Command centre unveiled in Winnipeg ahead of Syrian refugee arrivals
Command centre set up on Broadway will have representatives from 6 Manitoba government departments
Manitobans got their first look Tuesday at the new Syrian refugee command centre set up in Winnipeg.
Mike Gagne, the director of operations for Manitoba's Emergency Measures Organization, said the command centre is really a co-ordination centre where six departments, multiple agencies and representatives from non-governmental and non-profit groups will work together.
EMO is supporting the province's immigration department with the task of settling the refugees.
"What we're doing in that room is providing sort of a playing field … for the folks to get together and discuss things and meet, co-ordinate critical activities," he said.
The federal government has committed to bringing 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by March 2016. At least 10,000 of them are expected to arrive before Dec. 31.
"We are anticipating the largest flows to begin in the new year," said Ben Rempel, the assistant deputy minister with Manitoba's Department of Labour and Immigration. "Hopefully, the numbers will start to become clear and a little firmer in the days ahead."
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Rempel said having all the resources in one place is critical.
"Being able to have all of the key participants in the planning process — from government, from the service sector, from communities — working together on a regular basis, putting the plan together, is essential to make this work," he said.