Politics·CBC Forum

Your ideas on how to properly provide for Syrian refugees

Nearly half of all the Syrian refugees who have arrived in Canada since November are still looking for permanent housing. That prompts the question: How do we properly provide for Syrian refugees? Readers weighed in via CBC Forum.

Nearly half of Syrian refugees have not found permanent housing in Canada

Syrian Kurdish refugee Dilaver Omar plays the tamboor as he sits in his family's room at a Toronto hotel being used to house government-sponsored refugees as they wait for permanent accommodation. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Nearly half of all the Syrian refugees who have arrived in Canada since November are still looking for permanent housing.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum told a Commons committee Tuesday that 48 per cent of Syrian refugees are still in temporary accommodations, while 52 per cent have found permanent housing. The government is actively looking for hotels in Ontario and New Brunswick to temporarily lodge hundreds of refugees.

The government says it is now focused on ensuring the refugees are properly resettled into their new communities. That prompts the question of what Canada needs to do to ensure the refugees are properly provided for?

We posed that to you: How do we properly provide for Syrian refugees? What do the refugees need to ensure a smooth integration? You shared your thoughts via CBC Forum, our experiment to encourage a different kind of conversation on our website. Here's some of the most intriguing and thoughtful comments contributed to the discussion.

Please note that user names are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style. Click on the user name to see the comment in the blog format.

Some complained about the current plan, arguing it does not account for the number of refugees arriving

  • "This should have been considered before a single refugee set foot in Canada. All of the fanfare and patting backs must look hilarious now because we are rapidly bringing thousands of people into Canada without an actual working plan. Is there no oversight? Who is responsible for this?" — Udongein​
  • "I'm glad to help refugees. But there's no need to overload our capacity to handle them. I understand that a campaign promise is important to the Liberals, especially in light of the ones they can't keep. But slow down. When the housing is full, wait until there are new vacancies. One day, politics will be less important than people." — jfarah

​Some offered solutions for how to properly provide for refugees

A few commenters had advice after learning the government is looking for hotels in Ontario and New Brunswick to temporarily house refugees.

  • "I think that we should call a halt to the program until housing can be found for those already here. It will be difficult because of the size of the families. This should never have happened. It was a campaign promise they wanted to keep." — monica
  • "Maybe if we can start to dispel all the ignorant myths, more people might open up with solutions. But short term, what about empty university dorms until housing opportunities open up?" — nibs
Newly arrived Syrian refugee Yaacoub Al Mahameed, 4, holds a toy car at a hotel where government-sponsored refugees are living temporarily in Vancouver. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Some said it should be easier for private sponsors to bring refugees here

  • "I'm part of a private sponsorship group. So we are ready and willing to bring in a family. We have housing and a support structure ready. But the red tape means that it will take us months, up to a year, to get a family here. Streamline the process for private sponsorship and you won't have so many families arriving unsupported." — Iselda

Others argued that we all need to lend a hand to help with integration

  • "Canadians and the Canadian government showed their efforts. Now we need to pull together as a community and fill in the gaps and help the refugees integrate into this great society." — Adil Syed
  • "It's easy to sit back and blame the government for not doing enough, but we are all Canada. We all need to help them take the next steps." — Angela Rudden

You can read the full CBC Forum live blog discussion on how to provide for Syrian refugees below

Can't see the forum? Click here