New Brunswick

Estimated 300 Syrian refugees to arrive in N.B. before Christmas

There will be an estimated 300 refugees arriving in the province before Christmas, according to Francine Landry, the province's post-secondary education training and labour minister.

Refugees will be settled in groups of 10 families, spread out in various parts of New Brunswick

Syrian refugees will have access to doctors to see to their physical and mental health needs when they arrive, according to Francine Landry, the provincial minister who is responsible for the government's effort in resettling the refugees. (John Moore/Getty)

There will be an estimated 300 refugees arriving in the province before Christmas, according to Francine Landry, the province's post-secondary education training and labour minister. 

Landry said the refugees are coming in two waves, with at least 1,500 expected in New Brunswick, or more.

"We can look at more if we have great success with the first 1,500," Landry said, adding the government is working with settlement organizations throughout the province to get ready for the newcomers.

Landry says as the refugees arrive, they will be assessed and then settled into communities in groups of 10 families, which will help to reduce their sense of isolation.

Although they will be going to Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton at first, she said, the government will "want them also all around New Brunswick in the rural communities, as well as the bigger cities," as long as the supports are in place.

There is a committee working within government to make sure the refugees will have access to doctors to see to their physical and mental health needs when they arrive, said Landry, but there are still some unknowns at this point.

"They will not be coming, the 1,500, all the same day, all at once," she said.

"We have a few weeks to welcome the first that are coming in, and then a few more weeks to get ready for the rest."

Landry says she believes the newcomers will settle quickly and become self-sufficient.

"They're educated, some of them have money, so we don't expect them not to be self-sufficient. And then there are some that are struggling [that] we'll help."

Landry's post-secondary education, training and labour department also includes the population growth secretariat. She has been the lead cabinet minister on the Syrian refugee resettlement effort.

She says jobs will not be difficult for the newcomers to find, because there are at least 2,500 jobs available on the government's jobs website on any given day. Landry says she's also been hearing from employers.

"There are companies telling me they are restraining their expansion because they cannot find workers," she said.

The first year of resettlement is the financial responsibility of the federal government, and according to Landry, if some people need help beyond that timeframe, she can go back and negotiate for more money.

"We will give them all the support they need to make this a success story," she says.

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