Mayor Tory, interfaith leaders meet about Syrian refugee crisis

Toronto Mayor John Tory met with religious leaders today to discuss how the city government can help those fleeing violence in Syria.
Toronto Mayor John Tory met with a group of interfaith leaders on Thursday to discuss ways the city can help refugees fleeing the crisis in Syria settle in the city. (CBC)

Toronto Mayor John Tory met with the city's religious leaders today to discuss how the city can best help settle refugees fleeing the crisis in Syria. 

At a news conference held after the one-hour morning meeting, Tory said he met with a number of local groups — including some already working to help settle Syrians who've fled the war-torn country — to help them "settle productively and peacefully and become the kind of contributing citizens they want to be." 

Tory said the city government can help with a number of practical measures, including: 

  • A housing registry with a list of people who've come forward to offer accommodation for Syrian refugees.
  • Compiling a list of available public health resources, including doctors who've expressed a willingness to help.
  • Planning for a public event to raise money.
  • A registry of volunteers who are able to donate items.

Tory refused to weigh in on the current debate taking place among federal election candidates about how many Syrian refugees Canada should accept. Instead, Tory said he's looking at practical ways the city can prepare to help. 

He said a meeting of big city mayors set for later this month will add to its agenda a discussion about the steps Toronto has taken to help Syrian refugees. 

Last week, Tory joined efforts by a group of citizens aiming to raise $27,000 to help resettle refugees. 

The money is going to Lifeline Syria, a locally led organization committed to resettling refugees.

"As mayor of the most multicultural city, I believe we should mobilize to sponsor Syrian refugees," Tory said last week. "This is who we are as Canadians."


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