Sadly, it took the picture of a dead three-year-old boy lying on the beaches of Turkey to bring home the tragic reality of the Syrian refugee crisis. Yet, this crisis has been with us since 2011 as the civil war in Syria led millions to flee their homes and some four million to become actual refugees, mostly in neighbouring countries.
As attested by the flow of refugees now seeking asylum in Europe, the situation is becoming ever more untenable, and too many displaced Syrians are willing to risk their lives to find a proper haven.
The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) is calling on our government to respond with means commensurate to the exceptional nature of this crisis. The Canadian Government should first of all commit to a minimum of 10,000 government-assisted resettlement places for Syrians to be brought to Canada immediately.
It should also facilitate as much as possible the solidarity efforts of private citizens and organizations by eliminating the barriers to private sponsorship of refugees. This should include the restoration of the full Interim Federal Health coverage and lifting of the documents requirement for Group of Five sponsorships. Canadians who want to do right in this crisis should find a Government willing to ease their efforts, not add red tape.
To this end, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) is committed to establishing a special fund with the Canadian Council for Refugees to help support the settlement of Syrian refugees in Canada.
The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada’s national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 111 district labour councils.