Canada is being both praised and criticized for its plans to bring Syrian refugees into the country. The liberal government highlighted its updated plans to see 10,000 admitted by December 31 and a 15,000 more by the end of February. The refugees will be a mixture of government and privately sponsored, with the Immigration Minister John McCallum reportedly saying that the total number could reach 50,000 by the end of 2016.
So what do we know about what Canada is doing for Syrian refugees? Here are four key points.
Canada will not reach its initial refugee target
After winning the election in October, the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attempted to make good on his campaign pledge to bring in 25,000 by the year’s end. But the government has since conceded that they will not reach this target, instead bringing in only 10,000 by December 31.
Priority will be given to families and LGBT refugees
This has been a controversial issue with many believing that discriminating against single men is unfair. The government has announced that Canada will prioritize full families, members of the LGBT community and vulnerable women.
Wind Mobile will offer free cell phones and service to refugees
A Canadian mobile carrier has teamed up with Hyla Mobile and NGO Lifeline Syria, and announced that “Syrian refugee families arriving in the Greater Toronto Area over the course of the next two years will be eligible to receive a mobile phone and two years of Wind service, free of charge.”
Checks will be carried out in advance of refugees arriving
Security checks will be carried before the refugees arrive in Canada. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said that screening includes “professional, personal interviews of each applicant.” Data will also be checked against US and Canadian databases. Goodale added, “If there is any doubt about an application,” he said, their application will be put aside and “held for further consideration.”