Federal and provincial immigration ministers are meeting in Ottawa this week regarding the ongoing plan to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada in the coming months.
Saskatchewan’s Immigration Minister Jeremy Harrison is there and, despite calling the meetings productive, confirms there is still no clear direction from the federal government.
“As of yet we still have not been given clear answers in terms of the exact time and the numbers we could be expecting,” he said in a phone call from Ottawa Wednesday.
The City of Regina has announced five refugees will arrive this month as part of the private sponsorships that were already under way. Ten thousand more are expected across the country. Harrison said even the timeline for that is still unclear.
“We don’t actually even know how many privately sponsored refugees will be arriving in the next month … We haven’t had any update on them since Nov. 19.”
Harrison praised the federal government for a commitment providing resources and funding for English-as-a-second-language training for newly-arrived refugees.
“We see that as vitally important. Languages skills are one of the most indicative and most important aspects of settlement outcome success.”
Despite that commitment, Harrison contends what they need to know is how many Syrian refugees will be here in Saskatchewan, and when they will arrive.