Eight steps to get more Syrian refugees into Canada: Adelman, Alboim, Molloy and Cappe

Best and most comprehensive advice I have seen so far from Howard Adelman, Naomi Alboim, Mike Molloy and Mel Cappe:

1. The government should authorize the admission of Syrian refugees under a special program without the need for individual determination by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or another state. This has been done for other major refugee movements in the past. This one step would expedite the selection of refugees and reduce the paperwork burden for sponsor groups.

2. The actual number and time frame will have to be negotiated or determined by the government when elected in October, but the method for speeding up the process must be introduced as soon as possible. We believe that it is not unrealistic to call for 25,000 government-assisted and 25,000 privately sponsored Syrian refugees to be admitted each year for the next two years.

3. The vast majority of Syrian refugees should be resettled to Canada from four target countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt . This will relieve the pressure on these countries of first asylum and will reduce the desperation that is compelling people to risk their lives to get to Europe.

4. First priority should be given to displaced Syrian families with children in the four target countries. These would include families with significant Canadian connections, which would include relatives of Canadian citizens or of permanent residents. The fundamental rule (applied during the Indochinese movement) would be that extended family groups that have fled or taken refuge together would be processed and travel to Canada together. Families would not be broken up.

5. In addition to those with significant Canadian connections, the new program should target (but would not be restricted to) cases referred by the UNHCR.

6. Canadian visa offices in the field should be reinforced significantly and instructed to accelerate the selection rate for refugees referred by the UNHCR or with Canadian connections so that they can be referred to both the large umbrella sponsor groups (sponsorship-agreement holders) and local sponsor groups (groups of five) in large numbers expeditiously.

7. An increased number of government-assisted refugees should be selected from the pool of refugees referred by the UNHCR or other reputable agencies and should be destined to communities with reinforced agencies providing immigrant and refugee services. Humanitarian considerations should be paramount and provision should be made for hardship cases and those most in need.

8. Early outreach to employers will be essential; the temporary foreign worker program for low-skilled workers should be severely curtailed, freeing up jobs for incoming refugees.

Now is the time for all political parties to demonstrate to Canadians that they can work together to address a crisis of enormous proportions and to reclaim our leadership role on the world stage that reflects our values as a caring and compassionate society. We have the experience and expertise. We did it before and we can do it again. All we need now is the political will.

Can Canada duplicate its boat people rescue with Syrian refugees? | Toronto Star

Fascinating history of Canada’s response to the Vietnamese boat people and the people involved from both the government and non-government sides. Well worth reading and reflecting upon, and their suggestions for refugees by connecting sponsored cases with businesses relying on low-skilled Temporary Foreign Workers:

Three and a half decades later, Adelman, Molloy and Alboim wondered if the courage and leadership that characterized the boat people rescue effort could be transferred to the Syrian refugee crisis.

They established a three-person task force to develop new strategies for refugee resettlement in Canada and crisscrossed the country talking to a variety of experts. In three reports discussing possible policies, they outlined projects that might revitalize refugee resettlement.

Their goal was ambitious: “to improve family reunification for refugees already in Canada, expand the pool of Canadians willing to sponsor refugees, improve the quality of support for government-assisted refugees and enhance labour market integration of refugees admitted to Canada under various resettlement programs.”

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.

Can Canada duplicate its boat people rescue with Syrian refugees? | Toronto Star.