It is ironic that the lethal attacks in Paris could define, or
at the very least, become an important footnote to Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau's legacy. Along with a Cabinet Committee of nine
ministers, the government is being tested at the earliest hours of
its mandate to address predictable concerns that its election
platform calling for the admission of 25,000 Syrian refugees by
year end, may compromise the safety of Canadians. Battening down
the hatches is an impulsive and politically expedient response to
terrorism attacks. But the concerns for security although valid in
their own right, largely arise from a lack of understanding of the
refugee review and selection process. It would be short sighted to
use the events in Paris as a reason to reverse or water down the
government's policies on Syrian refugees who form part of the
world's largest humanitarian crisis since WW II.
Canada's refugee practices are long standing. The screening
and selection of Syrian refugees will target a pool of more than
3.5 million people located in Jordanian, Turkish and Lebanese
refugee camps and not the nearly 1 million that travelled to Europe
unchecked. The vast majority in these camps are registered refugees
who opposed the Assad regime and fled Syria's violent civil
war, long ago.
Selection of Syrian refugees by Canadian authorities will
typically follow three phases. The first, already well underway,
begins with the input of representatives from The Office of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, knowledgeable in
Syrian affairs who will interview registered refugees in the camps.
Candidates are carefully profiled and people targeted for
re-settlement would include those who are deemed vulnerable while
excluding candidates with a concern of previous direct or indirect
involvement in conflict. The second phase would involve a lengthy
interview with a Canadian visa officer who would question each
candidate and verify that answers given are consistent with known
facts. The third phase includes a formal security review by CSIS
which involves checking the profiles of candidates with local and
international intelligence and multiple data bases. Only a fraction
of candidates initially targeted for re-settlement will become
selected refugees. It is expected that the majority of referred
refugees will be heavily weighted towards single women and children
who pose negligible risk to Canada. The chances of manipulating the
process and having terrorists slip through, would be reduced to a
The government is now faced with the challenge of trying to
deliver on its election promise without compromising the
nation's security. By all accounts Canada's numerous
agencies involved have the will to carry out this large
undertaking. But there is no logic in pursuing a politically
imposed year-end deadline to land 25,000 refugees, a task which
even under normal conditions poses obvious challenges. Refugee
advocates must be supportive of government efforts to carry out
this process in a reasonable, but unofficially revised time
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The content of this article reflects the personal insight of
Attorney Colin Singer and needs
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September 21st, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 20th round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 43rd overall, inviting 1288 applicants for permanent residence with a lowest CRS score of 483.
Canada received more than 320,000 immigrants in the last 12 months, approaching levels not seen since the early 20th century. The per capital immigration rate at .88%, is consistent with previous Liberal government policies.
October 12th, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 21st round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 44th overall, inviting 1518 applicants for permanent residence with a lowest CRS score of 484.
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