Canada’s unique refugee programme

Canada’s private sponsorship programme is the oldest and best known in the world. Its implementation coincided with another conflict four decades ago.

The new policy came into force in 1978 under former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s government, just as people were growing increasingly alarmed at the plight of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians fleeing communist regimes by sea in leaking, unsafe boats.

The programme, overseen by the federal government, allows groups of private citizens – often with ties to faith-based organisations, cultural groups or humanitarian organisations – to directly sponsor refugees. ….

From January 1979 to December 1980, Canada resettled 60,049 so-called “boat people.” More than 50%, were privately sponsored, often by complete strangers. ….

Since last November, Canada has welcomed over 30,000 Syrian refugees. Almost 11,300 were brought in through private sponsorship.

Jessica Murphy, “The unique programme that brings refugees to Canada“, BBC News, 20 September 2016.

There is much more – including video – at the link. It is worth noting that the USA, with ten times the population of Canada, has accepted fewer than 10,000 Syrian refugees.


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