Province Sets Up Special Fund to Assist Syrian Refugees
Prince George, B.C.- B.C. Premier Christy Clark has announced this Province is setting up a special fund to assist Syrian refugees.
Reflecting on the tragedy that gripped the world last week when the body of a 3 year old Alan Kurdi washed up on the shore of Turkey, Premier Clark says $1 million dollars will be dedicated to help community groups fill the gaps and ensure those who come from Syria have the support they need.
Clark choked back tears as she reflected on the image of Alan Kurdi “A tiny little figure on the beach.”
“It is just not good enough to only open our doors, We have to make sure that when refugees get here that we’re doing everything that we can to help them realize the Canadian dream and find their way seamlessly into British Columbian society.”
B.C. cannot determine how many refugees can come to Canada, that is a Federal decision, but Clark says this province wants to be prepared to ensure those who want to come to B.C. can make a seamless transition. They may need trauma counselling, or languages services and employment placement says Clark.
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.
Clark says there are thousands of individuals, churches and community groups across the province who have already indicated they want to sponsor refugees.
A special toll free number has been established to help those who want to sponsor a refugee navigate the process. That number is 1 877 952-6914
Clark says she doesn’t know how many refugees can be supported by that $1 million dollars but it will be added to the $4 million B.C. already contributes to the federal refugee fund.