British Columbia

Refugee crisis: 4 ways you can help

Chris Friesen of the Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance says Canadians can take action and offer help during the ongoing refugee crisis

Private sponsorship is just one way to help, but you can also donate, and make your voice heard

Migrants arrive on a beach on the Greek island of Kos, after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece, on May 27, 2015. (AFP/Getty Images)

Recent images of a drowned Syrian toddler found lifeless on a Turkish beach have brought renewed attention to the ongoing refugee crisis, and have caused many Canadians to ask what they can do to help.

Chris Friesen, chair of the Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance, told B.C. Almanac host Michelle Eliot that there are several ways British Columbians can help.

1. Volunteer

Give your time to one of the many organizations in Canada that help refugees — such as Unicef Canada, or the Canadian Red Cross. Here is a list of some prominent groups that CBC News has compiled.

2. Donate

Friesen said people could provide donations to the international development organizations or directly to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Local resident Israa holds her sister Boutol as they make their way through rubble of damaged buildings in the Douma neighborhood of Damascus March 4, 2015. (REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh)

"Syrians like other refugees are going to spend another winter in the middle east and are desperate for tents, healthcare, supplies, food and so on," he said.

3. Get political

"We need to continue to put pressure on the current government of Canada to adequately support this emergency situation," Friesen said.

"We're in the middle of an election, so raise it in your all-candidates meeting.

Here's CBC's coverage of how the various political parties have responded to the crisis.

4. Become a sponsor

Refugees that come to Canada are either government sponsored, or privately sponsored. Privately sponsored refugees are sponsored by an organization or a group of at least five citizens or permanent residents (the "group of five" process).

These groups are expected to help their sponsored refugees begin their life in Canada, making settlement arrangements and providing financial assistance, generally for a length of one year.

Canada's Citizenship and Immigration website has an application guide for the private sponsorship of refugees.


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