Canada fulfills promise and accepts 25,000 refugees

Canada has met self-imposed goal to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a baby during an event to mark the 20th Anniversary of Black History Month in Canada on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, February 24, 2016.

Canadian Prime Minister has fulfilled his promise to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees, given during election campaigns in October 2015, on Sunday. 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum tweeted after a charter flight carrying refugees landed in Montreal, on Saturday, "25,000 reasons why Canadians should be proud today #WelcomeRefugees."

Justin Trudeau had made a campaign pledge to take in 25,000 Syrian refugees from Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey before the end of 2015. But his Liberal government delayed the target for two months after taking office in elections of October.

Canada has chartered around a hundred flights from Lebanon and Jordan since December.

According to Canadian immigration authorities, the government's resettlement program will cover costs for more than half of the refugees during their first year. Private groups or a combination of both will cover the rest.

Nearly 250 Canadian cities and towns have taken in refugees so far.

Canada applies heavy security and criminal checks besides a medical exam, making a selection process for asylum quite competent, as details are given in Canadian government's webpage.

Canada plans to take in some 12,000 more refugees by the end of year 2016, under a program jointly run with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The UNHCR has contacted nearly 70,000 Syrians living in refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan, half of them said they were interested in going to Canada.

A Syrian refugee father holds his daughter while he and hundreds of others line up at the Greek-Macedonian border February 27, 2016 as the border crossing is reopened briefly near the Greek village of Idomeni.

The Refugee crisis became a political issue in Canada during election campaigns, that ended with Trudeau’s victory in October.

After a photograph of the drowned Syrian baby Aylan Kurdi on a Turkish beach, whose family had earlier applied for asylum in Canada but turned down, became popular and captured international attention, resulting political parties in Canada competing over the number of refugees the country should accept.