Canada says it may not reach 2015 refugee intake target

Canadian immigration minister announces Canada may not achieve its 10,000 Syrian refugee goal assuring that government will meet its “fundamental target” of 25,000 by February

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Canada's Immigration Minister John McCallum speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, Canada November 24, 2015

Speaking at a press conference in Ottawa on Wednesday, the Canadian Immigration Minister John McCallum stated that Canada may not achieve its goal to take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2015.

He said, "I am convinced that, by the end of the year, 10,000 or more Syrian refugees will be confirmed, certified as Canadian permanent residents. The issue is whether all of those 10,000 Syrian refugees will have arrived in Canada, will have their feet on Canadian soil by December 31."

Canadian government arrange five flights per day to carry refugees. However, weather conditions and human error hamper the efforts to achieve the target.

“The human element and the weather element make it impossible to guarantee the 10,000 will have arrived on Canadian soil by the end of this month but we are working very hard to achieve it,” McCallum said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government promised during his election campaign to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees by January 1, 2016, but the Paris terror attacks triggered security concerns.

According to the figures released by the government, around 1,800 Syrian refugees have entered in Canadian soil so far, and more than 8,000 others have been cleared to be settled in the country.

McCallum added that he is sure the government will achieve its 25,000 refugee intake target by the end of February 2016 saying “One thing I can say with certainty is that our fundamental target will be hit. That is to say, before the end of February, 25,000 Syrian refugees will have landed in Canada as permanent residents."

"We are sticking to our target of 10,000 by the end of the year, but there are challenges and it's less possible to guarantee that than it is the 25,000 target, but we are still committed to it and we are still working very hard to achieve it," he continued.

Syrian refugees are greeted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on their arrival from Beirut at the Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada December 11, 2015

Despite Canada’s failure in refugee target, Trudeau who personally greeted the first Syrian refugees to arrive in Toronto on December 11 urged Canadians to warmly welcome Syrian refugees in his first Christmas address as the prime minister.

“This year, Canadians are welcoming thousands of Syrian refugees to our country – people who have been forced to flee their homeland due to war and conflict,” he said.

“I encourage all Canadians to show them a warm holiday welcome in keeping with our values of compassion, kindness, and generosity.”

TRTWorld and agencies