Ottawa sponsors frustrated with Syrian refugee claim delays
Canadian government says it wants to help resettle 1,300 refugees by end of year
Some Ottawa volunteers working to bring Syrian refugees into the city say they are growing frustrated with the lengthy process.
The Canadian government agreed last year to resettle 1,300 refugees by the end of 2014 and had said it would take responsibility for resettling 200 "extremely vulnerable" refugees, while the remainder would be privately sponsored.
The congregation of St. Martin de Porres parish in Bells Corners is one of those private sponsors.
He said the parish has made phone calls, written letters and contacted foreign affairs minister John Baird, but still haven't been able to bring the family over.
"We thought the family could be here in September," said Soucie.
"I would normally go with the process that 18 months is reasonable, but the point is, now the family is in serious harm's way. The political landscape has changed. It's extremely violent. We made these commitments, it's not a lot of people we're bringing in. You'd think they could handle that," he said.
Don Smith, a representative with the Anglican diocese of Ottawa, is connected to several sponsorship groups. He said one family he worked to bring over from Syria is now in Ottawa, and a few have arrived in Toronto. But he said many more need help.
"I probably get two calls a week from Syrian Canadians asking to sponsor their relatives... and my response is we're waiting to hear what the government's plan is... whether it is to inject money or staff. We're waiting," he said.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada said in a statement it is committed to resettling 1,300 Syrian refugees.