During the recent election campaign Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged that Canada would admit 25,000 government sponsored Syrian refugees by the end of 2015.
However, logistical challenges have started to appear as the task of admitting such numbers will likely require air travel, government personnel, medical doctors, housing, and food and settlement assistance.
Refugee advocates are bracing for an extension of the year-end deadline as well as a reduction in the number of refugees that will be admitted by year end. Citizenship and Immigration Canada said it was “premature” to comment on how this transfer might work, until the appointment of the department’s new immigration minister which took place last week.
Each year Canada admits about 7,500 government assisted refugees, who are met by non-governmental organizations and staff that help with orientation and place them in temporary housing. If this number is to be increased to 25,000 over the next two months, even though these organizations are aware of what needs to be done, their capacity will certainly face challenges that have not been felt in more than 40 years. What is clear is that any operation will be complicated.
Many believe Canada’s response under the previous government to the Syrian refugee crisis has been far been poor. The task ahead will now require a political will and logistical planning from the Trudeau government that will entail participation from multiple ministries, including the Canadian military.