February 11, 2016 6:53 pm
Updated: February 11, 2016 9:17 pm

‘Welcome Fund’ established to help settle Syrian refugees

WATCH ABOVE: A “Welcome Fund” for Syrian refugees has been established with financial support from the corporate community. As David Boushy reports, Calgary is the first city in Canada to receive to benefit from the fund.

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CALGARY – There’s new funding coming to help resettle Syrian refugees in Canada.

“Bringing 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada is the easy part,” Federal Immigration Minister John McCallum said in Calgary Thursday. “Finding homes for them is the challenge.”

The “Welcome Fund” was established by three corporate giants – Manulife, General Motors and CN Rail.  CN contributed $5M to the fund.

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“The more companies can step up, and the more quickly they can step up, the better it will be for all of these refugees to find a home in Canada,” McCallum said.

The first recipient of the fund is the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, which will receive $600,000.

“This injection of cash actually allows us to put people across Calgary, that has been one of our goals,” said Fariborz Birjandian, CEO of the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society. “About 500 to 600 people who will benefit from that immediately.”

Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi said the money will help larger families find homes.

“We have seen more very large families than we were expecting – families with many many children,” Nenshi said.

Several Syrian refugees, including an 88-year-old recent arrival to Canada, were at the news conference for the announcement.

“If their heart wasn’t very kind, these words would not come out of their mouths,” said Ibrihim Younus through a translator.

“God bless the Canadian people and the Canadian government,” said Layla Younus, Ibrihim’s daughter, also through a translator.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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