Canada’s refugee problems and programs
Posted by Judy K. Warner on March 8, 2008
A report from London, Ontario, bemoans the lack of services for refugees. The woman the reporter chooses to highlight their plight has to have the worst refugee story I’ve ever read. The woman was kidnapped as a 17-year-old nursing student in Congo, and watched while the men killed her friend and ate her flesh. They cut a piece out of this woman’s leg; her life was saved only because they didn’t like the taste of her flesh.
Naturally, she suffers from severe psychiatric problems. So do many, perhaps most, refugees. Canada’s famed national medical system cannot cope. (On the other hand, could any system cope with such deep trauma?)
The article includes a helpful summary of Canada’s refugee program:
WHAT CANADA DOES
- Through Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the federal government spends $44.5 million a year on its Resettlement Assistance Program, it’s humanitarian response to the world’s refugee crises.
- Each year, Canada accepts between 7,300 and 7,500 government-assisted refugees, who receive settlement services and monthly financial support for one year after they arrive.
- Before 2002, those with serious medical conditions were not eligible, but a change of legislation that year opened the program to the world’s most vulnerable refugees. Those with high medical needs are often accepted through Ottawa’s Joint Assistance Program, and generally receive two years of financial assistance while a private organization such as a church assists.
- Canada also accepts about 4,500 privately sponsored refugees each year.
- London’s Cross Cultural Learner Centre accepts and helps settle about 400 refugees a year. About 275 of them come through as government-assisted refugees.
Here is a nice little point: Canada has a population of about 33 million. The United States has about 300 million people, about ten times as many.
Canada’s government accepts and funds about 7,300 refugees each year. The U.S. figure is 70,000, about ten times as many.
Same per capita number. Yet:
Through its Resettlement Assistance Program, Canada accepts more than 7,000 refugees in dire need of resettlement each year — a $44.5-million humanitarian response to suffering refugees.
Because of this program, Canada is regarded internationally as being one of the more compassionate countries, says Susan McGrath, head of York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies.
Hmm, are we regarded as compassionate, internationally?
I’d like to know more about those additional 4,500 privately sponsored refugees. Apparently they come in without government assistance. It would be interesting to know how that works, and how those refugees fare compared with the government ones.
Finally, these numbers are definitive evidence that the report we concluded was false last month, Canada planning to take 85,000 refugees from Kenya, was truly the product of someone’s fevered brain.
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