We have been in a bit of a lull the past few months as we have been waiting for the family to arrive. The letter at the bottom of this entry explains the situation better, but suffice it to say, we have been a bit frustrated with the situation.
The letter is from our SAH (Sponsorship Agreement Holder – The Anglican Diocese of BC) written to Minister John McCallum regarding the situation we are in at the moment. Even though we are doing all we can to bring the “our family” here, it is mostly out of our hands, but with more pressure like this, things may be dealt with sooner. I can only hope so. Our constituent group as well as others in Victoria will write a similar letter to the Minister to support this one.In regards to our housing, I feel the best option for us right now is to hang onto our apartment. As much as it pains me to be paying rent every month and letting precious resources that have been generously donated to us melt away with an empty apartment, I feel it would be very difficult finding housing as good as what we have right now. It was no fault of our own. The family were scheduled to arrive at the end of January, so we did our due diligence along with many other groups in Victoria, and we secured them housing. The difficulty is, we could get a call from them tomorrow saying they will arrive in a week. We don’t know. If we haven’t heard or seen any movement in the following month, I feel that we should revisit it this.
On the upside of things, after about an hour of us trying to figure out how to call Jordan, we did talk to the Mr. Ali himself through our interpreter Adam Yaghi on Friday evening. Myself, Elizabeth Chatfield, Bonnie Stacey, Rebecca Siebert from the Diocese and my son Lochlan were present. We all got to introduce ourselves in very basic Arabic. It was difficult to know what was being said – he did tell us the last contact they had from the government was on Feb 7th and that they have been waiting ever since. He also confirmed that the children are indeed quadruplets and are healthy right now. At one point in the conversation he had asked us if they were coming to Canada, and we told him we were ready for them, that we aren’t the government, we are a group of families who want to help other families, and as far as we knew, they are coming to Canada, it’s just a matter of time. To this he replied “I am so happy! I am so happy!”
So, fingers crossed things are going to get going again soon.
Please pray or think about speedy processing of these families who are waiting right now, and for all refugees who have been waiting for such a long time.
And thank you for your continued support.
The Honourable John McCallum, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
365 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1
We are writing to you about the present situation with sponsorship and settlement of refugees in light of the recent discussions between the SAH Association Council and IRCC. The Anglican Diocese of British Columbia is a Sponsorship Agreement Holder working on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, and has been privately settling refugees since the late 1970s.
First of all we applaud the Liberal government for meeting its pre-election pledge to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada in remarkably quick time, and undertaking to land up to 18,000 Privately Sponsored Refugees in 2016.
Unfortunately we note that the pace of processing Blended Visa Office Referral refugees has slackened in recent times. A number of well-organized and funded Refugee Support Constituent Groups who have already invested in settlement costs have been left completely in the dark as to when the refugees will actually arrive. Furthermore, the announcement that the quota and capping system will apply to Syrian non-BVOR refugee applicants, even some in process, is causing further doubts among groups actively supporting those endeavours. These delays and the shifting sands of admissions policy are frustrating for the Constituent Groups and undoubtedly frustrating and frightening for the refugees and their families.
We have been pleased to see that some applications for refugee status in Canada which had under the previous government been languishing in various visa offices, in some cases for up to 6 years, have been acted upon in recent months, and we are thankful for that. However, we are concerned that the system does not fall back into its past practices of long delays which did nothing for the confidence of either the refugees or the Constituent Groups that private sponsorship and settlement was a priority of the Canadian government.
Finally, we believe that the mantra of Canadian refugee policy should involve a clear return to a blending of government and private sponsorship which respects fully the motivations, efforts and energies of citizens committed to this enterprise. This successful model the basis of Canada’s recognition in 1986 as a nation committed to supporting refugees through the bestowing of the Nansen Award by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
On behalf of the many, many generous Canadians helping, and willing to help the refugees, and on behalf of the many, many refugees for whom Canada is the last hope, we thank you for considering this letter, and urge you to continue with the noble and energetic initiative that brought the first 25,000 refugees to our country.
The Reverend Canon D. Bruce Bryant Scott BA MDiv ThM, Refugee Coordinator
Mr. John McLaren LLB LLM LLD, Chair of the Diocesan Refugee Committee
Refugee Committee Letter to Minister March 2016