B.C. prepares for refugee influx
Monday, October 26, 2015

If Justin Trudeau makes good on his commitment to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of the year, it will mean an almost threefold increase in the annual number of refugees to B.C. in the space of a couple of months.

That has people tasked with resettling refugees in Metro Vancouver scrambling to ensure the necessary services are in place.

B.C. typically receives between 800 and 900 government-assisted refugees each year, said Chris Friesen, settlement services director with the Immigrant Services Society of B.C., the organization charged with providing initial housing and orientation. Based on the share of Canada’s refugees B.C. usually receives, this province can expect an additional 2,000 before the end of the year if the Liberals make good on their promise, Friesen said, adding that he has not received a firm number or time frame from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. He expects to learn more details from the federal government early next week.

“We have already developed budgets, staffing models and systems for upwards of 1,500 government-assisted refugees, over and above what we currently receive, over a six-month period,” Friesen said. “If we’re talking two months, then we’re going to revisit that.”

Friesen said he has alerted Vancouver Coastal Health, Vancity, which handles bank accounts for new refugees, several municipal governments and the province about the potential mass arrival in the hope of formulating a co-ordinated response.

 

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Source: Vancouver Sun