Recognizing the severity of the global humanitarian crisis in Syria, the Government of British Columbia is creating a $1-million readiness fund for Syrian refugees settling in B.C.
The fund is a one-time investment intended to complement existing provincial and federal support services for refugees. It will enhance existing provincial refugee programs and provide additional resources for private sponsors who are working to bring these refugees to B.C.
The Province will work with settlement agencies, community groups and private sponsors to make sure these funds are used to achieve the best outcomes for these refugees. Specifically the funds will be used for:
- Counselling – trauma counselling through a range of psycho-social supports.
- “Groups of Five” private sponsorship supports – A “Group of Five” is made up of private citizens who come together to sponsor a refugee. These funds will assist these private sponsors to help navigate the refugee-sponsorship process.
- Community-level supports – help for local governments that will be settling Syrian refugees so there will be a welcoming community for these newcomers.
- Foreign Credential Recognition – many Syrians will arrive in Canada with work experience and credentials from their home country. Funds will be available for B.C.-based professional associations to quickly and fairly review and approve their foreign credentials so they can start working in B.C.
- Employer supports - funds to help businesses and existing immigrant settlement organizations employ, train and mentor Syrian refugees. These funds will also provide matching funds to employers who train and commit to hire a Syrian refugee.
For any questions about existing supports available for refugees or to learn more about how this fund can be used to help, community groups and private sponsors can call 1 877 952-6914.
Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia –
“Our hearts go out to the Kurdi family and to all Syrian refugees suffering in this crisis. B.C. wants to help and though we have limited say in who comes to our province, we can do a lot to support Syrian refugees and all newcomers when they arrive. This new fund will help get them the supports they need to adjust to their new life, find work and integrate into our province.”
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour –
“Everyone who has seen the photos of Syrian refugees fleeing their country or who has heard their stories has been moved to want to help. We know that helping refugees integrate into British Columbia when they get here is one of the best ways we can help them. Our province is ready to welcome these newcomers and this readiness fund will allow us to respond quickly when the need arises by working through the support groups already connected with refugees.”
Patricia Woroch, CEO, Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia –
“The groundswell of interest in the Syrian refugee crisis by British Columbians over the past week has been both remarkable and inspiring. As we prepare to receive increased numbers of refugees here in B.C., we need to review our capacity and infrastructure to support their future integration into this Province. We look forward to working collaboratively with the Province to provide the best possible start as refugees, so they can rebuild their lives now and in the future.”