Canada Announces 3 New Initiatives To Welcome, Support More Refugees


Canada has announced three new initiatives to welcome and support more refugees as the world is facing a refugee crisis.

This coincides with World Refugee Day on Sunday.

Canada welcomed nearly half of all refugees resettled around the world in 2020, read a news release. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently called Canada “a bright light in a horrible year for refugee resettlement.”

In advance of World Refugee Day, Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, met with UNHCR’s representative in Canada, Rema Jamous Imseis, to announce 3 new initiatives to assist even more refugees.

These important steps will help Canada offer asylum to more people who need it, welcome more refugees through new channels, and increase support to those welcomed through community sponsorship.

Launched in 2018, the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP) is a ground-breaking initiative that recognizes the talents and skills of refugees by welcoming them through economic immigration streams. This not only allows Canada to welcome more refugees, but also flips the stereotype of refugees as solely victims by demonstrating all that they contribute to our country. Today, the Minister announced a new policy that will help settle 500 refugees and their families.

The new measures will improve the EMPP process by

  • expediting the processing of permanent residence applications for EMPP applicants in several streams, so they can start working and contributing faster
  • making it easier for refugees under EMPP to get settlement funds
  • waiving fees for permanent residence applications
  • making the application process more flexible
  • providing pre-departure medical services to assist with immigration medical exams

Despite the many challenges of the pandemic, Canada’s asylum levels have remained stable. We are now building on this success by increasing the number of protected persons we’ll welcome this year from 23,500 to 45,000. We will also expedite the processing of applications, meaning that more protected persons can quickly become permanent residents and put down roots in their communities.

Currently, there are over 40,000 protected persons and their dependents residing in Canada with open permanent residence applications. In 2021, almost 17,900 protected persons became permanent residents.

Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program is a world-leading initiative, helping us welcome more refugees and better equipping them for lasting success. Since it began over 5 decades ago, private sponsors have welcomed more than 350,000 refugees to Canada. This program is now emulated all over the world, from the United Kingdom and the European Union to New Zealand, and the US has committed to creating one as well.

To further strengthen this program, IRCC recently launched a national call for proposals to improve existing pre- and post-arrival support services for private sponsors and ensure refugees take full advantage of the assistance offered to them. As a result of this process, up to $3 million over 2 years will be invested in supporting 9 organizations.

“Today, on World Refugee Day, we join the international community to recognize all those who have been forced to flee their homelands. We honour their strength and courage, acknowledge the profound hardships they have endured, and reaffirm our commitment to protect and support them,” Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, said in a statement.


“In their search for a safe place to call home, refugees and other forcibly displaced people face immense loss, barriers, and trauma. While trying to rebuild their lives, they often suffer hunger, despair, and uncertainty. Many struggles to find a doctor when they are sick, a school for their children, or a space for them to play, make friends, and feel like they belong,” he added.


“This year’s theme, ‘Together we heal, learn and shine,’ calls on us all to renew our support for refugees by improving their access to quality health care and education. Echoing the Global Compact on Refugees, this year’s theme also reminds us of the importance of inclusion, and ensuring that all people, including refugees from diverse backgrounds, have access to the spaces they need to learn and thrive. Canada recognizes the importance of inclusion and diversity, and has a long-standing tradition of promoting these values through our international assistance, resettlement, and integration efforts.


“Canada has a proud humanitarian tradition of protecting the world’s most vulnerable people and, today, we continue to open our borders and our hearts to those seeking safety and refuge from persecution and violence. In 2019, Canada resettled more than 30,000 refugees and was the world’s top refugee resettlement country for the second year in a row. Last year, despite challenges and travel restrictions related to COVID-19, Canada resettled over 9,200 refugees from coast to coast to coast. This year, we will launch a dedicated refugee stream for human rights defenders at risk, which will enable Canada to become one of the first countries to offer dedicated protection spaces to this population of refugees. As announced earlier this year, to better support family reunification, we will also be resettling up to 250 extended family members of survivors of Daesh currently in Canada.


“Guided by the Feminist International Assistance Policy, we continue to place emphasis on the needs of women and girls, and to put forward concrete and timely initiatives to promote human rights, gender equality, dignity, and peace and security. In this spirit, Canada looks forward to becoming Chair of the Central America and Mexico Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (MIRPS) Support Platform next month. In that role, we will continue to champion the protection and meaningful participation of displaced women and girls on the international stage. We will also continue to work with the international community and the United Nations to provide international protection and assistance to refugees and find lasting and dignified solutions for them and other forcibly displaced peoples.


Quick facts

  • Throughout the pandemic, Canada is one of few countries that never closed its doors and continued to resettle refugees.
  • In 2018, Canada committed to resettling 10,000 refugees from Africa and the Middle East by 2020. Despite COVID-19 challenges and travel restrictions, Canada delivered on its Middle East commitment, and will soon do so for Africa.
  • In 2019, Canada resettled more than 30,000 refugees. Refugee resettlement during the pandemic has been limited by many factors, including travel restrictions. Despite these challenges, we welcomed over 9,200 refugees in 2020.
  • In December 2020, Canada started to accept applications for permanent residence from pending and unsuccessful refugee claimants who worked in Canada’s health care sector and provided direct care to patients during the pandemic. As of May 29, 2021, approximately 4,345 applications had been received.
  • Refugees who face immediate risks may be resettled under Canada’s Urgent Protection Program. This program provides expedited resettlement to refugees whose life, liberty or safety is immediately threatened.
  • In July, the Government of Canada will become the second Chair of the Central America and Mexico Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (MIRPS) Support Platform. Canada will champion the issue of protection, meaningful participation and the empowerment of displaced women and girls. This theme will provide opportunities for Canadian leadership in putting women, girls and those vulnerable to gender-based violence, including LGBTQ2 communities, at the heart of solutions.


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