This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Refugee Sponsorship in Canada : Mutual Obligations

"Unlike any other refugee populations, social media and mobile applications are very commonly used by the Syrian refugees and the population who are actively connected to each other via mobile devices, specifically WhatsApp."
"Refugees were comparing what Syrian friends received in terms of services in other cities and provinces and requested equivalent services and support."
"Many partners and stakeholders were concerned about the [Syrian] youth group [which had experienced a lapse in their education and might find it a future challenge to both fit in to Canadian society and find employment]."
"The perception was that given the integration challenges mentioned above, this group could become disenfranchised and have a harder time developing a sense of belonging to their communities."
Government of Canada report
Syrian refugees line up at the processing centre in Amman, Jordan, where they will meet with Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) employees on Dec. 13, 2015.
Syrian refugees line up at the processing centre in Amman, Jordan, where they will meet with Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) employees on Dec. 13, 2015.  MCpl Bernie Kuhn / Canadian Forces

"If instances of sponsors asking refugees to pay for their own sponsorship come to our attention, we will investigate."
"However, we will not comment on any investigations which may be underway."
Remi Lariviere, Immigration Department spokesman

"Large-scale refugee movements place pressure on health-care systems, both in their immediate response and as part of long-term resettlement efforts."
"As Syrians integrate into Canada, meeting their longer-term, health-care needs will call for a seamless network of health-care providers, supported by community partners."
"[Some children arrived with illnesses including cancers, seizures and developmental disorders. Malnutrition and children with intellectual disabilities were also observed at a rate higher than in the general Canadian population]."
"[In Toronto, more than 500 dental emergencies were addressed. Patients of all ages had severe mouth diseases, unable to sleep or eat because of pain.]"  
Canadian Communicable Disease Report study

A recently published government study began with an evaluation by the Immigration Department of the refugee program to settle Syrians through privately sponsored programs which saw 8,918 refugees arriving in Canada between November 2014 and March of 2017, of whom 581 wee interviewed. Twenty-three of those surveyed stated they had paid for the completion of their sponsorship application or for the provision of their personal support in Canada; in some instances being asked to give payment.

This is an illegal situation since private sponsorship groups are not meant to accept or to require that any funds be supplied by a refugee for submitting a sponsorship. It is not just Syrians, according to the report, who have ended up paying sponsors. Privately sponsored refugees arriving from elsewhere in the world surveyed for a previously-undertaken study had divulged that 19 of 451 refugees that paid for their sponsorship, as well. On the other hand, on a private note, it seems entirely reasonable if the refugees have the financial wherewithal, that they be expected to help support themselves.

In the evaluation of the first wave of Syrians documentation comparable with other refugee groups, it was divulged that some Syrians are less educated and are possessed of a more meagre proficiency of one of the two Canadian official languages, both indices which are meant to identify ideal characteristics for welcoming immigrants and refugees to Canada. Syrians, through this enquiry, were also revealed to have larger families and a lower state of awareness of Canadian rights and freedoms than refugees from other groups.

All of which might mark them as less than ideal candidates for migration to and absorption into Canadian society. These are also recognized factors that contribute to additional settlement challenges, (as, for example, a greater financial investment in supporting larger families) which, when added to the popularity among Syrian refugees of social media, has resulted in an additional complication; the expectation among Syrian refugees to Canada of certain services that they feel they are entitled to.

It was also established that only ten percent of adult government-assisted Syrian refugees had found employment, a number which government officials feel to be comparable with other refugee population groups assisted by government for settlement in Canada. September marked the 13th month of the initial group of refugees being situated in Canada, significant since refugees can expect financial support from the federal government or private sponsors for a twelve-month period before they are expected to become independent.

Those not yet self-supporting theoretically can ask for provincial social assistance, to receive welfare  benefits. The estimate is that from March 2017 approximately 1,890 to 2,005 Syrian adults would be eligible to access provincial welfare. The burden on the Canadian taxpayer, from the moment the estimated 40,000 Syrian refugees entered Canada and received financial support for housing, food, medical care, language and job training and education, straining all public welfare systems in the process, now extends to funding in some of the same spheres through provincial welfare.

But it is the future trajectory of the capacity of the Syrian refugees to accept Canadian cultural and social values, to join the mainstream of self-sufficient and law-abiding citizenry that will represent the true test of the wisdom of bringing in to a country dedicated to equality, fundamental human rights entitlements, protection of rights and freedoms, a pluralistic society and economic opportunities having succeeded or failed.

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