“The world is facing a refugee crisis. Across the globe, millions are displaced and longing for what most of us take for granted: a safe place to call home. Refugees need our help more than ever, yet the global refugee resettlement system is operating at reduced capacity which makes it harder to provide protection that is badly needed.
“As a global leader in offering refuge to those fleeing war and persecution, Canada is unwavering in our commitment to do our part. Throughout the pandemic, Canada has been one of few countries that never stopped resettling refugees in urgent need of our help. While others close their doors, we keep them open. In 2020, we welcomed nearly half of all refugees resettled around the world.
“The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees recently called Canada “a bright light in a horrible year for refugee resettlement.” For that, I’d like to thank Canadians. That light shines brightly because of the generosity of Canadians, who are instrumental in welcoming refugees into their communities. That same light shines through in the incredible contributions of refugees themselves, particularly during the pandemic. From putting food on our tables to taking care of our seniors, the contributions of refugees have helped to keep us safe and healthy. In recognition of their incredible work we created the “Guardian Angels” program for asylum claimants working in health care.
“At this difficult moment, the world’s most vulnerable are counting on us to do more. That’s why we’re redoubling our efforts to help even more refugees and asylum claimants to find safety in Canada – from new initiatives to help Yazidi families come to Canada to our leadership in international bodies, or supporting other countries to replicate Canada’s successful refugee programs.
“In the lead up to World Refugee Day, I also announced a series of initiatives to help support and welcome more refugees. The Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot, which broadens pathways for skilled refugees to come to Canada through economic programs, has been expanded to welcome 500 refugees and their families, and make the application process faster and easier. We’ve also almost doubled the number of protected persons we plan to welcome this year, and we are making new investments in the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program to benefit both the sponsorship community and refugees themselves.
“From embracing the “boat people” of Southeast Asia in the 1970s to the Syrian refugees who continue to arrive today, welcoming refugees speaks to who we are as Canadians. On this World Refugee Day, we recommit to our pledge to continue to be a place of refuge for those who need it most.”