Sask. advocate says refugees in Canada face financial struggles

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Sask. advocate says refugees in Canada face financial struggles
WATCH: Some refugees in Canada are struggling financially. The median salary for a refugee in Canada after 10 years is approximately $27,000 – Aug 4, 2022

According to a new study from the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, there are approximately one million refugees in Canada and their struggle is real.

The study shows the median salary for a refugee who’s been in Canada for a decade is $27,000. That’s $14,000 less than the national median.

Saskatoon Open Door Society CEO Ali Abukar says this is not enough.

“Well obviously people are worried about money, and I think they are in the same boat as a lot of the low-income people in Canada,” said Abukar.

He says refugees in Canada encounter many obstacles, including “language, culture, education, as well as discrimination and racism that a lot of immigrants face.”

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Click to play video: 'Ukrainian refugees take next steps towards settling in Sask.'
Ukrainian refugees take next steps towards settling in Sask.

The Open Door Society partners with a micro-lending company in order to help refugees progress. This is something the author of the research paper supports.

“These loans are given out with the express purpose of helping them do things like get re-certified, get licensed in Canada for their occupation, do some upgrading, start a business, any sort of venture that is meant to improve their career prospects within Canada,” said Robert Falconer, research associate at the University of Calgary.

The research shows refugees who receive a loan can make up to $70,000 after 10 years in Canada, giving them different opportunities and the chance for a different life.

Abukar came to Canada 10 years ago as a refugee and says taking a student loan helped him move up.

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“I have benefitted from that and I know a lot of people who go through that process – whether they take student loans or other loans – to take something they think would help,” he said.

Abukar says Canada relies on immigrants and refugees and believes it is important for the country to not just help people flee their old lives but start new ones.

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