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Refugees: Canada offers EU example in integrating Syrian refugees by Sarantis Michalopoulos

While EU politicians are still bickering over their share of the burden of refugees in Europe, Canada is seeking ways to rapidly integrate 25,000 Syrians into its society.

Speaking to journalists in Brussels last week, David Manicom, Associate Assistant Deputy Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada, explained how his country managed to address the refugee crisis by building up permanent structures and institutions.

The government in Ottawa is committed to resettling 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of February 2016. The number is small compared to the number of people arriving in Europe, but the total population of the North American country is only around 36 million.

Currently, Canada has accepted more than 13,000 Syrian refugees on its soil and the rest of the 12,000 are expected at the end of the month - while by the end of 2016 the country is planning to host between 35,000 and 40,000 refugees.

He continued, saying that all refugees have support services available to help them learn English and French, and prepare for employment.

“Behind refugee resettlement for Canada, a fundamental philosophy is the integration into employment and communities' Iit’s the best way to build communities.”

Asked by EurActiv to comment on the current refugee crisis deadlock in Europe, the Canadian official said that it would not be appropriate to have a strong opinion, but noted:

“There is one clear lesson: If you don’t provide safe and legal pathways people will pursue dangerous and illegal pathways.”

Read more: Canada offers EU example in integrating Syrian refugees | EurActiv

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