Canada is nowhere near to meeting its goal of welcoming 81,000 refugees by the end of 2021, according to numbers obtained by CBC News.
Figures provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) show the department was about halfway to its refugee intake target on Oct. 31.
As of that date, Canada had welcomed more than 7,800 government-assisted refugees, well below the federal government’s target of 12,500. Canada had accepted just 4,500 privately sponsored refugees; the intake target for privately sponsored refugees was 22,500.
IRCC also recorded more than 32,000 refugees who qualified as protected persons — those who request asylum after entering the country — which was substantially below its target of 45,000.
In a media statement, IRCC said global migration has been upended by the pandemic and the entire resettlement system is operating at reduced capacity.
t said refugees now often face tougher travel restrictions in their home countries — making it harder for them to get out — while international partners like the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations Refugee Agency lost time to pandemic-related shutdowns. In this era of upheaval, we continue to live up to our dedication, reputation and obligation by continuing to help the world’s most vulnerable find refuge, IRCC said, adding that it had helped to resettle about a third of the global refugee population in 2020.
For Bashar Jazmati — who has been waiting for permission to bring himself and his family to Canada as refugees since 2019 — the long wait has meant years of fear and uncertainty.
He escaped the everyday street violence of Syria and made it to Kuwait in 2015; his family joined him in 2017. He described what was like trying to raise a small child in the middle of a civil war in 2015 — like the daily walk with his toddler daughter that was interrupted by loud bursts of gunfire.