A day after the federal government offered details on its Syrian refugee plan, the Quebec government revealed its own $29-million plan to take in thousands of refugees.
Quebec will welcome 3,650 Syrians before the end of the year and another 3,650 in 2016.
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Public Security Minister Pierre Moreau and Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil laid out the province's plan at a news conference this morning.
"We always said we're ready to play our part," Weil told reporters. "The whole issue of settlement is a very important factor, and it starts with the readiness of the community and all its partners."
APPEAL FUND: The Red Cross in Quebec says donations to assist the resettlement of Syrian refugees can be made by calling 1-800-418-1111 or through the organization's website.
Quebec will spend $29 million on the plan in 2015. Those funds will be directed toward resettling and integrating the refugees. Next year, the costs will be shared with Ottawa, but those budgets haven't been determined yet.
The federal government is responsible for processing the new arrivals and for providing temporary housing. Responsibility will then shift to the province and the cities, the Red Cross and community organizations.
The federal government announced Tuesday it would complete the resettlement of 25,000 Syrian refugees two months later than anticipated.
The government said it will identify all 25,000 refugees by its self-imposed deadline of Dec. 31, 2015, but only 10,000 will arrive by year's end. The rest will arrive by March 2016.
Weil said Quebec is thankful for the "breathing room" the timeline affords them.
"One way or the other, Quebec is ready, " she said.
Exactly when the refugees will touch down in Quebec is still not clear, Moreau said.
Yesterday, 20 people from Syria arrived at Montreal's Trudeau Airport after waiting for more than a year in Lebanon. Tearful families greeted their loved ones and thanked the Canadian government for what's been done to bring them here.
Weil said the province's has made the necessary preparations to ensure refugees settle into their life in Quebec as quickly as possible.
"Our intention is to have all these services ready for them," she said. "There's an important volume of people coming...and we will be able to provide them with French-language training. One of the key components of integration is to be able to speak the language for a job, to succeed at school, to be able to integrate into the community."
Although the province waited for Ottawa to publish the federal plan before unveiling its own, this is what has been disclosed so far:
- 3,650 refugees will be brought to Quebec by the end of year.
- 2,900 refugees will be sponsored privately.
- 750 will be sponsored by the province.
- The most vulnerable ones will be helped first.
- There is no policy to exclude single men in the provincial plan, unlike the federal plan.
- The Quebec government is satisfied with federal screening measures to ensure security.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, whose city is expected to take on the bulk of the refugees in Quebec, says he's not concerned about overloading the city's resources.
"We are used to that. We have a great Syrian and Iraqi community. We have great, generous people," he said.