Government-sponsored Syrian refugees struggle to adjust to Canadian life
They had a poster and it was written, 'Welcome to Canada' in Arabic and in English. It had my name, it had my wife's name and Jana's name as well ... It was a happy moment for us.- Syrian refugee Mohammad Almostafa arriving in Canada
The federal government is expected to reveal how many refugees Canada plans to accept by the end of the year on March 9, 2016. The Trudeau government has already welcomed 25,000 Syrian refugees and the outpouring of support has been well-documented.
But what has been lost in all the crafted photo ops and happy airport arrivals, are the real struggles refugees are having to survive in this country. In many ways, the real work for Canada is still ahead — making sure refugees do more than just survive.
CBC story producer Catherine Rolfsen has been covering stories of Syrian refugees for the past three months. She's found that not all refugees get started in Canada on an equal footing and that those without private sponsors are having a much harder time settling in.
We would like to move to our own house as soon as possible and to learn the language and start communicating with Canadian society.- Government-sponsored Syrian refugee Fayza Alsidawi
Across the country, 60 per cent of government-assisted refugees are now living in permanent housing. In B.C., less than half have moved on from temporary accommodation.
We requested an interview with John McCallum, the minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. He was unavailable.
If you have stories about refugees settling in your community, let us know.
This story was produced by the CBC's Catherine Rolfsen. Read more about this story on CBC.ca