A local sponsor group says they’re frustrated by the delay in the process of bringing a Syrian refugee family to the Quinte area.
Canada is on the verge of receiving another surge of Syrians in order to meet its ambitious refugee admissions target by the end of 2016, though government officials haven’t confirmed timing.
As we reported in August, the executive director of Quinte Immigration Services, Orlando Ferro, said the Quinte area will welcome about 78 new Syrian refugee families through private sponsorship by the end of this year.
Belleville Syria Connection formed in 2015 and has committed to sponsor a Syrian Refugee family through the Federal Government’s Blended Visa Program to help them resettle in Belleville and adjust to life in Canada.
Melissa Wakeling of Belleville Syria Connection told Quinte News they selected a young couple and their four year old daughter in 2015. Originally from Northern Syria, the family fled Turkey along with millions of others trying to escape the conflict in Syria. Wakeling said initial documents from the federal government implied the family was travel ready. In January 2016, the group was told they could expect the family’s arrival within one to four months. BSC proceeded to hold a pair of fundraising events that raised over $20,000. As the expected arrival time drew nearer, an apartment was secured for the family through Kente Property Management.
Wakeling said it was after this that the group learned the family was not travel ready and still needed to complete security checks. She added that this news coincided with the Canadian government meeting the Syrian refugee targets established by Justin Trudeau and a scaling back of overseas operations for processing the Syrians, resulting in even more delays for the family.
Wakeling said timelines have been revised several times and are now vague and non-committal. Most recently she said Citizenship and Immigration Canada offered a replacement family.
Wakeling said they have opted to stay with their original family and are working with Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis to try and get a better handle on the delays.
Quitne News reached out to the ICI who stated they can’t divulge information about specific cases. However, they are looking into timelines and will report back. Our newsroom is also waiting for further comment from MP Ellis’ office.