25,000th Syrian refugee lands in Canada

The 25,000th Syrian refugee landed in Canada Saturday night, marking the end of the first phase of the the federal government's massive resettlement program.

Arrival marks milestone for federal program

A young Syrian refugee looks up as her father holds her and a Canadian flag after arriving in Toronto on Dec. 18. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

A plane touched down in Montreal on Saturday night carrying the 25,000th Syrian refugee to arrive in Canada since November.

It marks the end of the first phase of the resettlement program launched by the Liberal government shortly after taking office. 

There was little fanfare on Saturday to mark the milestone, but Immigration Minister John McCallum is scheduled to give an update about the resettlement program in Toronto on Monday. 

McCallum is expected to outline what actions the program will take in the future. 

Officials with Citizenship and Immigration Canada had anticipated reaching the milestone at some point over the weekend, but were unclear exactly when given uncertainty about how many refugees board each flight. 

Reaching the 25,000-figure represents an important step for the Liberal government, which made an election promise of resettling that many people fleeing the civil war in Syria. 

The Liberals had initially promised to reach the goal by the end of 2015, but that was pushed to the end of February once they took power. 

Of the 25,000 who have now arrived, more than half will have their costs covered by the government in their first year, with the rest supported by private groups or a mix of the two.

In the coming days, the new group of arrivals will spread to eight different provinces, joining those who've arrived in Canada since the government launched their Syrian refugee plan in November.

with files from The Canadian Press


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