spent time and money to sponsor Syrian refugees to their country. Now the federal government is saying it could be the end of 2016 or even 2017 before they are granted entry to Canada.
A group of residents in the town of Collingwood, Ontario, are counting themselves lucky after learning that one of two Syrian refugee families they are sponsoring will be arriving in Canada within the next eight weeks.
The Syrian family bound for Collingwood — one girl and four boys under the age of 12, along with their parents — will be coming from Ankara, Turkey. The mother is said to be pregnant with a sixth child due some time in June.
But hundreds of Canadians who responded to the government’s plea for help in resettling Syrian families continue to grow frustrated with the slow pace of arrivals.
Some 1,053 privately sponsored refugees and 284 blended visa office-referred refugees have been approved for sponsorship as of March 29 but have yet to arrive in Canada, said department spokeswoman Bourque.
The Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada told CBC News last Friday the government had put in place “additional resources and special measures” to bring a further 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada, but only for a temporary time. “We know refugees and sponsors are disappointed that expedited processing is not continuing, but the accelerated pace of recent months could not be sustained indefinitely,” spokeswoman Jennifer Bourque said in response to an inquiry from CBC News.