Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia's Syrian refugees: 5 things to know

Syrian refugees to find challenges, but also support, when they arrive in Nova Scotia.

Syrian refugees to find challenges, but also support, when they arrive in Nova Scotia

Syrian refugees wait at the port of Lesbos, Greece, to board a ferry travelling to Athens, on Sept. 7, 2015. (Petros Giannakouris/Associated Press)

Between 20 and 30 Syrian families will arrive in Nova Scotia next month. Here are five things to know about the influx.

  1. Once they land on Canadian soil, don't call them refugees. They are permanent residents who have all the rights and privileges of other Canadians, except they are not permitted to vote.
  2. There is an actual course on how to cope with Canadian winters offered by the Immigrant Settlement Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS). The course is detailed and includes samples of clothing and footwear, and demonstrations of what is needed for specific weather conditions and temperatures.
  3. Nova Scotia's community and social services helpline, 211, has received many calls about how to help the refugees. By Wednesday, the line had received more than 900 calls specifically from people offering assistance and donations for refugees. Offers of help are given to co-ordinators who are handling specific needs, such as housing, clothing, transportation, education and financial aid.
  4. The Canadian government is paying for the flights of Syrians coming here. Previously, refugees were saddled with large debt because of the high cost of flying from countries on the other side of the globe.
  5. It is not a cushy life for these new Canadians. A family of four is expected to live on $28,000 annually during their first year here.

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