Can Canada duplicate its boat people rescue with Syrian refugees? | The Toronto Star
Published on Sep 26 2014
SPECIAL TO THE STAR
A core concern is the fact private refugee sponsorships, so successful in the “boat people” crisis, have atrophied and become the preserve of faith-based communities, ethnic and cultural groups.
They want to expand the base of people involved in sponsorships, creating more opportunities for groups such as book clubs, neighbourhood associations or unions, to become involved.
Under existing programs, 90 per cent of private sponsorships in Canada are through faith-based groups and involve refugees already in Canada who are trying to bring relatives here.
The task force’s first report notes that the relatives already in Canada assume responsibility for much, if not all, of the cost as well as human support required, with the sponsors (usually the supporting church groups) acting as passive guarantors.”
The group called for a separate new family reunification program to allow refugees to reunite with relatives who are overseas and in need of protection. But it also called for the creation of an “insurance” fund to back up refugee reunification sponsorships in cases where a sponsoring family needs temporary financial assistance.
A reunification program would cost little but, most important, it would free up private sponsorship groups to refocus their attention on new crises like Syria. That could improve the refugee system’s flexibility and make it easier to respond quickly to a crisis. ..."