Are Canadians Serious About Syria?

Give me the Bullets

  • Canada has welcomed 30,000+ Syrian refugees since November 2015
  • 316 Canadian communities have accepted refugees
  • Experts calculate 470,000+ deaths due to the Syrian conflict

The Basics

Syria’s been in a civil war for more than five years—and things haven’t been improving. Nearly half of Syrians are homeless, and many of those affected are children. People are desperately trying to flee Syria in hopes of survival. How does Canada fit in? The Liberal government pledged to help Syrians in need.

Can We Start From the Beginning?

Well, we won’t go all the way back—but we can start with the Arab Spring in 2011.
If your memory’s a bit fuzzy, here’s a refresher: The Arab Spring was a series of revolutionary uprisings across the Middle East. In Syria, this involved peaceful protests that became violent when government forces began to crack down on protestors.

Rebel forces started to organize and fight back against the hard-line regime, setting the stage for today’s full-blown civil war and humanitarian crisis. Syria is not a good place to be—and many families are trying to leave.

Who’s at Risk?

Short answer: Too many people. The conflict and refugee crisis continues to dominate headlines—and the civil war rages on. Thousands of families have been forced to leave their homes in search of safety. In fact, The United Nations estimates that 6.5 million people have been displaced as a result of conflict. Nearly 5 million Syrians have registered as refugees, and experts think the death toll has topped 470,000 people since the war began in 2011.

How Does Canada Fit In?

The Syrian refugee crisis was a major campaign issue for Justin Trudeau. He promised to bring 25,000 government-sponsored refugees to Canada, and the Liberals met their goal in February 2016 and have gone on to exceed their target. There are 30,000+ Syrian refugees in Canada and 20,000+ applications in process. More than 316 communities in Canada have welcomed—and helped to resettle—Syrian families.

How Do Canada’s Efforts Compare?

Canada has exceeded our government’s goal, but it’s lower than Middle Eastern and European countries. Turkey has taken in the most refugees of any country at 1.9 million with Lebanon absorbing the highest number of asylum-seekers per-capita compared to its population size. Lifeline Syria estimates that nearly 400,000 refugees have arrived in Europe this year, with the majority settling in Germany and Sweden.

Are Refugees Screened Before They Arrive in Canada?

Yes. When a refugee is identified for resettlement in Canada, they’re carefully screened to ensure they’re healthy and law-abiding. Security agencies like the Canada Border Services Agency work with the federal government to process these claims. More details: Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

How Can I Help?

We’re glad you asked. There are many ways that Canadians can help Syrians, and make a huge impact on their lives. Here are three ways to get involved:

For more details on how you can help, visit Citizenship and Immigration Canada.