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Ottawa criticized for charging refugees for flights

Newcomers find it difficult to pay government back, says immigrant services group

Non-profit agencies that help refugees sponsored by Canada are calling on Ottawa to stop billing those newcomers for their flights here.

For several decades, the Immigration Department has sponsored select refugees to come to Canada. Then, Ottawa sends them a bill for their airfare.

"It's clearly difficult for them to pay because they don't have an income when they get here," said Jim Siemens, a spokesman for the Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia

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