Starting next year, the federal government will allow private groups to bring more LGBTQ2 refugees to Canada through a dedicated program.
Under the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Partnership, up to 50 LGBTQ2 people fleeing persecution around the world can be sponsored each year. The previous cap had been 15.
Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen made the announcement in Toronto on Saturday, the start of the city’s Pride Month.
“LGBTQ2 refugees have faced unimaginable circumstances just for being who they are. Canada will protect them and help keep them safe,” he said in a statement.
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The program, a partnership between the federal government and the Rainbow Refugee Society, had been in a pilot phase since 2011 before Saturday’s announcement.
It sees local groups support newcomers when they arrive in Canada, with the federal government providing three months of financial assistance and startup costs.
More than 80 LGBTQ2 refugees have been resettled in Canada under the program. The federal government is contributing $800,000 over five years to the initiative.
“Rainbow Refugee and coalition partners applaud this commitment to protecting LGBTQ2 refugees,” said Sharalyn Jordan, chair of the Rainbow Refugee board. “Together with LGBTQ2 communities across Canada, we create safer migration and supportive communities for refugees at extreme risk.”