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Association urges refugee sponsors to be patient amid resettlement delays

April 4, 2016

By The Globe and Mail |

The group representing refugee sponsors across Canada is trying to calm frustrated sponsorship groups and give the government more credit for its attempt to respond to complaints about the delayed resettlement of privately sponsored Syrian refugees.

Sponsorship groups have publicly criticized the federal government over the slowed pace of processing Syrian refugee applications after Ottawa hit its goal of resettling 25,000 Syrians at the end of February. Immigration Minister John McCallum responded to public outcry last week by extending the prioritization period for Syrian applications to March 31. But the move further angered some sponsors, as they were given only 24 hours’ notice to submit their paperwork.

Scott McLeod of the Canadian Refugee Sponsorship Agreement Holders Association said while he appreciates the sense of urgency surrounding the Syrian crisis, more understanding of Ottawa’s efforts to respond to sponsors’ concerns is needed.

“I think it faces us with the horrible reality, which is that we can’t save everybody and we want to try,” Mr. McLeod said.

“We have the time and the space and the energy to temper our own senses of anger and entitlement because what really matters is the people whose lives are hanging in the balance on the other side of the world. … I’m having a problem with some of our First World senses of entitlement to all of this.”

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