Ottawa exempts Syrian refugees from controversial loan program
Monday, December 7, 2015

As the federal government ramps up efforts to take in thousands of Syrian refugees, Ottawa has confirmed it will not ask displaced migrants from the war-torn country to pay back the cost of bringing them to Canada.

In response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Middle East, last week the Liberal government announced plans to welcome 25,000 refugees from Syria by the end of February, and at least 10,000 more by the end of 2016.

Normally, if refugees can’t afford the necessary transportation or medical screening to come to Canada, they are offered a loan under the federal immigration loans program, and required to pay it back with interest. According to the Canadian Council for Refugees, the loans can be up to $10,000 per family.

In an email to the Star on Sunday, Line Patry, a spokeswoman for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship said the government had decided to waive the loans for incoming Syrian refugees because the humanitarian situation in that country is so dire. A civil war that has raged there since 2011 has displaced more than 4 million people.

 

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Source: The Star