It’s no small feat to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees, but the Liberal government has pledged to do just that. The newcomers will be placed across the country, with 10,000 to arrive by the end of 2015 and a further 15,000 by the end of February.
There are options for sponsoring a refugee, which come with a commitment of providing emotional and financial support for at least one year. You can donate money, with the Canadian government matching eligible donations until the end of the year (capped at $100 million) via the Syrian Emergency Relief Fund.
Here’s how you can help settle Canada’s new residents:
The Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia (servicing Metro Vancouver, Squamish and the Okanagan) is a one-stop shop for people looking to volunteer in areas such a office support, helping families and individual to settle, and crisis counseling.
The agency also provide assistance to those offering accommodation or employment opportunities for refugees, and works with community agencies coordinating donations of items such as winter clothing and household items.
The Muslim Food Bank is another B.C. organization working with people who want to help refugees with housing, donations, employment and more via its emergency Syrian refugees assistance program.
The Calgary Catholic Immigration Society is “the only agency in Southern Alberta with a federal mandate to provide services for these refugees” and its services range from welcoming refugees at the Calgary International Airport to providing temporary accommodation to helping newcomers adjust to life in Canada.
The organization relies on an army of volunteers and is currently seeking interpreters and others to help settle refugees. You will receive a tax receipts for financial donations.
The Saskatchewan Cares program shows people the best way they can help refugees. Its website is full of links and resources for people in the province to donate, get factual information about the situation and to offer other support.
The I Will Help Regina and I will Help Saskatoon Facebook pages are full of posts regarding care packages, potlucks, airport welcomes and other initiatives being run by residents who want to help. Pages can also be found for St. John’s, Montreal, Winnipeg, Prince Albert, Calgary and Edmonton.
If you think you have an employment opportunity for a Syrian refugee, the Immigrant Centre of Manitoba would like to speak with you. The organization is seeking volunteers for a number of roles, with a particular need for interpreters and translators. Unwrapped toys, clothing and non-perishable food items are also accepted.
Furniture donations can go to Hands of Hope.
You can contact the Syrian Assembly of Manitoba to help organize a fundraising event for refugees. The organization also offers assistance in areas such as childcare, transportation and interpretation and translation services. Donations of coats and boots are also accepted.
Toronto Mayor John Tory led by example when he announced he was helping to sponsor a refugee family; Toronto-based group Lifeline Syria is helping make sponsorship more accessible for others by recruiting, training and assisting sponsor groups to support 1,000 Syrian refugees coming to Canada.
WATCH: Peterborough group hopes to sponsor Syrian refugee family
The Archdiocese of Toronto launched Project Hope back in September to with the goals of raising $3 million and of helping resettle 100 refugee families in the GTA.
The Furniture Bank will accept your donations of items and funds to help furnish the homes of newcomers.
Winter clothing donations are being accepted on Wednesday, Nov. 25, at the main entrance of the Jewish General Hospital (3755 Côte-Sainte-Catherine Street) and on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at the main entrance of the CLSC Côte-des-Neiges (5700 Côte-des-Neiges Street).
The Regional Program for the Settlement and Integration of Asylum Seekers (PRAIDA) and the YMCA Residence will also be collecting winter gear over the next two weeks.
Anyone wishing to help with donations of clothes, furniture and appliances or to volunteer their time – especially those with language skills – can get in touch with organizations like Action Réfugiés Montréal.
New Brunswick resident can call 1-855-444-6554 to find out how they can help incoming Syrian refugees. Callers will need to leave contact information and details of what sort of support they are able to provide.
The Immigration Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) will help willing sponsors through the process. ISANS also accepts volunteers and donations.
The Association for New Canadians in St. John’s accepts donations of funds along with items such as beds, kitchen appliances and electronics.
Here is a list of additional organizations committed to helping refugees here in Canada: