The long view of Canada’s refugee resettlement policies is explored in a Open Arms, Open Hearts, Canada’s (Belated) Response to Syrian Refugees. This is a blog by Louisa Taylor in The Migrationist. In the larger world, Canada’s effort to resettle 25,000 refugees in the past 3 months is far from a comprehensive solution to the massive humanitarian crisis. But it’s a significant effort for a country like Canada. This article tells how Canadians were moved to take on the challenge, our history of refugee response and the unique program of private sponsorship that encourages the Canadian public to take part in welcoming newcomers.
Private sponsorship was previously something of a fringe activity, something a few hundred groups sprinkled across the country did with quiet dedication in the face of ever-increasing bureaucratic hurdles and ridiculously long wait times. Now the government is speeding up the sponsorship process and publicly singing the praises of refugee sponsors, and their ranks have grown into the tens of thousands.