How true is it? Refugees get more money for support than pensioners

Burnaby resident Mohamed al-Homsi embraces his two refugee sons as they arrive at YVR airport, December 10, 2015.
Burnaby resident Mohamed al-Homsi embraces his two refugee sons as they arrive at YVR airport, December 10, 2015. Simon Little / CKNW

It is a post from December 30th that has been shared more than 37,000 times, and the claim it makes is shocking.

According to Mike Kaufman, Canada is treating Syrian refugees far better than it treats pensioners.

In his now viral post, Kaufman credits the Vancouver Sun for the information, and even links to a story.

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But the problem is he has misquoted the article, and the repercussion can be negative backlash against refugees that is unwarranted.

LISTEN: CKNW’s Charmaine de Silva investigates the claim refugees get more assistance than Canadians

Kaufman’s claim

Kaufman’s main point centres around a hefty meal allowance refugees are supposedly receiving from Ottawa.

He claims it is worth $15 for breakfast, $16 for lunch and $30 for dinner.

For a family with four kids that is more than $5,500 a month for meals alone, and Kaufman notes this is far more than the $1065 a month maximum handed out in the Canada Pension Plan.

Refugee funding facts

The meal allowance referred to by Kaufman does exist, but it is not handed to refugees every month.

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These are amounts Ottawa pays hotels charged with housing refugees for the first few days after they arrive in Canada.

In reality, monthly payments for food and shelter are based on provincial welfare rates.

In BC, that works out to $610 a month for a single person and $1186 for a family with four kids.

Social media backlash

It didn’t take long for someone to debunk Kaufman’s claim on-line.

A post by Sea Palmer is now going viral as well, reminding people to be careful believing everything they read on the web.

Latest bogus claim about refugees

Kaufman’s original post has since been pulled down, but not until after it went viral.

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CKNW has reached out to Kaufman and has yet to hear back.

It is also not the first time claims about refugees have spread across Canada that turned out not to be true.

In the fall an email circulated rapidly, also claiming refugees received more money than pensioners.

This time, it confused a one-time settlement payment with a monthly support payment.

In that case, the government responded on-line debunking the claim.